The unspoken yearning that brings people to therapy is often that of a desperate desire for happiness. Should therapists ignore this desire, interpret it or challenge it? And what does our preoccupation with happiness tell us about contemporary culture and the role of the therapist?

In this book, Emmy van Deurzen addresses the taboo subject of the moral role of psychotherapists and counselors. Asking when and why we decided that the aim of life is to be happy, she poses searching questions about the meaning of life. Psychotherapy and the Quest for Happiness seeks to define what a good life consists of and how therapists might help their clients to live well rather than just in search of happiness.

This text makes stimulating reading for all trainee and practicing counselors and psychotherapists, especially those interested in the existential approach.

Opening Pandora's Box: Values and Beliefs in Psychotherapy

Opening Pandora's Box: Values and Beliefs in Psychotherapy

Opening pandora's box: Values and beliefs in psychotherapy

The soul unto itself

Is an imperial friend,

Or the most agonizing spy

An enemy could send.

(Emily Dickinson, 1994:46)

So, what is the role of therapy in our elusive quest for happiness? What is it that people hope to get from counselling and psychotherapy? Do they seek to meet a friend who has their best interests at heart and who will help them live a happier life? If so, are their expectations realistic and is therapy up to the challenge? Is therapy a refuge where people come to create the illusion that they may be able to overcome all their troubles and live happily ever after? What is happiness anyway?

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines ...

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