Yalom's Cure is a gentle, laid back film that serves as a wonderful tribute to bestselling author and noted scholar Irvin D. Yalom, one of the most influential psychotherapists living today. Transcending biography, Yalom's Cure takes us on an existential journey with Yalom through the many layers of the human mind where we navigate the depths and shallows of our own psyche. Along the way, we learn about Yalom's groundbreaking work in psychotherapy while, perhaps more than anything, listening to Yalom himself as we learn about some of his most fundamental insights and wisdom.
Directed by Sabine Gisiger, Yalom's Cure is both intelligent in presentation and incredibly meditative in spirit. Yalom's presence is one of quiet comfort and his insights come off with a spirit one might not expect from a man of such great intelligence and experience in the world of psychotherapy.
Yalom's parents came to the U.S. from Poland. As we learn, they were rather different from him even at an early point in life and they never really understood his interest in the world of academia. There was a two year period in his adolescence when Yalom didn't speak to his mother, a not particularly astonishing revelation until one accepts it as part of the foundation that created such an amazing therapeutic mind. He met Marilyn, the love of his life who would become his life, when he was 15 and she was 14. They married shortly after her own graduation from Wellesley College and his career began the expected journey one experiences as a doctor and as a scholar. From an internship at New York's Mt. Sinai Hospital to a residency at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins, Yalom would eventually end up at Stanford University for an extended period. Following marriage, he and Marilyn would have four children.
To understand Yalom's contributions, consider that he pioneered the theory and practice of group therapy.
Think about that again. Think about how common group therapy is today.
Yalom pioneered it. Seriously.
He also believed that therapists needed to focus more energy on fundamental core issues in life - such as death, meaning, isolation and freedom. Much of his work involves that search for human connection, a connection such as what he found and continues to find with Marilyn. Yalom explains ""Love is not just a passion spark between two people, there's infinite difference between falling in love and standing in love. The idea is that you stand in love, not fall in love, trying to live in such a way as to always be bringing something more to life in the other."
Yalom's Cure often times feels like we've stumbled across our own personal mentor, so giving and gentle is Yalom's spirit and wisdom. At the age of 80, his spirit feels younger and vibrant and wonderful. While his voice is alive throughout the film, there's a tranquility to it that makes watching the entire film like entering into prayer or meditation.
For more information on the film, visit the First Run Features website.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic