by Irvin Yalom (1989). Ten somewhat fictionalized accounts of patients that the Stanford psychiatrist has dealt with. Superbly crafted, each illuminates a different aspect of what he terms existentialist givens, of which he identifies four – (i) the fear of death; (ii) the realization that finally, each one is alone; (iii) the fear of accepting that we are all master of our own fate, that is, the fear of freedom; and (iv) the search for meaning in a universe that is bereft of external meaning. Yalom argues that these issues are present in most of us in an unconscious manner and that wisdom amounts to confronting these givens and addressing them in a beneficial and useful manner. His is a very philosophical approach to psychotherapy and avoids much of the fixation on early childhood and sexual repressions a la Freud. Yalom explicitly confirms one of my own observations, to whit “the fear of death is always greatest in those who feel that they have not lived their life fully. A good working formula is: the more unlived life, or unrealized potential, the greater one death’s anxiety.” These stories bring out how much psychoanalysis is about process and less about content and how the analyst himself is an utterly essential partner in any therapy.