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The writings of the following five luminaries in the psychotherapy field have inspired me and informed my counselling practice:

Eric FrommErich Fromm (1900–1980) was a psychoanalyst and psychology theorist who wrote widely on the concept of inner freedom. With remarkable prescience he warned how modern man risks becoming alienated from self and others. One of the greatest scholars of the twentieth century, his best book is The Art of Loving.

Victor FranklViktor Frankl (1905–1997) was an existential psychiatrist who emphasised the value of making one’s life spiritually meaningful. Through personal example he showed how suffering can serve as a touchstone to self-transformation and inner awakening. His international bestseller Man’s Search for Meaning serves as a powerful beacon that illustrates the shining power of hope.

Carl RogersCarl Rogers (1902–1987) was a psychology theorist largely responsible for humanising the field of psychotherapy. His gentle, compassionate approach to counselling represented an innovative healing paradigm compatible with ancient Eastern approaches of spiritual awareness. His seminal publication A Way of Being encapsulates his ideas.

Irvin YalomIrvin Yalom is an existential psychotherapist who has effectively demystified therapy by making his writings accessible to practitioners and clients alike. His trademark maxims include “it’s the relationship that heals” and “an individual therapy must be created for each client”. The Gift of Therapy stands out as a succinct portrayal of therapeutic wisdom, and his best novel is When Nietzsche Wept.

John WelwoodJohn Welwood is a Buddhist psychotherapist based in the San Francisco area. His writings articulate an effective integration of Eastern spiritual thought into Western psychotherapeutic practice. He also specialises in helping couples discover a spiritually evolved mode of interrelating, which he terms “conscious relationship”. This is described in his books Journey of the Heart and Love and Awakening.