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A Psychiatrist’s Life: Irvin D. Yalom in Conversation with Barbara Morrill

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California Institute of Integral Studies

1453 Mission Street

San Francisco, CA 94103

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Irvin D. Yalom has made a career of investigating the lives of others. In his profound memoir, Becoming Myself: A Psychiatrist's Memoir, he turns his writing and his therapeutic eye on himself.

He opens his story with a nightmare: He is twelve, and is riding his bike past the home of an acne-scarred girl. As he does every morning, he calls out, hoping to befriend her, "Hello Measles!" But in his dream, the girl's father makes Yalom understand that his daily greeting hurt her. For Yalom, this was the birth of empathy and he would not forget the lesson.

Becoming Myself is not simply a man's life story, Dr. Yalom's reflections on his life and development are an invitation for us to reflect on the origins of our own selves and the meanings of our lives. Join this insightful thinker, whose books have been a beacon to so many, in a conversation with CIIS core faculty Barbara Morrill about his life, his work, and the profound power of self-reflection.


Irvin D. Yalom was born in Washington, DC to parents who emigrated from Russia shortly after the First World War. He is currently an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and a psychiatrist in San Francisco. He is the author of many books, including Love's Executioner, The Gift of Therapy, and When Nietzsche Wept.

Barbara Morrill, PhD, is core faculty and former chair of the Integral Counseling Psychology Program at CIIS. She is a Clinical Psychologist licensed in CA, and has been in private practice for 20 years. Barbara has spent much of her life exploring women's social, psychological, and spiritual development, with an emphasis on intergenerational trauma. Her study of Etty Hillesum began in 2000, culminating with a presentation at the 2008 International Transpersonal Congress, New Delhi, India, entitled Being in the Face of Annihilation: Transformation Through Writing as Inquiry in the lives of two Dutch Women During the Holocaust: Etty Hillesum (1914-1943) and Jetteke Frijda (1925-present). Her continued study has been about the Evolution of Consciousness as well as spiritual practice/community with The Diamond Approach with A.H. Almaas and Karen Johnson. She presented on Unfolding Toward Being; Etty Hillesum and the Evolution of Consciousness in January, 2014 at the Second International Congress of the Etty Hillesum Research Center at Ghent University in Belgium.

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California Institute of Integral Studies

1453 Mission Street

San Francisco, CA 94103

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