The act of living

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The goals of psychotherapy are not so very different from the goals of everyday life. People want to be happy and optimise outcomes. Within the context of the clinic, this is best achieved by focusing on, and eventually removing, symptoms; however, the models developed by psychotherapists have a far broader range of application. Freud used psychoanalysis primarily to treat his patients, but he also used it to explain aspects of civilisation, society, art, literature and the supernatural. As such, the theories and ideas that have arisen out of psychotherapy represent something of an undervalued resource. They are highly instructive and can illuminate many subjects - among them, the question of how to live. This book synthesises the thinking of the principal figures in the history of psychotherapy with a view to providing the reader with an accessible and practical guide to optimal living.