Irvin D. Yalom's first writings were scientific contributions to professional journals. His first book, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy has been widely used (seven hundred thousand copies) as a text for training therapists. It has been translated into twelve languages and is now in its fourth edition.
Yalom's publisher for this book and every one of his subsequent books is Basic Books with whom he has had a long and excellent relationship. Instructors praise his group therapy text because it is based on the best available empirical evidence. However, it owes some of its success to story-telling—to a stream of brief human vignettes running throughout the text. Other texts followed—Existential Psychotherapy (a textbook for a course that did not exist at the time), Inpatient Group Psychotherapy (a guide to leading groups in the inpatient psychiatric ward). Encounter Groups: First Facts a research monograph is out of print. Then, in an effort to teach aspects of Existential Therapy he turned to a literary conveyance and in the past several years has written a book of therapy tales (Love's Executioner), two teaching novels (When Nietzsche Wept and Lying on the Couch) and, his last book, Momma and the Meaning of Life (a collection of true and fictionalized tales of therapy).