Some of My Favorite Quotes: Topics in Therapy

 In Communication, Depression & Anxiety, Faith Issues & Theology, Mental Health Therapist

What is the meaning of life?

The soul is healed by being with children1  –Dostoyevsky

As a child, I did not enjoy reading; I really did not start enjoying reading until age 16.  As I read the classics as an adult, I realized they are more than stories; they are stories dealing with the most profound things in life.  Interestingly–and probably not surprisingly–many of my favorite quotes from literature fit neatly into the categories of counseling and psychotherapy.

The Past, Truth, and Denial


The past is never dead; it’s not even past.

William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun


Never underestimate the power of denial.

Ricky Fitts, American Beauty


It was not the truth they wanted but an illusion they could bear to live with.

Anais Nin


We will cease to be so angry once we cease to be so hopeful.

Alain de Botton


Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people

Giordano Bruno




Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.  It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.  ….and one fine ­­­morning—-

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


They can be Greeks or Bulgars or Turks, it doesn’t matter.  Is he good?  Is he bad?  That’s the only thing I ask nowadays.

Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek


I believe that it is really because of Lorenzo that I am alive today; … He reminded me by his presence, by his natural and plain manner of being good, that there still existed a just world outside our own, something and someone still pure and whole, not corrupt, not savage, extraneous to hatred and terror; something difficult to define, a remote possibility of good, but for which it was worth surviving.

Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz                                     


Indeed, she died to the realities of life with less pain than she had waked from many of its illusions.

Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh


And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

Friedrich Nietzsche


Only the dead have seen the end of war.



Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.

Jean Paul Sartre


We learn from history that we do not learn from history.



Life’s Challenges


We cannot solve life’s problems except by solving them.

Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled


Things fell apart; the ceremony of innocence was drowned.

W. B. Yeats, The Second Coming


The basis of every discord is some common experience, discordantly realized.

Alfred North Whitehead, The Function of Reason


Truth or reality is avoided when it is painful.

Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled





It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood

Karl Popper


If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary in human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel’s heartbeat, and we should die of that roar which is the other side of silence.

George Eliot, Middlemarch


….human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, but we long to make music that will melt the stars.

Gustave Flaubert, Madam Bovary


And the congregation seemed to watch with its own eyes while the voice consumed him, until he was nothing and they were nothing and there was not even a voice but instead their hearts were speaking to one another in chanting measures beyond the need for words.

William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury


For a moment a phrase tried to take shape in my mouth and my lips parted like a dumb man’s, as though there was more struggling upon them than a wisp of startled air.  But they made no sound and what I had almost remembered was uncommunicable forever.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.

Elbert Hubbard


The biggest problem in communication is that we do not listen to understand, we listen to reply.




Then Ben wailed again, hopeless and prolonged.  It was nothing.  Just sound.  It might have been all time and injustice and sorrow become vocal for an instant by a conjunction of planets.

William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury


…And it occurred to me that there was no difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer; things fall apart; the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere, the ceremony of innocence is drowned.

W. B. Yeats, The Second Coming



Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out everyone;

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;

For nothing now can ever come to any good.


W H Auden, Stop All the Clocks







Recommended Posts
Optimistic Child Blog