Psychiatrist Dr Irvin D Yalom is married to a feminist scholar, which is highly surprising considering the fact that he regards women in a very sexualized and demeaning way Unless they were attractive women, he displayed a worrying degree of contempt towards his patients He seemed to have one derogatory thought after another about them In the story The Fat Lady he even admits that his contempt for fat ladies surpassed all cultural norms But the fat lady, Betty, offered him an opportunity to improve his personal skills as a therapist She represented to him the ultimate countertransference challenge and for that very reason he offered to be her therapist I have always been repelled by fat women I find them repulsive their absurd sidewise waddle, their absence of body contour breasts, laps, buttocks, shoulders, jawlines, cheekbones, everything, everything I like to see in a woman, obscured in an avalanche of flesh And I hate their clothes the shapeless, baggy dresses or, worse, the stiff elephantine blue jeans How dare they impose that body on the rest of us I have always admired, perhaps than many men, the woman s body No, not just admired I have elevated, idealized, ecstacized it to a level and a goal that exceeds all reason Do I resent the fat woman for her desecration of my desire, for bloating and profaning each lovely feature that I cherish For stripping away my sweet illusion and revealing its base of flesh flesh on the rampage Even after finishing this book a few months ago, this fat lady case is still on my mind from time to time Reading about these ten psychotherapeutic cases was interesting the repeated denigratory comments on his patients however were often painful to read To be honest, I wouldn t want to lie down on his couch 5 10 A friend gave me this book a few days ago My friend is very well educated, has lived all over the world, and has experienced than most people When he gave me the book, he said to me, This book reflects my vision of the world.How could I help but be intrigued Opening the book, he then read the following passage from the Preface Four givens are particularly relevant for psycho therapy the inevitability of death for each of us and for those we love the freedom to make our lives as we will our ultimate aloneness and, finally, the absence of any obvious meaning or sense to life When I recently read the novel LIFE AND FATE, which takes its characters through the massive Battle of Stalingrad and Stalin s Great Terror, I couldn t help thinking how poor in material for great novels is the typical life of a prosperous, well educated professional living today in the OECD Compared to the intensity of the experiences described in LIFE AND FATE, even wonderful writers like Ian McEwan are boring.But, as the Preface accurately foreshadows, there is nothing boring about LOVE S EXECUTIONER, because my friend is right the four issues described in the Preface do indeed define the human condition.In a sense, LOVE S EXECUTIONER offers, in the broadest possible sense, the ancient wisdom found in Psalms 90 Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom Dr Yalom is quite frank about what he considers the magical thinking and delusion involved in religious belief, however Aside from his commitment to unflinchingly acknowledge the truths he describes in his Preface and therefore, Teach us to number our days , Dr Yalom s faith resides in the healing potential of the relationship between the therapist and the patient This could be generalised to incorporate the Second Commandment to Love thy neighbour as thyself with its emphasis on human relationships and mutual openness, but one senses that Dr Yalom would acknowledge this point, at best, with a sardonic shrug Whatever gets you through the night Yalom is his own main character, and LOVE S EXECUTIONER is a dramatic account of how the character Dr Yalom undergoes dramatic encounters with deeply troubled characters not unlike the way the character Dante encounters vividly depicted souls in Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise.Like Dante s DIVINE COMEDY, LOVE S EXECUTIONER is episodic The ten tales all vary and will affect individual reader s differently For some reason, I found the case of the morbidly obsese woman deeply moving, while being most unsettled by the cases of the elderly neurobiologist and the elderly accountant perhaps because they were the patients most similar to me REVIEW CONT D as COMMENT 1 I had originally started Irvin D Yalom s newest release Becoming Myself, where he mentioned this collection of stories which sounded fitting because my attention span was slight at the time.Love s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy offers a keen insight on ten patients, from all walks of life, who turned to therapy, all ten were suffering the common problems of everyday life loneliness, self contempt, impotence, migraine headaches, sexual compulsivity, obesity, hypertension, grief, a consuming love obsession, mood swings, depression Yet somehow a somehow that unfolds differently in each story , therapy uncovered deep roots of these everyday problems roots stretching down to the bedrock of existence Though the problems may be considered common problems of everyday life, Love s Executioner made them seem like anything but Yalom writes his patients with the utmost respect and interest.I d like to mention in particular one story that started off the collection on a bang for me with Thelma, a depressed, suicidal, seventy year old woman, who for the past eight years could not relinquish her obsessive love for a man thirty five years younger Perhaps the function of the obsession was simply to provide intimacy it bonded her to another but not to a real person, to a fantasy My attention was riveted to her I went through a turmoil of emotions reading her story, and came out of it with a changed perspective of my own It was such a wild ride that in the end I felt like both the doctor and the patient being treated The longest piece, deservingly so You are you, you have your own existence, you continue to be the person you are from moment to moment, from day to day Basically your existence is impervious to the fleeting thoughts, to the electromagnetic ripples occurring in some unknown mind Try to see that All this power that Matthew has you ve given it to him every bit of it What goes on in another person s mind, someone you never even see, who probably isn t even aware of your existence, who is caught up in his own life struggles, doesn t change the person you are I was easily swept away into the pensive and therapeutic writing style It offered an introspective look into moments not many of us get to see represented The book also had many noteworthy lines that left an imprint on me, such as You know, there is no one alive now who was grown up when I was a child So I, as a child, am dead Some day soon, perhaps in forty years, there will be no one alive who has ever known me That s when I will be truly dead when I exist in no one s memory I thought a lot about how someone very old is the last living individual to have known some person or cluster of people When that old person dies, the whole cluster dies, too, vanishes from living memory I wonder who that person will be for me Whose death will make me truly dead This precise piece of commentary struck me.Speaking of which, this note on experiencing love at first sight was so satisfying to agree on You don t know this person In a Proustian way, you ve packed this creature full of the attributes you so desire You ve fallen in love with your own creation At the expanse of sounding a bit abrasive, this book was perfect for my nosy self that likes to hear personal stories without having to share something of myself in exchange And though I did not agree with the tactics used in certain tales, I read on in fascination of the differing views of reality presented Now, I can move on to Yalom s newest release.Oh, and one last thing I have to highlight upon ending my review, this piece on experiencing crushes At a conference approximately two years prior to meeting Thelma, I had encountered a woman who subsequently invaded my mind, my thoughts, my dreams Her image took up housekeeping in my mind and defied all my efforts to dislodge it But, for a time, that was all right I liked the obsession and savored it afresh again and again A few weeks later, I went on a week s vacation with my family to a beautiful Caribbean island It was only after several days that I realized I was missing everything on the trip the beauty of the beach, the lush and exotic vegetation, even the thrill of snorkeling and entering the underwater world All this rich reality had been blotted out by my obsession I had been absent I had been encased in my mind, watching replays over and over again of the same and, by then, pointless fantasy Anxious and thoroughly fed up with myself, I entered therapy yet again , and after several hard months, my mind was my own again and I was able to return to the exciting business of experiencing my life as it was happening Note I m an Affiliate If you re interested in buying Love s Executioner, just click on the image below to go through my link I ll make a small commission Support creators you love Buy a Coffee for nat bookspoils with Ko fi.com bookspoils , 10 . There is no adventure exciting, nothing so wonderful and frightening, and so fraught with danger, as delving into the mind of a human being On that point alone this book is moving and emotional and funny as few works of fiction can be When going on such a perilous journey into the true heart of darkness it behooves one to have an experienced and trustworthy guide Dr Irving Yalom knows the terrain and the beasts that lurk within yet I would prefer having Fred C Dobbs showing me the way in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre At least with Dobbs you know where you stand Yalom is duplicitous and self aggrandizing, his writing screams contempt and distain for all but his most attractive female patients At the same time his writing, when keeping to the trail of his client s problems is compelling and insightful But it is Yalom s incessant and obnoxious inner monologue that ruins this book for me Yalom is smarmy and lascivious to women he finds attractive, and dismissive and cruel in his descriptions of those who don t match his standards He compartmentalizes men in the same way When one women, far below his standards and the first of the ten case studies that make up the book says her last therapist called her on her shitty habits Yalom tells us, This phrase startled me It didn t fit with the rest of her presentation That s how I felt about him throughout the book The insight he shows in the introduction of the book is waylaid time and time again by his incessant, obnoxious, and judgmental inner monologue This, along with his ego and self centeredness proved for a very unenjoyable read If I want to read the musings of a horndog I ll stick with Errol Flynn s My Wicked Wicked Ways and be spared the hubris But wait What s this, an afterword Ah, written 25 years after the book was first published Now I ll see the wisdom of the man who wrote the introduction Now, matured and distilled by age and experience, I ll see the wise reflections on his egotistic, insulting asides and comments of his freshman book But what to my wondering eyes do appear He actually envies and praises his writing He makes a very backhanded apology for what he wrote about one of his clients but finds room to lionize himself even there I don t care about his experience, reputation or certifications If it looks like a schmuck, swims like a schmuck, and quacks like a schmuck, then it probably is a schmuck. . From both my personal and professional experience, I had come to believe that the fear of death is always greatest in those who feel that they have not lived their life fully A good working formula is the unlived life, or unrealized potential, the greater one s death anxiety In his book Love s Executioner, Irvin Yalom, a psychotherapist with several decades of experience, shares ten stories of individuals he counseled in a professional setting Each of these tales revolves around different presenting problems, ranging from a man whose cancer has left him ravenous for sex to a woman who blames herself for her daughter s death years after her passing Yalom ties together all of these unique clients with overarching themes pertaining to how we must accept and conquer our fear of death, how we must assume responsibility for the course of our lives, and how we must construct meaning within ourselves in order to thrive.While some of those concepts might sound cliche how we must construct meaning, assume responsibility for the course of our lives, accept and conquer our fear of death Yalom presents them in fascinating, complex, and unpretentious ways He examines his clients with an insightful lens, treats them like humans in an understanding and open relationship, and uses skilled therapeutic techniques to provoke insight and growth Not all of his stories end on a clean note, and their ambiguous resolutions exemplify the complex and bumpy nature of therapy, similar to the convoluted quality of humans themselves.Yalom s openness stands out as a strong point in this book In his afterword, in which he reflects on writing this book at 55 after reading it again at 80, he admits to feeling embarrassed due to some of the content in Love s Executioner Throughout the ten tales he discloses information such as how he had to work through his prejudice against fat people, how he urged a woman to put her dog to rest, and how he himself would get bored by certain clients His honesty, his willingness to scrutinize himself, and his commitment to positive self growth show that therapists, even experienced ones, still remain human We all progress and learn together, even in a therapist client relationship.Recommended to those interested in psychology, therapy, and reading about people A fascinating book that makes me want to read of Yalom s writing, including his fiction. The collection of ten absorbing tales by master psychotherapist Irvin D Yalom uncovers the mysteries, frustrations, pathos, and humor at the heart of the therapeutic encounter In recounting his patients dilemmas, Yalom not only gives us a rare and enthralling glimpse into their personal desires and motivations but also tells us his own story as he struggles to reconcile his all too human responses with his sensibility as a psychiatrist Not since Freud has an author done so much to clarify what goes on between a psychotherapist and a patient. Psichin sveikata vis dar tabu tema m s visuomen je Nors susilau ius koj kreipiam s gydytoj ir net nesusim stom, jog tai ka kokia g da Psichologiniai sunkumai vis dar kartu su g dos jausmu ie koti pagalbos Ai ku, ir pla ios palet s vis kit.Amerikietis psichoterapeutas Yalom turi i skirtin dovan Greta to, jog yra puikus savo srities specialistas, jis puikiai valdo plunksn Tai jam leid ia sukurti nauj literat ros anr psichoterapines noveles Knygoje autorius pateikia 10 skirting istorij , kurios leid ia tarsi u mesti ak tai, kas vyksta psichoterapeuto kabinete Palie iamos labai vairios temos meil , liga, mirtis, valgymo sutrikimai, seksas, vaikai ir t.t Manau, kiekvienas ras jam daugiau ar ma iau artim tem Yalom atviras jis atskleid ia savo jausmus klient at vilgiu ir juos analizuoja Tikiu, kad i auks labai a tri jausm Pavyzd iui, pasipiktinim ir smerkim tai vienoje istorijoje gydytojas atvirauja kaip labai jam atgrasi jo antsvorio turinti pacient Bet Plunksnos a trumas leid ia tuos jausmus nu viesti gana vaizd iai Mes priprat prie film suformuoto psichologo vaizd io, kad jie pabalnoj savo nosytes dailiais akinukais raginiai r meliais, nutais profesionali emocij nei duodan i veido kauk klauso ir profesionaliai patarin ja Pasirodo ne jie gali ka k jausti Paskui lyg ir suvoki kad viskas gerai jie juk mon s Pykt gydytojui nusveria pagarba, kai jis atskleid ia kaip su kiekvienu pacientu auga, kaip su ino ka k naujo apie gyvenim , apie save.Buvo viet , kai pagalvojau, jog psichologo psichoterapeuto darbas tarsi intelektin kova Lyg kokie achmatai Specialistas narplioja j s gyvenimo, min i ir jausm labirint Pacientas kartais tam prie inasi Laaabai domu Taip pat Yalomas pateikia nema ai filosofini pam stym apie gyvenim , apie da niausiai mones kamuojan ias problemas.Manau, turint galvoje, kad psichologi kai visi esame tokie jau labai sveiki ir niekam pagalbos atseit nereikia tai vieniems i knyga gal t tapti puikia paspirtimi kreiptis specialistus pagalbos, kitiems gal jos ir nereikia, ta iau, jei bent kartais pafilosofuojate su savimi, atskleis atsakym ne vien klausim , o dar kitiems tiesiog pad s legaliai paklausyti, kas gi tokio vyksta tuose paichoterapijos kabinetuose Gero skaitymo The stories of 10 patients experiences in psychotherapy but they feel like much.The stories offer a surprisingly engaging window to peek into the struggles of patients w the very same existential pains and miseries everyone experiences The author is a practicing therapist, and he based these stories on his patients suitably amended to ensure anonymity He reflects much on his own role in the therapeutic relationship, and these reflections are often as interesting as the stories of his patients.Each person s story is engaging their narrative just as intriguing as fiction They each come to therapy to, somewhat, deal with their issues, and get better and move on But some are really ready to see and take in even painful insights about themselves and ready to take painful steps to change Otherssadlyare not In this sense, these stories represent very nicely the same phenomenon in the rest of the human race We are all getting older and a few.are growing up.