The book “Love’s Executioner” by Dr. Irwin Yalom is a compilation of ten cases of psychiatric treatment which include author’s involvement into sorting his patients’ worries out. In fact, Irwin Yalom is a professor who studies deteriorating inflictions in the field of psychiatry. Hence, his stories about each patient grab special attention as they serve to better understand the nature of a human psyche while confronting some internal conflicts. It is all about patients’ inability to self-actualize, to fight obesity and loneliness, to get through the psychic traumas, etc. Thus, the author pays reader’s attention to the facts of difficult problems and his own vision of how to treat those disorders through a deep analysis thereof.
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The first story in the book called “Love’s Executioner” is about a woman called Thelma who once was seduced by a younger man who, in turn, was her therapist (Yalom, 2012). In this case Yalom admits impossibility for therapists and doctors to be in love with their patients (Yalom, 2012). However, the story is all about Thelma’s inability to forget about that case and live her life as it was before. It is especially hard for her in the age of seventy years, in time when her love was ominously contaminated by misery and pain (Yalom, 2012). Thelma’s story is something veiled for her, but the reason of her inner pain was discovered at the very beginning by Yalom.
The case of Thelma is a characteristic mistake which many of people make trying to persuade them in that it was love. However, it is an obvious exaggeration which has nothing to do with a pure meaning of love. Seduction and passion may turn into hell depending on the extent of involvement. Yalom himself admits that there was “some rare variant which she mistook for love” (Yalom, 2012, p. 1). Hence, the therapy was to make Thelma aware of her actions so that to let those wrongful feelings go out.
The next story is about the problem of obesity and a fat lady who was in despair about her situation. However, for Yalom the main prerequisite for patients’ healing is to make their life meaningful and full of sense. Thus, the author applies some cultural aspects and makes a fat lady believe in that she can answer the bell toward her own well-being. The thing is that she could not fight with obesity effectively due to her frequent cases of falling in despair. That was the main issue for Yalom and also it was hard for him to move her attention to a happy way of life without overeating.
Finally, the third story for analysis is “If Rape Were Legal”. A patient called Carlos is trying to persuade himself that he would be happy if rape were legal (Yalom, 2012). Having committed rape to two women, he still thinks he is on the right way. However, it is just an inner intention leading to frustration. The best way to solve Carlos’s disorder was in Yalom’s attempt to imagine how things would turn out in case of legalized rape and its impact on Carlos’s family. It was quite convincing.
Thus, the three stories taken randomly out of the book by Irwin Yalom show different cases of psychiatric treatment by the author and his own analysis of possible mistakes. However, in all three stories the reaction of Dr. Yalom to help his patients is always quick without any additional reasoning on the subject matter. Cases of Thelma, Carlos, and a fat lady are different, of course, but all of them touch upon the subtle nature of a human psyche. Hence, the book is a study guide to have a clue of suchlike disorders.
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