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Review and Thoughts Regarding Yalom's Love's Executioner

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Love's Executioner


Irvin Yalom

My Review and Thoughts Regarding Yalom's Love's Executioner

I am a non-fiction reader, period. Lo and behold this book was based on real life encounters between a therapist, not just a therapist; these personal encounters are between a gifted man and the people that he came to counsel. Sure he has his hang-ups too, but in my opinion, he is a master at letting the patient know that he or she matters to him. He builds up a trust with his clients and this trust builds up the relationship with spontaneous empathy rather than therapeutic phrases. Therapeutic phrases and medical slang seem so impersonal, rehearsed and cold.

Yalom was so cool when he turned the table on Carlos. He put Carlos in the position of the father of a child that was raped "every once in a while.' He forced Carlos to confront and explore his meaning that he attributed to words. Carlos was forced to face the reality that he was the one that needed to change his behavior/thinking if he desired inner peace to reside within his soul. Carlos was able to create supportive friendships after this big shaking emotional downward spiral of lymphatic cancer. I am hopeful that Carlos was able to realize, correct and repent for his abnormal thinking toward women and sex. Carlos had to face the inevitable reality that we are all going to die, he just had to face that reality at a fairly young age. He was actually not ready to face this pressing reality at this time in his life. He had to try to reconcile his prior thinking with what he became to realize. I personally think that Carlos was a sleaze ball and was a potential sexual deviant. I think that if he thought that he could have gotten away with rape "every once in a while", he would have partaken in the activity.

I thought he was rude with Betty. Betty was the overweight depressed lady. Then I realized that he was mean to Betty due to his own psychological problems that evolved from controlling fat women within his own family. Yalom exihibits countertransference with Betty. In the end they end up quite close, or so it seems. Yalom admits that he is human and can be corrupted with psychological hang-ups. (He's not perfect either!)

One of my favorite characters in the book was Thelma. She was the lady that inspired the title of this manuscript. I suspect that the reason that this particular case stirred me the most was the cougar fantasy that Thelma had toward a therapist she had seen in the past. I think that the therapist that she had was stupid in that he let the professional relationship develop into an inappropriate self absorbed, sexual liaison. He was getting some type of satisfaction from this mess. she When he (the therapist) ended the liaison with Thelma she was



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