“Love and Psychotherapy are fundamentally incompatible. A good therapist fights darkness and seeks illumination, while romantic love is sustained by mystery and crumbles upon inspection” (use citation) This is the overall theme that is prevalent throughout the first story of Yalom’s book that is also titled, “Loves Executioner”
In this story Yalom decides to treat a 70-year-old woman named, “Thelma” that had a love affair with her former therapist, Mathew, eight years ago. Although Yalom believed no one was beyond his skills that he could break Thelma’s obsession with her former therapist, he soon realized that he was overcome by excessive hubris and the problem was more intricate and complex than it had appeared to be.
In the beginning of the story, because of a research grant on geriatric therapy he decides to treat Thelma and give her “good therapy”, as compared to the interns she has been used to seeing. Yalom felt she had not been given adequate therapy in the twenty some years she had been seeing inexperienced therapist as Yalom felt could treat any patient and Thelma was no different. I personally thought this was one of Yalom’s first mistakes as to assume that a person can treat virtually treat anyone is not admitting to possible limitations they have not explored in themselves as not ever situation is the same.
Yalom was intrigued with her love obsession and couldn’t understand why her former therapist that was considerably younger would even want to have sexual relations with Thelma which he describes her as, “a shabby old woman.” (citation) All of these aspects of Thelma’s crisis, the love affair with her former therapist, her obsession and the power he gave Matthew, made her the ideal candidate for the geriatric study on therapy.
In the first session Thelma explains to Yalom that he is her last hope and that she cant seem to move on from being obsessed over her former therapist and wants to give therapy one last try as she might succeed in committing suicide unlike last time she attempted it. (ciation) Thelma explains about her and Mathew’s first meeting outside therapy happened a year later in union square San Francisco near a cafe. Thelma and Matthew end up spending the day having coffee and talking about everything as if they had been old friends reunited, as the next 27 days they becoming very close as we as having sex on one occasion. She describes Mathew being caring and attractive and how she had suspicion’s that he was gay because he lived in one of the San Francisco gay enclaves. (ciation )
Thelma informs Yalom that she had not spoke to Mathew in over eight years that she couldn’t see herself without him, as she would just be happy with a phone call to let her know he still thinks about her as he made her feel alive and that Thelma could care less if he loved he or not. (Citation) I found idea of her needing to speak to Matthew interesting because even though Thelma says she doesn’t care if Mathew loves her,...