The Fat Lady Book Report
In the third story of Loves Executioner: “The Fat lady” , Dr.Yalom decides to treat a twenty-seven year old overweight woman named, Betty. Though Dr. Yalom was reluctant to treat Betty at first due to her being obese, Dr. Yalom decides to put aside his counter-transference issues and views treating Betty as a way to improve his skills as a therapist. Not only does Dr.Yalom learn throughout treating Betty that there was more substance to her than he had initially anticipated, but he connects with betty while overcoming his counter-transference issues,helping Betty uncover the pathology of her depression and discovering her identity.
First and foremost is Dr.Yaloms first meeting and reactions toward Betty. During first initial meeting, Dr. Yalom is taken back by Betties physical appearance as Dr.Yalom goes into explicit detail for his distaste for fat woman as he states, “I always been repelled by fat women. I find them disgusting: their absurd sidewise waddle, their absence of body contour,breasts,laps,buttock,shoulders,jawlines,cheekbones, everything I like to see in a woman obscured in an avalanche of flesh.” (Yalom, 2000 p. 94) Dr. Yalom proceeds asking the the typical questions what is troubling her as Betty tells Dr.Yalom that she is depressed and her eating has been out of control. Dr. Yalom, realizing his counter transference issues may make it hard for him to relate or even treat Betty, instead he views Betty as a challenge of being able to overcome his aversion toward fat women as a way of better helping future patients.
In the next few sessions Dr.Yalom finds Betties endless chatter about her life extremely unmoving. Dr.Yalom describes their talks as, “cocktail chatter” with no real substance to them as Dr.Yalom finds himself staring at the clock and waiting for the session to end rather than listening to betty. (Yalom, 2000) Dr.Yalom, confused on where to start treatment, deduced that addressing her weight was pointless as she was far off from losing any of it. Secondly though she was depressed and lonely, Dr.Yalom did not think this was out of the ordinary as she had just moved to a new area without her friends or family. (Yalom, 2000). As the sessions progressed, Dr.Yalom starts to feel as if he was running out of ideas as he made suggestions to betty to find social outlets such as joining Overeaters Anonymous, but to Dr Yaloms disappointment, Betty tells him that she cant stand groups. At this point Dr. Yalom realizes that part of the reason he is having such a hard time treating bettie is not just the fact that she bores him with her uninteresting conversations, but realizes the possibility that his counter transference issues and negative connotations toward fat women could be comprising her treatment. Dr.Yalom decides at this point if he is going to be any help to betty he needs to look at why she bores him and the aspects of her personality that may be comprising her social wellbeing....