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 overweight, Dr. Yalom decided to put his counter-transference issues aside and views treating Betty as a way to improve his skills as a therapist. Not only does Dr. Yalom learn throughout working with Betty that there was more substance to her than he had initially had thought, as throughout the course of treatment Dr. Yalom connected with Betty, overcoming his counter-transference issues, while helping her uncover the pathology of her depression and the reasons for her binge eating.
During Betty and Dr. Yalom’s first initial meeting, Yalom is taken back by Betty’s physical appearance as he 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, buttocks, shoulders, jaw lines, and cheekbones, everything I like to see in a woman obscured in an avalanche of flesh.” (Yalom, 2000 p. 94) Dr. Yalom then asks Betty what is troubling her, which she tells Yalom that she has been depressed since she has moved to California due to a job transfer 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 views Betty as a challenge of being able to overcome his aversion toward fat women and decides to wholeheartedly give all the time and dedication into treating her. (Yalom, 2000)
In the next few sessions, Dr. Yalom finds Betty’s endless chatter about her life uninteresting. Yalom describes their talks as, “Cocktail chatter”, as Yalom continued to stare at the clock out of boredom, waiting for each session to end. (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 way from her old job and friends back in New York. (Yalom, 2000) Within several sessions into treatment, Dr. Yalom had felt as if he was running out of ideas on how to treat Betty, let alone how he can relate her. Dr. Yalom then suggested to Betty to join a social outlet, such as Over Eaters Anonymous as a way for her to relate to others that may also share her eating problems, This however, goes nowhere as Betty tells him that she cant stand groups, adding to Dr. Yalom’s further disappointment. At this point in treatment, Dr. Yalom realized that part of the reason he is having such a hard time treating Betty is not just the fact that she bores him with her uninteresting conversations, but that his negative connotations toward fat women maybe comprising her treatment. Dr. Yalom then came to the...