Love’s Executioner by Irvin D. Yalom

10 tales of clinical psychoanalysis by a leading psychotherapist.

I really like books about therapy. Personal favorites include The Group by Paul Solotaroff and People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck. Love’s Executioner did not disappoint.

Yalom has chosen 10 fascinating case studies, and isn’t afraid to talk about the mistakes he made with each one. His essays are just as revelatory about his clinical style as they are about his patients’ troubles. My favorite is probably the first (and longest), also called “Love’s Executioner,” about a woman who was seduced by her much-younger therapist when she was 60 years old. Eight years have gone by and she simply cannot let go, much to Dr. Yalom’s endless frustration. Even as he was parsing her psychopathology, Yalom still managed to give this woman dignity–I never got the sense that I was being invited to mock, but rather to enter into her frustration.

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