But when I see a fat lady, I move down a couple of rungs on the ladder of human Her New York therapist had referred her to Dr. Yalom. She’d. Section 2 > Exercise 4 > Obesity: body image and culture. The following passage opens Irving Yalom’s story, “Fat Lady.” In this story, Yalom, a psychiatrist, tells. Fat Lady. Yalom, Irvin. Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction and “disgusted” by fat women, that his “contempt surpasses all cultural norms.

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Hence, her evasive response of “O. He said it was bacteria and added they had been in the kitchen culturing deadly bacteria. Besides she marshaled other responsibility- absolving arguments: Her silly commentary was equally offputting. Fields chocolate chip cookie, and, toughest of all, her last honey-glazed doughnut.

In one dream, she lay paralyzed in a small closet which was being bricked up.

Over the next few weeks, the contact with Carlos generated so much anxiety in Betty that I had to see her in several emergency sessions and had difficulty persuading her to continue in the group. I pounced at the opportunity to understand this development. I no longer noticed her body and, instead, looked into her eyes.

Poor Betty — thank God, thank God — knew none of this as she inno- cently continued her course lad my chair, slowly lowered her body, arranged her folds and, with her feet not quite reaching the floor, looked up at me expectantly.


I’ve gained around twenty pounds in the past three months, and I can’t get into most of my clothes. She developed distressing physical symptoms — including headaches her father died of brain cancerbackaches, and shortness of breath — and was tormented with the obsessive thought that she, too, had cancer.

But then again, it is acceptable to hate fat and to think ill of fat people so there was little chance of serious criticism except from the fat acceptance folks who could be dismissed as defensive. Betty’s year-and-a-half assignment in California was now drawing to a close.

Her hairdresser, gratuitously, gave her a scalp massage.

I knew a way. Early in my career, I worked in a maximum security prison where the least heinous offense committed by any of my patients was a simple, single murder.

Betty and I had talked about her father before but never with such intensity and depth. Furthermore, I have always found that re- sponsible neophyte therapists who convey their sense of curiosity and enthusiasm often form excellent therapeutic relationships and can be as far as a seasoned professional. But could I relate to Betty?


To push her face into the ice cream. In the course of her abbreviated treatment-Yalom was layd to start a sabbatical and could only offer 12 sessions-Penny resolutely faced the major issues of her life. Or maybe she is in that tiny minority who succeeded in maintaining that weight loss. Nonetheless, during these three weeks I felt her deprivation more keenly.


It was hard to remember that less than a year before it had been difficult for me even to look at Betty, Today I felt positively tender toward her. A good working formula is: I felt myself flushing. They turn my stomach.


Why had I not asked her more about her eating habits? I wonder what Betty is yapom now, 20 years later. She re-examined her impoverished, unstable childhood. To drive my point home, I attempted, in our final session, to use myself as an example. But it was not until shortly after her father died that Betty grasped the truth about the inevitability of her own death.

Interacting with the Medical Humanities

Careful, careful, she’s getting close. I’m not sure I know what you’re talking about. Yet I had started therapy with intense negative feelings about Betty — feelings I had never discussed with her and that she had never recog- nized.

In the streets, the black attacked me for my whiteness, and in school, the white attacked me for my Jewishness.