Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In Treatment: Episode Number 2.....the sub-blog


Today's patient (well, yesterday's patient, I'm playing catchup) is Alex, I assume the therapist will still be Paul. And you know, Paul is kind of hot.

No denim today. Paul's in slacks, though Alex the patient wears jeans and a leather jacket.

It's Alex's first session, it starts at the door with a handshake and first names. Alex asks if there are ground rules. He looks around, touches some books. Paul jests, "In my profession we say that the customer is always wrong... it's a therapist joke."

Alex has done research: he knows Paul is the best. "So, do you recognize me?" Alex always goes to the best. Paul does not recognize him.

Alex explains that he flew a navel mission which accidentally resulted in the deaths of civilian schoolchildren while they studied the Koran, it was all over CNN. Alex is a wanted man by Islamic fundamentalists.

"You're dying to ask how I can sleep at night. Very well thank you. I hit my target, I sleep like a baby." Alex is smooth, cavalier, steeped in denial if you ask me. (You didn't ask, but hey, it's my blog).

Alex talks about how his father handled his mother's death, an event he deems the most traumatic thing in his life. He imitates his father: 'It never ends, Alex, your mother left such a mess.' His father soon remarried. "A whole life together and not a single tear."

Alex talks about running, his way of getting R&R. He runs with a gay friend named Danny, they go for miles. They run farther than ClinkShrink. Alex pushed Danny, who wanted to stop, to go for 26 miles, a marathon pace. At 22 miles, Alex had a heart attack and "died" but was revived from his 'total clinical death' defying all odds. He talks about the end, "the tunnel." Alex tells Paul, "All that time I tried to figure out if I had a hard on." And from there he talks about how his 92 year-old grandfather died with an erection. Danny, the gay runner, is a doctor who resuscitated Alex. Paul wonders if this links to Alex being fearful of being a homosexual. No way.

Alex and Paul tussle a bit. Paul points out that Alex has been testing him since he walked in the door. "You have no patience," Alex tells the therapist.

So now Alex tells Paul his chief complaint: He talks about being 'frozen' for 48 hours in a body suit during his time 'dead.' Paul tells Alex he has a strong will to live. He's come back from the dead, "and if you don't supply the goods...." Paul says, "this is a systems failure that wasn't supposed to happen to you."

Alex says his whole life was perfect, he was born to excel, he is the creme de la creme, "I'm a top gun grad and that training is not for pussies."

Alex wants advise. He continues with his cryptic style. Alex decided to go back to the site where he dropped the bomb on the school. "I don't have a guilty conscious." Paul worries that Alex will not be safe if he returns to the school. "This isn't for me." Alex says of therapy.

Paul talks about how Alex perhaps needs someone to be his commanding officer. Paul is scheduled to leave TONIGHT to go to Baghdad.

"Don't you think there's a strong desire there to atone for your actions?" Paul asks. Something finally hits Alex, he wants a cup of coffee, he doesn't want to leave even though his time is up.

My husband says it's not enough, it's just a plot summary, it needs a Dinah-spin. He wants me to predict where the therapy is headed. What does my husband think I do for a living? I'm a shrink, not a fortune teller!

So I liked this episode better than Laura. It was less predictable. Alex is a narcissist, I think, he's also difficult, constantly challenging and trying to out-smart the doc. He wants advice, but he isn't there to listen, he's there to hear he's right, to get permission in a sense, and to ignore whatever it is he doesn't want to hear. Maybe he's just there to out-best the best.