Wednesday, February 27, 2008

HBO In Treatment: : Laura Says Goodbye, Alex Gets Espresso Dumped on Him

So Laura starts by announcing it's her final session. "How Do You Feel?" from both parties. Laura goes on to discuss how a 15 year-old nearly died during a simple surgery --apparently, Laura's an anesthesia resident....the attending was out of the room and Laura had never taken a patient to Recovery alone before and she didn't know what to do (Huh??). This brings us back to when Laura was a tender 15 year-old. her mother died and she talks about a relationship with a couple she stayed with that summer in California. We thought she never saw them again; oh, but now she says the husband stayed at her house or at the Hay Adams hotel in DC, for 2 months while he while he had a trial going on, and Laura had sex with him every day. When she'd previously told Paul that her "first" was a kid in high school, that had been a lie. Hard to know what's true here. Paul gets angry that the 40 year-old man who'd slept with her had a moral obligation to say No. It seems he's talking to himself. Laura needs a drink, something other than water (all these characters do is drink and go to the bathroom) and they linger over the espresso maker that Paul's patient Alex, who is also Laura's lover, has given him. And oh, the 15-year-old girl on the operating table almost died because Laura made a mistake because she was thinking about Paul. Good-bye and a lingering hug that leaves us wondering, but finally Laura exits. Good riddance. I have nothing to add.

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Okay, it's Alex's turn now. He's obnoxious, aggressive and hostile. He picks at Paul, constantly asking how he feels, asking if he's slept with Laura, insisting that therapy is reciprocal and "Don't you see how you twist things?" Paul wants Alex to talk about his father, and this does not go well. Alex has done his research--we'll call this Stalking-- he knows Paul's wife was in Italy having an affair, that his daughter is sleeping with drug addicts, and when he refers to patient Laura as a "slut," well that's when Paul loses it and physically assaults Alex. He throws his coffee and calls him a prick. End of session.

This is drama, it's not psychotherapy. Nothing even close to this ever goes on in my office. And I'm starting to wish I was more like Roy-- there are some things started that should not be finished. The whole thing stunk and as I watched, I peeled and de-veined shrimp for dinner.