Saturday, February 09, 2008

In Treatment: Episode 10....the sub-blog


I'm posting after the fact, but I did watch the Paul-returns-to-Gina episode last night.

Can I give this episode a few sub-titles:
1) Why I don't have a home office.
2) Why don't these people listen to each other?

So Paul returns to tell Gina that Kate really is having an affair: an insurance agent/an employment guy/ a supermarket manager. I guess he wasn't listening. He talks about his disconnection from his childrens' lives and how Kate blames him for his neglect. While Paul has mentioned once last week that a patient says she's in love with him, that "erotic transference" thing, he hasn't said much about it, and Gina repeatedly and insistently-- as if by crystal ball-- comes back to the feelings Paul must have towards Laura as the source of his marital woes, and therefore, we can assume, in having some role in Kate's need for another relationship outside the marriage. He does eventually confess that Laura's beautiful and he 'enjoys' the flattery and the feelings. But well before this, Gina was probing him-- Laura could have been the ugliest, most unavailable woman in the world-- but Gina was insisting. I hate it when therapists do that--sure, patients repress things or don't see the obvious, but in real life, you're just testing theories, and if a patient backs away from an idea, you figure that either you (the therapist) were wrong, or that the patient needs more time or a new way to see this, and you back off. You don't ram your theories down their throats. Or I don't. It was interesting that Paul was eventually hammered into looking at the connection between Laura and his feelings, but it could have just as easily turned into a repeat of last week's screaming sessions, and unlike any of my patients, Paul has the benefit of a professional script writer to compose his lines for him.

Paul talks about Kate's jealousy of his home office, of her feeling excluded and not important to him. He mentions that she was in it after the miscarrying couple left (he didn't mention that she was there because he barked an order for her to come help with the damn spot), and he mocks Kate saying "What Happens In this Office?" Nothing in their real life compares to what goes on here and she never feels like his top priority. I ask my husband if he ever feels that my work comes first, and he says "never" (1 point for Dinah, zip for Paul). I hate to offend anyone, but much of what goes on in a therapist's office is mundane, while neat things happen, or there are frequent I-wish-I-could-write-about-this-on-my-blog moments, it's not that magical.

I think about our real life house-- it was built generations ago by a doctor and some form of doctor has always owned it (--we are the first family in which that doctor is the wife, not the husband). There is a separate entrance, and until the owners before us, the first floor was divided into a physician's office. I don't really know what the layout was, but as we
doing the final walk-through, the former owner (a hospitalist who didn't have his practice at home) pointed out that a radiology tank used to be where our TV now is, the bathroom had been relocated, essentially, our "playroom", family room, laundry area, were all somehow a separate physician's suite. It wouldn't be so hard to reconfigure this into a shrink's office, with the separate walkway and door already there, and people have asked why I don't have an office in my house. So if you watched In Treatment the last few days, you know that spending a few bucks on office rent, especially if you have a family and all those bathroom issues Paul seems to have, isn't such a bad idea.

So we move on to learn that Gina's husband David died just a year ago. And here's a fun subplot: Paul had referred his good friend Charlie to Gina for treatment. Charlie fell in love with Gina and he told Paul that Gina was in love with him. We see from her face this is true. Charlie, like David, is now conveniently dead so we can talk about all this with no hope of fixing it. Paul is angry that Gina's response to her feelings for her patient/his friend was to run away to England on sabbatical with her husband. Huh, Charlie was her only patient? No college tuitions or morgates to pay, I suppose. Paul writes her script that THIS was the reason why? There's no room here for other possibilities--- requirement of David's work, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, nope, without asking, he's told her that she dropped her practice, picked up her hubby, and moved across the big pond to escape Charlie. Gina flinches so we figure it's true, but a little more convincing with the script writing, huh? Why don't these people Ask, try out their theories, consider other options. Paul mentions there sessions are like debate teams where everyone goes in ready to plug for their side without hearing the other's side. Yup. This isn't therapy and it isn't supervision, and it's only by virtue of television that they haven't thrown those pretty water glasses at each other.

Just for the record, Paul says if he transferred every patient he was attracted to, he wouldn't have a practice. Interesting. I don't believe that's the usual.