Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In Treatment....Episode? Lovely Laura

I'm a day behind and Roy wants me to write about a NY Times article on therapists in therapy. I'll get there.

So yesterday, Laura comes to talk about her sexual experiences with Paul's patient Alex. Way too much information. She is goading him, if I can't have you, then I'll sleep with Alex. Alex might as well be a dirty dish cloth. She returns to her feelings for Paul and pushes him: "Yes or No, Is this an intimate relationship." Paul says yes. She talks about hating herself, and this is where everything turns-- Paul talks about hating himself when he didn't do a good enough job caring for his ill mother when he was a child. They linger a little too closely as they say goodbye. And, oh, she owes him for the appointment.

So I didn't have a problem with Paul saying it was an intimate relationship, only this wasn't really the question. The question was "is this a special relationship?" He could have told her it was an intimate relationship, but that therapy is by it's nature intimate, instead the idea was transmitted that he also loves her.

Sometimes therapists decide it's useful to reveal personal information to patients. Sometimes it's comforting to know your doc has "been there." Here, however, Paul opens up his vulnerabilities to Laura at a time when he should be setting boundaries. He's let her know that he also lost his mother at a young age, he's "been there" but, like he told Gina, it feels like he knows where to press to get what he wants, and what he wants isn't what either of them should have....