Tuesday, April 07, 2009

In Treatment: Reflections on the First Week of Season Two


I liked it. I really liked it. My attention stayed focused, my blood pressure didn't soar. I didn't rant once (I don't think, can that be? Maybe I'm just starting to age gracefully).

Now that I've had time to reflect, here's what I liked:

In Treatment captured some of the sub-text, the underlying angst, that we, as therapists, might fail to talk about in a unifying way.

So Mia meets her therapist 20 years later: now she's a head litigator in a prestigious law firm and she sports a Prada suit--he's the vulnerable one being sued and she can save him! She was very attached to him, and he left her (to move) in a way she found painful. And he never contacted her. From the shrink side of the couch, that doesn't seem odd--- psychiatrists don't typically continue to initiate contact with former patients. She feels jilted, and she's never really gotten over that or something else. It's easy to see both sides-- she's too demanding, he's too aloof, why is this still lingering for her? It's pulled to the open when Paul says she must like showing him both her success and her pain. This was good.

And there's his frustration with the limitations of the therapist's role--- he wants to DRAG his patient who is refusing cancer treatments to therapy:if she were her daughter. If only Paul's daughter would return his phone calls. What would the CEO in the cashmere coat do? The one who wants to drag his daughter home from Rwanda? Oh, if only Paul's daughter wrote him such lovely, heartfelt emails. The father-daughter issues are upon us. And if that's not strong enough, there's the whole Mother-son issue with Gina that bonks us over the head.

I've criticized the blurred boundaries in the Gina's relationship (friend, supervisor, therapist, have a shot of vodka?) with Paul. But the reality is that when one psychotherapist consults another, the issues can get a little blurry and the lines of when and where the lines lie might well be a bit fluid.

So, I liked it.