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.

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.


Anonymous said...

Well, can't say I didn't tell you so. You shoulda listened to Clink.

Dinah said...

Pretty much, I should always listen to Clink. She's smart.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

>>I'm starting to wish I was more like Roy-- there are some things started that should not be finished<<

I am wondering if you should see someone about that ;)

Please, please, pretty please (with pizza and chocolate and duckies on top), bring back the good ol' Shrink Rap. I promise to comment under my real name. Heck, I'll even subscribe to your podcast on iTunes AND I'll leave a review! Please don't make me beg. Oh. I guess that's what I'm doing.

I guess I'll step away from the edge.

'til you next post,

Anonymous said...

I second that motion

Anonymous said...

I got so curious about in treatment that I started watching a couple just to see; the Sophie ones, because I used to be a gymnast. I all seemed rather...wrong to me though. Not at all what I would want a therapist to be like.

Dinah said...

anon-- I don't get it. The In Treatment posts are temporary and we've posted lots of other stuff as well, probably half the posts are on other things.

Anonymous said...

different anon here---life is temporary. don't waste half of it.unless it is a marketing tool to catch them on the way to

Anonymous said...

I am actually enjoying the In Treatment subblog! I'm not watching the show, do not intend to watch the show, but I am following the commentary here and at another blog. It is fascinating how different the commentary from two different professionals is.

April said...

In Treatment: (web-wide)commentary better than the show

Alison Cummins said...

I really like the commentary.
The show sounds pretty stupid and I’m not watching it, but I’m fascinated when Dinah talks about the client-therapist relationship as if it were an ordinary friendship or any other professional relationship. As in, if you aren’t having fun, and if the relationship doesn’t meet the normal standards you have for any other relationship in your life, don’t pursue it. No big deal, no deep questioning about whether one is working hard in therapy or self-sabotaging. Just fire the shrink (or the client) in exactly the same way you would stop going to the barber who cuts your hair badly while carrying on about paranoid delusions the entire time. Dinah doesn’t make it any more complicated than that.

Which is kind of neat. Most discussions of the therapeutic relationship go on about how it’s different from any other relationship you will ever have, how it is not to be held to the standards of friendship, how it’s appropriate to hate your therapist because that’s a productive place to explore transference.

And Dinah just asks why the characters of In Treatment keep seeing each other if they make one another so upset. You mean it’s that easy? Cool.

Anonymous said...