Sunday, February 24, 2008

HBO In Treatment....Once A Patient, Always A Patient

Paul meets with Gina for supervision or debate team or personal torture or whatever you want to call it. He down plays his role in Sophie's overdose on his meds in his office, right after her meaningful "breakthrough." (I prefer patients not breakthrough quite like this, I wouldn't even like the back-flips off my couch). He told the psychiatrist at the hospital not to hospitalize her because she would feel he's abandoning her. OMG (to quote my 13 year old)--- her second serious suicide attempt in a couple of months and she's still seeing her coach who's slept with her-- and he PREVENTS her from going to a safer place for stabilization. Oh give me a break.

Gina and Paul talk in diffuse ways about diffuse things and who knows what it's all about. He's mad that she once wrote he was compromised by his wanting to please his patients, even though everything else in her letter was glowing. He carried the letter around for months in his pocket, it kept him from being the head of the Institute. They talk about Doris and the Institute. I don't know who Doris is and I don't care about the Institute. Paul tells Gina she's cold and has no empathy.

Finally, Paul engages Gina in one of those conversations about Why Can't I Have a Relationship With Laura, ....the personality disordered patient who is 20 years younger than he is.

Prole husband says: he wants permission to have an affair, and yet he goes to the person who he knows would never give it to him.

Dinah says: This show started off strong, Paul was a good and likable therapist the first week and lots of stuff was happening. Now, he's a creep, his own therapy/supervision sessions give insight into him not as a thoughtful therapist, but as a damaged man who can't negotiate his own family life and who has no sense of reasonable boundaries. His treatment of his supervisor is completely unrealistic--- he behaves like a narcissistic, entitled, and insensitive idiot. Who goes to a supervisor they have so much baggage with, and why do these two people sit in a room together pretending it's just fine that he's disrespectful and treading the line of abusive. And why do they both like it?

Hoping it's over soon. I've committed myself to blogging about it, I sort of like writing the blog, but I no longer like the TV show. Roy tells me our hits are way up since I started this, and last week we had over 5,000 page views. Unlike Roy, I tend to finish what I start. If you click the link, check out Roy's number 19.


Anonymous said...

I feel better now, which shows what a wondeful therapist you are! I want a therapist "just like me" and I couldn't bear the notion that you thought this was a marvelous show, and how much time you were investing in blogging about it, and yes I know you are not my therapist, and I know it is just tv ,but I do like to maintain this idea of you as an intelligent person, and yes intelligent people can have their guilty pleasures such as beach reads (yech), and they can have their parties and cry at them if they so choose, but my faith in you was being seriously shaken(which is why I also do not listen to too many podcasts ,oy).
Mandatory Reporter
Parent of Multiple Teens/Tweens (which means I have more than a few ,not that they are "DID")

chartreuse said...

What personality disorder does Laura have?

In this episode, Paul talked about a patient crying in front of the therapist for the first time as a breakthrough. Is that something therapists really think?

Anonymous said...

Anon-- glad you feel better.

Laura has what we sometimes call "Cluster B"....I don't really "know" her well enough to be too specific, but there is lots of evidence here that she has difficulty with attachments. What can I say? Hard to engage in much of a discussion about someone who isn't real. Though Roy and I did it over Chloe in 24.

And in my practice everyone cries all the time. I've never thought of it as having any "breakthrough" meaning. What people say in therapy is important, but as far as "breakthrough" (a term I never use) and meaningful change, well, actions speak louder than words.

DrivingMissMolly said...

I for one, am still loving the show. I decided to see the show merely as a drama, and "therapy" as merely the "frame-work" used to drape the drama on.

I love everything about this show. I love the way Gina and Paul's faces are lit during their sessions. I love the way Paul is lit during sessions with his patients. It is nice to see this character have feelings and reactions. I agree with Laura that there is a coldness, a lack of reaction in therapy with the therapist. Of course, the therapist can have the coldest poker-face facade, but you never know what is going on underneath the surface.

I think Gabriel Byrne who plays "Paul" is incredibly sexy, although taken individually, his features aren't attractive. I think he is a great actor and I am smelling Emmy's already.

Character-wise, I cannot understand Paul's indifference to his wife. I think Gina saw something in Paul that long-ago time when she wrote that letter, and those problems continue to plague Paul but they are now in danger of sabotaging everything.

I find that I have extreme pessimism about Paul's "patients." It doesn't seem to me that any of them can or will get better. Jake and Amy are evil, Alex is deluded, and Sophie and Laura are so damaged that suicide might be their best options. I know that sounds terrible.

For me, this is a show about Paul, and I am rooting for him, but I'm waiting for him to let me down.

I think that Gina's "therapy" with Paul represents an opportunity for redemption for her for the past, specifically, for Charlie and for "letting down" Paul.

This show, for me, is quite literary. It is a rich tapestry of character and symbolism. Has anyone noticed the recurring circularity? There is this turning and returning. Gina says something to Paul and he repeats it to Laura (ending therapy). Paul says something to Gina and then he hears it from his patients.

The recurring motifs of sailing and traveling add to the idea of leaving but coming back.

One really cannot escape oneself.

The past repeats itself, etc.

Lily (who is going to meet with her $200 silent, unreadable and generally not too helpful psychiatrist today at 2PM).

Anonymous said...

The circularity is obvious., glaringly so. When do they break out into the Lion King song?

The boats and wave machine and pics of ships and water, water everywhere, of course this is a symbol but they lay it on with such a thick brush. If this is lit, it wouldn't make it into the great books. It might make into the fantasy section. Or the dramedy section of the video store because these drahhhmas make me laugh even though it is one sad little show.

Mother Jones RN said...

Good grief! It's scary, but I really knew a doctor who couldn't understand why he couldn't sleep with his patients. He lost his medical license. He didn't understand that either. Go figure.


Sarebear said...

Lily, I like your POV.

Anonymous said...

i prefer VoIP