Sunday, March 23, 2008

HBO In Treatment: The End Of Week 8: Why Can't We Be Friends?

Sophie is dropped off by her Mom who is trying oh-so-hard to be nice to her. She sobs while lying on Paul's floor, now angry with her dad. Paul, also on the floor, points out that Sophie holds herself responsible for relationships gone bad. She tells him that she quivers on the beam while doing gymnastics, that she has broken out in an awful rash. She lifts her shirt to show him the rash, apparently flashing him (we TV viewers just see this awful rash on her back). Paul is uncomfortable, Sophie is quick to latch onto that. He tells her how he had a panic attack and a patient had to call an ambulance for him-- the rash, the quivers, they are all from stress, she can control it. At one point he pushes her and Sophie, trying to get him to lay off, says, "I know you want me to have a breakthrough today."

Sophie remains my favorite patient-- she is likable, vulnerable, full of hope and promise, yet so so fragile. Paul will tell his own therapist later in the week that he helps her through their relationship, not the therapeutic process. I think he's right-- Sophie needs a father and finds it in Paul's intense attention. I've already said I don't think he should push her and boundaries for Paul get confused by his need to be liked by his patients. Oh, and just because his panic attack was from stress, doesn't mean Sophie's rash is. He should send her back to the dermatologist.

Just before the Jake/Amy session, Kate tells Paul she is no longer going to couples' therapy with him. It's not clear if she's leaving him.

Jake comes alone (thankfully, together he and Amy are insufferable). They are splitting, he is damaged. Jake has moved through the weeks from being an angry, controlling, jealous lover to being a sympathetic character. In this session we learn that the rough-around-the-edges Jake is the son of two college professors. He's moved from his childhood of parental disapproval to a marriage with a hotshot wife who mirrors his father's disapproval. OK.

Paul sees Gina alone. "You slap me, I punch you," Gina says. Yup. He talks about his waning faith in the therapeutic process and he throws more vile at Gina. She lives in this room, she's never lived life, it's a beautiful room, well-appointed, but what does she know about life? She comes back at him with how he knows nothing about her, how he paints her as cold and remote when really she's overly emotional and impulsive and she loved her husband who cheated on her. She cries. He puts his feet up. She tells him to try it with Laura, that maybe everyone else has it wrong with all their ethics, and she tells him to leave.

Everyone's having marital problems. Every cheats. Everyone is angry with everyone else. Why can't they all just play nice?
I know, I know, it's just a show.


Roy said...

Don't these people ever talk about meds, side effects, etc. Yeah, I know Paul is not a psychiatrist, but pts talk about meds with their therapists. Doesn't he ever tell a pt to go to their psychiatrist, or even PCP, to be evaluated for medication? What if Sophie is on Lamictal or some other med that may be causing this rash? It is scary that he so deftly diagnoses it as a stress-induced condition. Yeah, it's just TV and all, but still.

Anonymous said...

This blog was more enjoyable when it spent time on real discussions rather than a synopsis of a TV show.

Midwife with a Knife said...

Or there's my own rash which I self-diagnosed as stress induced which ended up being erythema nodosm to go with the ibd.

I thought that the diagnosis of stress-related was supposed to be a diagnosis of exclusion. Like a panic attack... if someone complains of chest pain and being unable to breathe, it isn't a panic attack until you're sure it's not a heart attack (or an asthma attack... etc.)

April said...

I actually agree with anonymous this time. I liked the In Treatment segments on here when they actually initiated discussion of why characters might be acting like they do. But now all you're doing is providing a hateful, boring, hacked up synopsis, which is actually doing the show a disservice (see the Jung at Heart blog for interesting takes on the series). Please, either put some effort into making these useful, discussion-provoking posts, or don't post about it at all. I can feel the animosity in your posts and I don't need that kind of peripheral stress. I used to like reading your posts.

Anonymous said...

You're right, Jung at Heart has a more comprehensive and colorful look at what's going on. I've been trying to keep the posts short because of all the venom that has spewed about them.

Hateful? I don't feel hateful, the show sagged for a while but I'm back into it. It brings up interesting things that are fun to think about. I like the switches from who is good and who is bad and how they switch. Paul is not a good therapist, or at least he's not the therapist I would either be or want him to be. Don't get me wrong, I'm far from the perfect therapist, I don't even know how one would get it all right.

3 more episodes, 1 more post, and then it's all over.

April said...

Ok, hateful was the wrong word. Apologies.

Medicoglia, RN said...

I have finally had the opportunity to watch the show...I am now on week four. I have a question...
What the hell is wrong with these people!?! Geez...I'm a mental patient watching the show with a mental patient friend and we are both shocked!!! Are we doing therapy wrong? Are we supposed to be hostile, mean, and insulting to the therapist? The only "normal" ones on the show seem to be Kate, Sophie, and Gina...and I'm seriously having some doubts about Gina too!! Paul is the worst one of the bunch! ***phew*** end rant hehe

April said...

It's not a documentary, it's a drama on TV!

International Psychoanalysis had a symposium on In Treatment, specifically the erotic transference issues, that explains the reasoning/creation of the show. Very enlightening.

Medicoglia, RN said...

Oh that's right, it's drama. I suppose I should point out that my comment was humor...although it is a bit odd humor at times.

NeoNurseChic said...

Last night I watched the Sophie episode where she reads her diary. She is talking about Harry Potter and how she writes to Hermione. That is so funny. Harry Potter is my ultimate escape. I watch the movies like daily. I almost always have one on as I go to bed or if I'm lying down resting in the afternoon! haha I think those books are so creatively written that they provide a wonderful mental escape. Honestly I credit those books for keeping me sane sometimes. They provide me with a whole other world to escape into. I pick up one of them and read parts of them periodically in order to take my mind off everything else.

Just thought that was funny that Sophie kinda used it as a bit of a coping mechanism too. Those books really have been a lifeline for me. I mentioned once to my psychiatrist that I was reading those books, but we never discussed it more than that. I'm sure he saw that I had one with me at almost every appointment when I was reading the series for the first time last summer/fall.

On a personal note, I still haven't had an appointment with my psychiatrist. Seems as if it's almost been a month - but probably hasn't been quite that long. His paperwork still hasn't gone through at the new location. While it's not his fault, this has not been easy!

Anyway...take care!
Carrie :)