Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In Treatment Season 2: Final sessions with Mia, Oliver, and April

Mia announces she's ending therapy; it's making her worse. Her last therapy session inspired her to question her father about the past and her Dad "lost it" on her. Her father blamed her for everything. "I never would have confronted him if I hadn't been talking to you...I lost my father thanks to you." Mia then says to Paul "Put that in your therapy notes: Successfully shattered patient's romanticized vision of her narcissistic father." Paul rephrases it a bit differently. They decide to work on closure. Mia tells Paul she needs a therapist to deal with therapy. "What would you like to talk about?" Mia talks about wanting to train a parrot to imitate Paul (--Is this a compliment?...have I ever mentioned that ClinkShrink has a parrot thing? Please do send her a parrot joke!). Mia wants to be Paul's friend, she knows it's against the rules...then she mentions his relationship with Laura. Paul zings her a few more times about her dysfunctional life long patterns. She blames him for what he didn't say when she was in treatment with him 20 years ago. "Closure is you telling me it's all my fault." Mia zings him, "You like to have a woman on the couch who thinks she's in love with you." Paul fixes his poker face as Mia talks about where they should have sex in rather crude terms. They talk about what would happen if they broke all the rules, "Would you finally feel special enough or would you just blame me for crossing the line?" When Paul starts talking about how Mia's career as a malpractice attorney is really about trying to defend her father, I've had enough. Paul's ability to cut to the chase, to tear people's defenses down--it's more about theatre then a realistic view of therapy-- he's ruthless in his disregard for Mia's need to keep some defense mechanisms, to not be totally raw. They say goodbye and the music fades. "So, I guess I'll see you next week," she says and he responds, "I'll be here."
April's cancer is responding to chemo. She talks about how the cancer has changed her, how the old April is gone. April wants to end therapy and Paul pushes her, he wants her to continue, he tells her he wants to bring her family in. She curses him out, then apologizes and he says she doesn't need to. I'm so happy my patients don't curse me out. April talks about life, her family, her mom, the girl next to her in chemo who died. Paul promises April a future, "You will know such joy." She cries, "I think I'm going to be lonely my whole life." They talk about love as something exhausting. April tells Paul that Sophie-from-Season-1 wrote on his webpage and she says Paul saved her life, just as he saved April's. "Let me thank you and then let me leave." "Are you sure?" He asks. Why, I'm wondering, it is an all or nothing thing, this therapy with Paul. She can't say goodbye and he can't say "Call if you need me." She tells Paul he saved her life so he can't be her therapist. "People do survive without therapy," April tells Paul. Paul gives April a hat that was his father's one that will be less itchy...an aviator thing. It's his nicest moment in a while and April kisses him goodbye.
Bess is getting ready to move with Oliver. Paul still thinks she shouldn't move Oliver. They talk about leaving, about how Paul is Oliver's best friend. Luke comes in. The couple are nice to each other for once, it's a pretty warm session for two people who are splitting up. Bess leaves. Paul and Luke talk, Paul desperately doesn't want this move to happen, and Luke says he's already lost Oliver. Paul encourages Luke not to give up. Paul talks to Oliver--he's more hopeful and they talk about how Paul has maintained a relationship with his own son from a distance. They role play a phone call to each other and then they end. This parent-child is difficult.


Unknown said...

I hate it when therapists try to talk patients out of ending therapy. These are grown-ups for goodness sake and breaking up is hard to do. I wish people the best, tell them I am glad to forward their records along if they want, and to feel free to call back.

ClinkShrink said...

OK, ya got me with the parrot pic. I actually read through the first paragraph of the In Treatment post.

Anonymous said...

Paul should just get it on with all of his female patients as part of his "therapy." It would save a lot of time!