Wednesday, March 12, 2008

HBO In Treatment....Parents & Children...Week 7 begins



No Laura this week. Her session is filled with Paul's attempts to talk to his teenage kids about....their romantic lives, his marriage. It's like he's never spoken to these people before. His teeny bopper daughter asks, "Are you worried that I'm sleeping with him?" Right, this is what Dads and their teen girls call casual conversation. And then Rosie pops on him that she knows her mom's been to Italy with another man. "Fix it" she cries.

Son Ian drops by in search of his pillow. He's slept with 5 girls. Cool with Dad. And so Paul tells him that he's been thinking of another woman, but he hasn't slept with her and he lies and says she's not a patient. Ian understands, Mom's a martyr, and after 23 years Dad/Paul must need a change. Not a prob for Ian. Oh, but Paul gets angry that Ian is critical of Kate-- she's cared for Ian, put her career on hold to raise him for 15 years, taken him to baseball and guitar, Ian should appreciate this, and he tells Ian how he empathizes with his distress over his parent's marital problems. Paul, I seem to remember, is the child of a divorce after his own doctor dad cheated on his mom with a patient and his mother died when he was 15; he lives feeling he didn't do enough for her. So, Ian doesn't feel his father's empathy, he feels patronized. It's never quite clear in these exchanges who's talking about who.

Next day, enter patient Alex, back to his fighter pilot life now. He talks about his father and his son and power and humiliation. He can out do all the other fighter pilots but he can't beat his son at chess and his own father calls him pathetic, leaving him as the outsider at his son's birthday party.

Sophie is next. She talks about her telepathic bond with her absent father who loves her and is always there for her, her hatred of her mother, the one who remains with her through thick and thin. Funny, she has this dream that she's in a hotel room chatting with Paul, except that he's not her shrink, he's a serial killer waiting to kill her father. And Dad, of course, was unfaithful to her mom, which Sophie discovered when she found him in bed with one of his many nude photography models. We're back to the issue of boundaries, and of course we hear Paul tell teen patient Sophie of his dreams of being stuck in a chair and unable to help his own mother.

So everyone's lives-- doctor and patients-- play out in this ongoing cycle of abandonment, infidelity, failed expectations.

Will they all live happily ever after?

7 comments:

Therapy Patient said...

One of the labels for this article is "pregnant pigs"?? funny!!

Perhaps 4H members raising pigs will find their way to your website and scratch their heads trying to figure that one out!

mindful said...

Hmmm, first it was glow in the dark cats in an earlier label, now it’s pregnant pigs. I wonder what it all means, other than perhaps Dinah is trying to liven up her posts. For what it’s worth, I googled both phrases and came across an article about scientists who bred pigs that glowed in the dark and which later became pregnant. So there you go, a potential new label for Dinah’s next post: glow in the dark pigs or perhaps the title of the article, you light up my pig.

chessdad64 said...

Well, I’m glad to see someone out there, aside from myself, still watching HBO’s In Treatment.
While I am not a psychiatrist, I have played one from time to time in the blogosphere. So might Alex playing chess with his son be about? And then his own dad steps in....some food for thought from one of my own posts some time ago……

CD64

http://chessdad64.journalspace.com/?entryid=196


As Fathers Day weekend is upon us, I thought it would be a good time to reflect upon one of the central myths that explains the origin the game of chess itself. Let’s call this one the patricide or “father murder” legend -- a warm and fuzzy tale that comes to us from 13th century Europe. It goes something like this: Evil Merodach, a monstrous and sadistic medieval prince murders dear old dad, chops him up into 300 pieces, and then feeds the remains to 300 vultures. Then a wise man from the east comes along and invents the game of chess to cure Evil of his madness.

In this myth, chess is actually a form of therapy, where the cure is a disguised version of the crime itself. The murderer seeks “checkmate” (death of the king or father”) but at the same time he defends his own king from the very same fate, and in the process salves his own conscience. In this view, and for all you Freudians out there, chess allows the player to be both monstrous and virtuous—planning to knock off dad, while at the same time trying to prevent it….a recreation of the Oedipal fantasy, but an attempt

chessdad64 said...

Well, I’m glad to see someone out there, aside from myself, still watching HBO’s In Treatment.
While I am not a psychiatrist, I have played one from time to time in the blogosphere. So might Alex playing chess with his son be about? And then his own dad steps in....some food for thought from one of my own posts some time ago……

CD64

http://chessdad64.journalspace.com/?entryid=196


As Fathers Day weekend is upon us, I thought it would be a good time to reflect upon one of the central myths that explains the origin the game of chess itself. Let’s call this one the patricide or “father murder” legend -- a warm and fuzzy tale that comes to us from 13th century Europe. It goes something like this: Evil Merodach, a monstrous and sadistic medieval prince murders dear old dad, chops him up into 300 pieces, and then feeds the remains to 300 vultures. Then a wise man from the east comes along and invents the game of chess to cure Evil of his madness.

In this myth, chess is actually a form of therapy, where the cure is a disguised version of the crime itself. The murderer seeks “checkmate” (death of the king or father”) but at the same time he defends his own king from the very same fate, and in the process salves his own conscience. In this view, and for all you Freudians out there, chess allows the player to be both monstrous and virtuous—planning to knock off dad, while at the same time trying to prevent it….a recreation of the Oedipal fantasy, but an attempt to thwart it all the same.

(please delete prior post that got truncated)

NeoNurseChic said...

I must say that I've drifted away from the show this week - have had a lot of personal things going on the last couple of weeks. The one thing I was going to say is that I do enjoy your blogging of the show, and I think it's great that you just do it in two installments now. But what I do miss, even though I enjoy those posts, are other posts by you on other topics - to balance out the In Treatment saga. I miss your psychotherapy posts and other things that you write about!

I'm in a period of several weeks with no psychiatrist right now, which has been difficult. I saw him a couple of weeks ago for his last day at the hospital. Then he's started at a new clinic, but apparently the papers haven't gone through yet for him to see patients. I am leaving tomorrow for Florida (after work, my parents and I are driving down over 2 days), and we have tentatively set something up for after I get back later this month. Hopefully he'll be able to see patients by then because, as I said, it has been difficult not having the appointments - having gone from twice a week to none. In the meantime, I have suffered a very personal loss and had to go to a funeral for this the other day. He actually called me that afternoon to say that his papers hadn't gone through yet, and to touch base - but when I told him about the loss and that I'd just been to a funeral, he didn't say anything at all! Very strange... It will feel very good just to go back to our regular appointments. Plus I have some anxiety about starting at a new place until the routine gets settled and in place, so it'll be good to move past that as well. He did say on the phone that he had hoped our transition between locations would have been easier and with much less time between appointments. In the past, I haven't done so well with transitioning between locations, and it makes me feel frustrated with myself that I am so dependent on him.

I know that's off topic, but I just felt the need to share that life without psychiatrists for those of us who regularly rely on them can be quite difficult!

Take care,
Carrie :)

Anonymous said...

From Learning Curve: I used the character of Sophie in one session of my own therapy, speaking as if I were her, only about my own issues that were too difficult to tell in my own "Voice." I think it helped me to "play" in this way, for at some point I realized it was not Sophie and Paul conversing, but me talking, and my therapist responding -- both of us listening, trying to hear and be heard. As it was a most challenging session, it also was forward moving. I truly felt I was, well...In Treatment.

Paul Levinson said...

Happy to find another In Treatment review site ... I review every week's episodes at InfiniteRegress.tv - here's link to my most recent, Alex in the Sky with Diamonds ...

I'm not a shrink - but a professor of communications and media studies ...