Monday, March 30, 2009

In Treatment Returns, Should We?


Last year, I ran continuous blog coverage of the HBO series In Treatment. 35 episodes of psychotherapy sessions with 4 patients over time. The therapists boundaries got blurred. It started out as fun, by the end it was a bit tedious. Readers were writing in, begging me to stop. Roy said our 'hits' went way up.


Apparently, it's coming back. I'm not sure I can do it again. Maybe. What do you think?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a psychiatrist I, of course, cringe to see another boundary-challenged therapist on TV. However, I enjoy the show immensely, and think that — overall — it portrays mental health in a positive light. I know I should not read the NYT Well Blog (bad for my HTN), but the readers’ comments are, sadly, overwhelmingly anti-doctor. An often-hurled criticism of us is that (believe it or not) we’re too emotionally DISTANT from our patients. I read a recent series of salon.com articles on PTSD in the military which made the same case: that mental health providers were uncaring pill-pushers who didn’t take the time to know their patients. Just gave a cursory read to a book by a returning Vet who made the same charge: his psychiatrist didn’t talk to him (sat facing the computer and typing during interview).

As a military shrink, this infuriates me as I know this is an unfair portrayal. So, I am eager for a portrayal of a therapist (it’d be even better if he was a psychiatrist — we need the good press!) who cares about his patients — deeply cares. Whatever we think of Paul, I would wager that most viewers wish their doctor / therapist / dentist was more like Paul. People want a human connection with their doctors, and “In Treatment” gives people a glimpse of what that might be like.

Anonymous said...

Why do you put up a poll when you know you are going to do what you want to do?

talesofacrazypsychmajor said...

I enjoyed reading the entries while I was still watching the show. But eventually I couldn't deal with how ridiculous it was anymore and stopped.
The entries weren't that interesting if I hadn't seen the episode.

Stella said...

Possible spoilers for Season 2 of In Treatment are in this posting, so beware!!

I did not read your postings from last season because I did not have HBO and did not watch the show. I DO have HBO now and plan to watch starting April 5. And I purchased the DVD of Season One and am watching those now in prep.

I would love to read your observations about Season Two. There are several issues involved this time around that should make for great drama: divorce, illness, depression, the past--the four new patients are going through it all and in possibly more complex/relevant ways than last time. And Paul is in the thick of it, apparently, having experienced all of this stuff himself already, in one way or another.

How do you think other professionals feel about portrayals of their colleagues on TV? How do doctors feel about House, lawyers about Law and Order, etc. etc.? No one is ever satisfied, but the shows can lead to great conversations and analyses.

So I say: Go For It! Thanks. Stella

The Silent Voices in my Mind said...

I watched In Treatment last season, even when it got unrealistic, and enjoyed it. I also read your posts on it. It was obvious when you were enjoying the show and when you were still posting about it because you said you would. I loved hearing your views on the episodes, but it was clear when you weren't enjoying it and those weren't as interesting to read or as fun.

I didn't answer the poll because it didn't have my choice:

Don't worry about hit counts. If you WANT to write about the show, do it. If you don't, PLEASE don't. If you think you want to try but decide the series isn't worth the time to post about it, be willing to stop.

Post about it because you want to, not because you want higher hits or because you said you would, or because others think you "should". It shows in your writing when you aren't writing because you want to. If you don't want to, don't post.

Midwife with a Knife said...

I dunno, I stopped watching the show last season when it crossed the line from drama to melodrama. I don't mind if you do the recaps, but I probably won't read them.

Joy said...

I enjoy your comments much more than the actual show summaries. I'd love it if you would write a commentary on each show from your perspective as a psychiatrist. I don't think there's any need to actually recap the shows though -- it seems to me that that part is just filler to get to your actual comments!

Anonymous said...

I am sentimental about it because it was In Treatment that brought me to this site. I love your comments, but I agree a synposis isn't necessary.

phd in yogurtry said...

Haven't seen it. Have heard such mixed opinions. I do know this, I get tired of virtually every movie account of a psychologist or psychiatrist with unethical actions. Especially affairs of one sort or another. No, you cannot end the therapeutic relationship on Tuesday and start a sexual relationship on Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dina, I am a journalism student working on a story about the increasing number of psychiatrists and psychologists that don't accept insurance and came across your post "Why Shrinks Don't Take your Insurance." I was wondering if I could use the info you provided in my story and whether you would be available for an interview. The story is for CUNY's Graduate School of Journalism. I can be contacted at sophie.cocke@journalism.cuny.edu

Best, Sophie

Roy said...

Umm, okay, I was gonna say don't do it. But when I read Silent Voice's comment, I realized that what SV said is right on target. Do what she said:
"Don't worry about hit counts. If you WANT to write about the show, do it. If you don't, PLEASE don't. If you think you want to try but decide the series isn't worth the time to post about it, be willing to stop."

Anonymous said...

I found you during "In Treatment" coverage last year but I think that was just a coincidence. I wasn't searching for that and had never heard of it. I was bored with the coverage long before it ended and was very glad to see it go. I much prefer regular posts. Still, I read them all last year anyway.

Mindful said...

I disagree with talesofacrazypsychmajor. Living in the land of Oz, I am yet to see season 1 but still enjoyed reading your posts anyway. Appreciate that posting after each episode might be tiresome. What about a weekly round up, and instead of plot recaps (he said this, she did that), how about focussing more on commentary and dissecting the issues?

Anonymous said...

I also found Shrink Rap when I was watching the show last year because I wanted to see what real people thought about it. I have to decide if I'm going to watch it again though. I found it kind of stressful to watch.

Dinah said...

Silent Voices in My Mind:

Will you be my therapist???



To all ---Thanks! Glad to have those who found us via In Treatment here.

So I think I'll try it in a more organic, less committed way.

Anonymous said...

Please! I loved your posts! My family and I would watch an episode and then wonder what Dinah would say. Sometimes we guessed, sometimes you surprised us.

Anonymous said...

Can I suggest you guys who enjoy following "In Treatment" visit "Jung at Heart" The site is great and Cheryl is very balanced in her views of the show. I really liked her summing up and final character analysis. Yes it's just a show.. it aint real...

Some of my medical collegues like scrubs..... what more can I say

Dinah may I suggest condensed highlights a "vignette" to satisfy those total saddos amongst us (and yes Im a psychiatrist). We all need some down time to recharge our batteries.

Bring it on