In Treatment

Last night, I watched the new HBO series In Treatment.


Let me preface this TV talk with an admission. I watch hardly ANY television. The last series I watched faithfully was Northern Exposure in 1991. Then, later on, I met Swampboy, who was a serious HBO series addict with The Sopranos and Six Feet Under. I went along with a small sliver of his TV watching but lost interest in most of it.

Anyway, In Treatment centers on a therapist, Paul Weston (played with a slight but realistic Irish accent by Irish actor Gabriel Byrne), and 4 of his patients. It debuted last night with Laura, a beautiful female patient who, toward the session’s end, admits to being in love with Paul.

I cringed when the plot line twisted over there. Being in the therapy business, I can tell you that it pretty much sucks when your patient goes over there. I’ve had both male and female patients tell me that they were attracted to me.


I usually take a deep breath and, with compassion, talk about the very specific and very clear boundaries that define a therapeutic relationship. Then I help them process the whole shebang if they can and refocus.

As if that is not complicated enough, there are also times when I’ve treated someone who I am attracted to. I take another deep breath and recognize it. Then I take it to clinical supervision to process it for myself.

So when this came up in the show, I watched how the writers handled it. Was this going to be a bull-shit show that confuses people about therapy? Or will it be something more interesting?

It turned out to be interesting. Have you seen it?


4 Responses to “In Treatment”

  1. 1 andrea January 30, 2008 at 1:00 am

    Unless you’re plugged into some kind of great expensive satellite or something (yeah — I’m such a techno geek) we don’t get HBO in Canada, so have to wait for it to be a season or two old before it comes on TV here, so do keep us up-to-date with your opinion of this one because the three shows you mentioned are the three I’ve really loved in the past 15 years, too. I love Six Feet Under so much that I’m re-watching it with my 15 year old son right now and am thrilled at how he gets the surrealism and nuances and dark humour and great characters. That’s my boy!

  2. 2 susanna January 31, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    I heard about this series on NPR but I haven’t watched it. I thought of you during the NPR interview though, and wondered what you would think of it.

  3. 3 Thea January 31, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    ohhhh this sounbds interesting-I will have to check it out.

    I got a brief “crush” on my therapist that has helped me through the loss of my mom and fertility issues. I never told him though.LOL. That would have been weird.

    Anyway I got over it.

    Nice to hear your perspective on it.

  4. 4 Jessie February 3, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Nope. But you most certainly make me want to!

    I don’t watch much tv either, but I recently got excited about a new series called Dog Town on the Nat’l Geographic channel–focusing on a dog shelter in the-middle-of-nowhere Utah. Unfortunately (if I’m not mistaken) the quit the show after only 3 episodes. Bummer.

    Maybe I’ll start watching In Treatment instead. Thanks for the review!

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