In Treatment gets our treatment

December 2nd, 2010 London Psychotherapy Network Blog.

Evolving out of the award-winning Israeli TV series Be Tipul, In Treatment is an American HBO drama series produced by Rodrigo Garcia about a psychotherapist, Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne) and his weekly sessions with clients. If you have not yet come across In Treatment prepare to be delighted, and for those of you who caught series 1, series 2, which unlike its predecessor benefits from psychiatric (US terminology) consultancy, promises to be even better.

Thanks to superb acting and high quality, well-informed scriptwriting, In Treatment succeeds in accomplishing the near-impossible feat of transferring the process of psychotherapy from consulting room to screen with admirable authenticity and in so doing is a worthy ambassador of our profession.

The DVD boxed-set of Series 1 of In Treatment can be bought from Amazon. Series 2 will be available in February 2011.

Jac Palmer adds:

After being addicted to series 1 I checked out series 2 on You Tube and was delighted to see that not only is there another series of Hollywood stars, but we now have (on You Tube) a wonderful commentary from the San Francisco Psychotherapy Research Group, as they deconstruct Paul’s interventions.

This time Paul Weston is back in therapy with his supervisor, the wonderful Dianne Wiest, after being sued for malpractice over the death of a client (the pilot Alex in series 1). He has moved to Brooklyn, got divorced, and has even had a legal session over the law suit with an old client of his, April, (Hope Davis) who is of course very interested in Paul, shades of Laura?

So, we get the CEO breaking down his wall of success in panic attacks, and other colourful characters, Bliss, Oliver, Luke, April, Walter, and the treat is we get to see snatches of episodes, frozen at dramatic moments, as clients collapse, break down, act out, with a voice-over explaining Paul’s apparent mistakes: “Paul doesn’t get any smarter in week 7, or “Paul had no business calling April’s mother”. As well as critiquing Paul’s interventions, the analyst voice-over explains in titles and bullet points concepts such as repression, persona, and pathogenic beliefs. What a great aid for psychotherapy trainings. We are also told that April should ‘walk, not run away’ calling Paul a ‘one trick pony’.

Other episodes from series 1, such as “Laura’s Cheap Chick Tricks”, and “Testing in Therapy”, get the same analysis – showing us what Paul missed, and check out the ‘Campaign of Seduction’ by Laura, as she smudges her mascara, creates ladders in her panty hose….and pretends to vomit with the toilet seat UP.

I’m thinking of running an In Treatment film group where therapists can add their voices to the San Fran Institute and declare judgement on Paul’s innocence, intelligence, good practice, malpractice and general good looks…..hell all you need to do is add some titles, upload a section and tell us what you think… I’m obviously already a fan.