Not In Treatment

For the past two months I’ve been watching the HBO series  In Treatment. The show is a compressed view of the therapies of four people along with the therapist’s (Paul, played by Gabriel Byrne) own analysis.  This past week, the  show mercifully ended.  Over the last several weeks, I’ve found myself getting increasingly agitated and annoyed by some of the sessions.  None has  annoyed me more than the segments devoted to Paul’s sessions with  his therapist, Gina (played by Diane Wiest)  This seemed to parallel  feelings of upsettedness  I was experiencing with my own therapist.  I am aware that  life sometimes  imitates art, but I can’t (consciously) see a connection here.   At any rate, the final episodes covering Paul’s sessions with his four patients had one quitting, another moving away, a third one committing himself to the long haul (this can be a very long haul) and the last one saying she’d see him “next week”.  Poor man, he lost half of his practice in one weekend.   Not to be outdone, Paul terminated  his  own therapy with Gina.  They had been going at it for the last several sessions;  Paul often losing his temper,  Gina trying to show that she had one.  Gina was easily my least favorite character.  Her Bhudda-like unflappability, sanctimony and her saccharine smile put me over the edge.  As they say, her range of emotions ran the gamut from A to B.

Gina’s demeanor was in direct contrast with my own therapist’s.  Over the last mumber of months, my sessions with Bruce have  become increasingly hostile and unsatisfying.  Without getting into specifics (after all, I hardly know you) I can say that a place that had once been a safe haven had gradually become a battle ground, a terrain filled with land mines.  To try and avoid the contentiousness, I began to censor what I was saying to him.  This is akin to going to the movies  to see Psycho but  staying by  the concession stand because you’re afraid of the scary parts.  It makes no sense.  I suppose  Bruce was trying some tactics with me which were meant to produce some results other than the ones that surfaced, but they didn’t work.

So, on the day after Gabriel Byrne told Diane Wiest that he wouldn’t be coming back, I told Bruce that I was going to take a break from therapy.  We hashed it out and ultimately he said (as Gina had said to Paul) that his door was open and he would welcome seeing me again.  Although I can be very suggestible, my taking a leave from Bruce was  not something done lightly.  I know the difference between my own life and the lives of fictional characters on television.  (Even if it is commercial-free TV)


10 Responses to “Not In Treatment”

  1. Claire Says:

    actually Neil, I think Gina told Paul he was NOT welcome back. She said: I know I’m supposed to say you’re welcome to come back, but I’m not going to say that. don’t know what it means that you forgot that part.
    your post reminds me of a newspaper column that some writer once did where he chronicled his own therapy. can’t remember what happened but it was a VERY popular column. I think this might be an incentive for you to go back! (okay, okay: I have a vested interest in your unconscious having a place to unwind other than in our relationship.)

  2. Claire Says:

    yes…you, and your only partially analyzed unconscious…scary!

    • ironicman Says:

      i didn’t think this could happen….but this is getting too public for me. in any event, i prefer to focus on the part of my unconscious that has been analyzed. oh…but that’s just me looking at the glass as half full (once again)

  3. online tv Says:

    thanks loved your post

  4. Jane Says:

    wow, this is like sweet couples therapy now. my therapist has a winding down plan that doesn’t seem to wind down. i think business is bad.

    • ironicman Says:

      i imagine it’s an interesting dilemma…..for your therapist, not you. i wonder how she/he feels about it.

  5. bob Says:

    Ooh! Ooh! Can I be your new therapist. I could really use a 20 year gig?

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