The HBO show In Treatment

I recommend you watch this show, now in its second season on HBO. I think it is on Sunday and Monday evening. The viewer has the opportunity to sit in on actual therapy sessions. It is a series that was originally adapted from a successful Israeli television show. It is extremely well written. Yet, I find it illustrates the best and worst of therapy. The therapist played by the actor Gabriel Byrne is caring, likable, intelligent, empathic, and reaches out to his patients (or clients, as they are referred to in coaching). Each weekly episode covers a different patient’s session; each following week depicts additional sessions with that patient. The therapist often makes astute observations and attempts to make clever interpretations that are often rejected by the patient. The patients often get mad at him because they don’t take responsibility for their progress and because they are unclear on their own vision of where they are going. It is talk therapy at its finest–with no end in sight–but it is fun to be a fly on the wall. Judgments and easy explanations come at the patients who dodge and deny and just steam up the office with their hard-won denial and lack of direction from the therapy. At times, though, the therapist does help to clarify next step goals, so occasionally we witness that a therapist can be a good coach as well.

JS

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