Wednesday, April 29, 2009


1. I finally got around to seeing a few episodes of HBO's series In Treatment. I'll leave the expert analysis to folks at Shrink Rap and Jung at Heart; but what a lugubrious guy this therapist is (and I think I know whereof I speak)! The show contains a lot that is of serious interest, but the outlandishly ludicrous aspect of it is that nearly all of the guy's patients storm out at the end of the session (if not before), denouncing the process and/or his alleged ineptitude.

If that happens to a therapist on a frequent basis, it's a good sign that he or she has a really tough population, ought to consider career change, or is in fact a fictional character. In fact, I can envision a Kafkaesque cross between The Truman Show and In Treatment in which a therapist gradually comes to realize that he is actually starring in a television series. He ascends through a series of clinical supervisors in a vain attempt to break out of the fictional frame. Therapy as Plato's cave, on two levels. Probably wouldn't appeal to a mass audience.

2. I saw my first case of self-diagnosed swine flu yesterday. I'm sure that's happening millions of times over in doctor's offices all over the world, but at least this guy had the excuse of having schizophrenia.

3. I don't do prison work per se, but a number of folks follow up at the clinic after "discharge" from incarceration. One irony is that they often got more expensive meds in prison than they can afford after release. Also, I can imagine that even in a booming economy it's awfully tough for a felon to get a job; in the current climate it seems to be essentially impossible. That's the sort of thing that might drive a person to...crime.

4. For the matter how long you do this, you'll still encounter something new every now and then. A guy with (subjectively) terrible anxiety comes in and asks to stop his Klonopin in favor of a drug he had in the hospital that had miraculous effects on his nerves. It was Vistaril. My pleasure, at least until he comes back in, having realized he confused it with something else. It's nice to be able to give someone what they want for a change.


Anonymous said...

I just started watching 'In Treatment' too and made that very statement to my wife on Sunday, about how all of his patients storm out of his office. I like the show, but I'm starting to see the repetition as lazy writing. I think the concept has a lot to offer, and Byrne (at least in my layman's opinion) pulls off the therapist role well - but it is lacking some creative flare in the plotlines.

Anonymous said...

'Outlandishly ludicrous' can be fun, can't it? I actually ordered 'In Treatment' yesterday (coincidently enough), so I'm not in a position to comment..yet. But theoretically speaking, there wouldnt be a show if the scenarios played out perfectly without regard to dramatic effect and the obligatory glitching of reality.

Leon's current assignment said...

Warning: politically incorrect commentary ahead

(smiling) Oh my god, I love your Kafkaesque idea. Lack of mass audience appeal indeed. I'm of the mind a reality show called "Borderline House" or "Personality Disorder House" would be wildly appealing to the gladiator-mentality masses. Imagine the hijinx between diagnosed Axis II occupants forced to occupy the same space 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Brilliant!

(laughing) And loved the Vistaril tale. Thanks for the humor on a Friday morning.