Thursday, March 13, 2008

Psychoanalysis in HBO Series "In Treatment"

Home Box Office has been running an interesting series called In Treatment

In my opinion, it's a wonderful snapshot of modern psychoanalysis.

Irish actor, Gabriel Byrne , plays psychoanalyst Dr. Paul Weston. The series revolves around the sessions of five of his patients and his personal life. Each patient is seen a different day of the week - and the show is cleverly aired on the "day" of their sessions.

As a viewer, you get to experience the nuances of modern psychoanalysis. The unconscious, transference, counter-transference and interpretations, just to name a few. I hope this series opens the door to many who are curious about this form of psychotherapy. It's a really well-done gem.


The Lone Beader said...

How exciting that you ran into Gabriel Byrne on the street! :)

Fallen Angels said...

I've been following two blogs that have been following the by a psychiatrist and the other by a psychologist (Jungian). It's really interesting to me to see the disparity in their opinions! The psychiatrist hates the show, thinks its terrible therapy etc. The psychologist loves the show... although she does mention some missed opportunities.

Deb said...

Dear Lone,

He and I bumped into each other. He turning one side of a corner and me the other. He was not as tall as I expected, but his blue eyes and brogue saying "Are ye okay?" clued me into who he was.

Dear Fallen,
I do think that there are missed opportunities in the show... things I would explore etc, but overall it's a great window into what goes on. The Doc's personal story line is quite dramatic as is one of his cases - but it humanizes a therapist in a way that is good for discussion.


Raine said...

I've been following it. There was a week where I was shocked and horrified at what was going on, therapist attacking his patient, not calling child protective services, when relating events to Gine they would be totally skewed from what actually had been said etc... but as it goes on........I think its a good lesson in "wait and see". It does humanize all involved and it shows that it is all a "process". I'm a fan.


It's really neat to see someone whose passion is different from my own to express the desire to have talked shop (or in my case sipped coffee) with someone they view as an icon.

I sometimes say insane things on my page ... not everyone gets the humor ... or, maybe it just isn't funny! That's always a distinct possibility. :P

You and Gabriel Byrne might have a field day with me!

Palmtreechick said...

I like the show. I think Laura and Sophie are my favorites. Unfortunately I don't get HBO in my apt, but when I go home I watch it on demand.

J.D. said...

I haven't watched the show YET. :)
I did read a fascinating article very recently, and for the life of me I cannot remember WHERE I read it...about how the show is based on an Israel TV show called Be’ Tipul (In Therapy).

I'm hopeless today, aren't I? Oh dear.

Meanwhile, I've decided to start a new blog:
This is an addition, not a retirement of Intermission!
Cheers, my friend,

J.D. said...

Ah, here it is! Article was in NY Times Magazine last Sunday.

P.S. Loved the video with the toddler reading, as well as the cartoon w/the cat and a bat.


Tai said...

Gabriel Byrne...I love him. And that sounds like such an interesting show, makes me wish I had cable!

Merelyme said...

i definitely want to see this show but i don't have cable! do you think i can rent it from netflix?

PsychPerson said...

I was going to ask on my blog if anyone was watching this show! I really like it. It's been very interesting to see all the interaction with the various types of patients and with the doc and his own therapist.

I can't stand the pilot (can't remember his name right now!). My favorite patient is Sophie. I didn't like Laura so much at first, but she's grown on me.

It's been so fun to read all the analysis of this show. Some professionals really like it and others can't stand it, but I think it's pretty darn good and I hope it continues.

In the same vein, have you seen any of Celebrity Detox on VH1? It just ended last week and they had a reunion show last night. Thankfully, a few of the participants have remained clean and sober but, unfortunately, not all of them have been successful in their journey.

OHN said...

Boo hoo! We don't get HBO. It sounds like the kind of show I would really enjoy. My college psych classes were the only classes I ever aced :)

Scott said...

Are you from New York? Interesting. I don't know ANYTHING about psychoanalysis, though I imagine I might end up referring some of my patients who need mental help to a therapist.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

The show looks interesting. I will watch it. God bless.

Tiptoe said...

I like this show. I've only watched a few episodes on youtube, but I find it is really realistic. Another podcast I listened by a psychologist was saying how he really enjoyed the show. Fallen angels: was it shrinkrap? I know he is Jungian, so just wondered.

Anyway, I'm hoping HBO will put it out on DVD.

Deb said...

Dear Raine,
There are certainly ways in which the analyst behaves that make me say,"Wonderful" - and other times I cringe and say "WTF". But for the most part, it offers a glimpse into psychotherapy that is refreshing and mostly realistic.

Dear Aikaterine,
I've seen Byrne in a number of roles, all of which I enjoyed. And he has been outspoken about his being a survivor of childhood physical and sexual abuse. So I do admire him. And now that he plays a psychoanalyst is a home run for me ;)

Dear Palmtree,
I especially enjoy Paul's sessions with Sophie.

Dear JD,
Read the Times article. The show is creating a buzz in the shrink field! Will come by and visit your new blog ASAP.

Dear Tai,
Like most cable shows, it should make its way to regular tv or DVD soon.

Dear Merelyme,
Hmmm...doubt it. BUT there might be a free version on the HBO website. Sometimes they run an episode there. Or Youtube might be a place to see it.

Dear Donna,
I think Blair Underwood is so fantastic in that role, but it is a very hard session to endure as a viewer. Sophie sessions and the couple sessions with Paul and his wife are my favs.

Dear OHN,
I wish you did. I bet you'd like the show.

Dear Scott,
Yup in The Big Apple. Therapy is a good resource for most. But not for all.

Dear Mel,
It is interesting to say the least.

Dear Tiptoe,
Psychoanalysis is a very powerful and deep therapy. Not everyone likes it - or "believes" in it. But if you believe in the power and meaning of this psychotherapy, watching this show will be very rewarding. I'm sure it will get to DVD. Would be very useful to show my graduate students how psychoanalysis works.


kath said...

Hi Deb!

LOVED the video of the baby reader....

smart little cookie that one!

I have never heard of this show though... :(
I have lately gotten out of the habit of tv except for some old faves...

how are you :)

I look forward to seeing another vid of you on here!

take care

Heidi said...

Canadians are HBO'less as Usual..ugh.

Gabriel Byrne!!!!! Very cool :)

therapydoc said...

Wait. Isn't he an actor? said...

Descarga libros gratis en la Web Oficial de Psikolibro

Ademas hay cientos de libros gratis de psicologia y ciencias sociales.
Para acceder a ellos, solo debes ingresar a los indices tematicos o
buscar en los diferentes temas relacionados.


C. G. Jung y Otros - Encuentro con la Sombra
Umberto Eco - Como Se Hace Una Tesis
Zbigniew Brzezinski - La Era Tecnotronica
Hans Georg Gadamer - Verdad y Metodo II
Theodor Adorno y Max Horkheimer - Lecciones de Sociologia


jumpinginpuddles said...

now we are going to follow this one didnt even know it existed how strange

Health Psych said...

We'll probably get it in about three years time.

assisted conception in greece said...

Good series, I liked it. It will serve better for many peoples.

Ms.L said...

Oohh what a neat idea for a show!
I'd watch that,if I had HBO. May be I could buy the dvd version down the line:)

Ian Lidster said...

I must check this out. Thank you, Deb.

Deb said...

Dear KAth,
I am good. Hope you are too.

Dear Heidi,
I put a link up to watch it free from HBO.

Dear TherapyDoc,
Yes he;s an actor. I would've loved to have talked to him about what it felt like to prtray an analyst.

Dear Psikolibro,
Gracias for the references.

Dear JIP,
A link at the bottom of the post gives you free access to the HBO series online.

Dear HP,
If you are inlcined to watch it online, HBO has links to the show.

Dear Assisted,
I think it is a great show. Intersting, compelling and realistic.

Dear MS. L,
Check this link for free full episode viewing:

Der Ian,
I bet you would like it. YOu've had experience in analysis, so I'd be curious to know what you thought of it. And there is a character in the show named, Ian. Free episodes online at:


about jenji said...

I've actually watched this show since the pilot and I must say that it has become generally tiresome as of late.

I can't quite put my finger onto why yet, but I'm sure it'll come to me at the most inappropriate moment.

I wouldn't mind running into Gabriel Byrne though...Esta muy guapo, no?

be well,

Tha BossMack TopSoil said...

I'm going to have to check this out ;-)

heiresschild said...

what a great cast also!

United We Lay said...

I've really enjoyed this series. I find it an intersisting study in character analysis.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

I must admit that I don't like the show but I sure do like Gabriel Byrne.


Deb said...

Dear Abour Jenji,
"To each his or her own," I always say. I find the deepening of the show fantastic. But then again, this is how therapy unfolds- - It's what I do for a living! And ,si, el hombre es muy guapo ;)

Dear Bossmack,
I think it's a great thirty minute peek into psychotherapy. Not a lot of action, but tons of talking.

Dear Heiress,
Several of the actors are from other countries. Byrne is from Ireland, Melissa George, who plays Laura, is from Australia and Embeth, the actress who plays Amy, is British. Everyone else is American, I believe.

Dear United,
I am finding either viewers love it or find it boring. A hit or miss experience. I enjoy the character study so much as well.

Dear Bipolar,
I can understand your liking of Gabriel Byrne. An actor who can be both fragile and fierce - and everything in between.


Anonymous said...

student said
I have found the series to be outstanding. The problems, the therapeutic relationship and the boundaries followed can really take therapy out of the past and available to people who have no idea what the process is about. I am sorry that it is ending. Do they have any plans to have another series.. There certainly a lot of patients. March 19 2008 10:20 pm

Deb said...

Dear Anon,
I hope the series will continue - but I haven't read anything about it though. I agree wholeheartedly with you that it allows people to see what therapy really is. How it works. What the skill and art of it is like. It's a gem.

Thanks for stopping by to visit.


Barbara K. said...

I think the series should be used by professional psychology training programs -- not because he's a perfect therapist, but because he's not.

I think this show is profound.

dawn said...

thank you so much for letting us know that full episodes are available on the HBO website. Otherwise, I'd never be able to watch it as HBO is not easy to obtain up here if you don't have satellite. I saw previews for this show on US channels and found the content to be very intriguing.

Vesper de Vil said...

awesome! i'm going to check it out!

Anamnesis said...

Hello, I'm a french student in clinical psychology and psychoanalysis, and I love your blog! I also wanted to ask you if you knew any novels (in english, because I'm trying to practice my english) which involves a shrink like in the "In treatment" show; with sessions, dialogs with patients, etc. Does anything exist in litterature in that area? Thanks in advance, and again for your blog...

Dreaming again said...

When you originally posted this, I'd not decided to go to school yet. hadn't seen it so I didn't comment.

I'm watching it for the first time (DVD through netflix, on the 2nd episode of the first season)

facinating .... very facinating