In Treatment -- Jake & Amy, week 8

Well, you know how I feel about this couple. Let's see where they take us today.

Kate is standing by the office window when Paul enters after telling Max to take care of something. He and Max have been to Max's game. Kate asks Paul to close the door so she can talk with him. She tells him that she called and left a message for Gina that she won't be returning to therapy. That she does not want to go over that ground again, that she needs to figure this out on her own. She tells him that she is really happy he is seeing Gina and that she hopes she can help him.

Jake is there. Paul asks if Amy is coming and he says he doesn't think so. Jake says it has been a weird week, quiet and awkward. That Lenny seems relaxed and at ease, which he thinks is odd. Paul says kids do that when they sense tension, try to get the parents to feel better. Jake says it isn't fair.

Jake says Amy has been trying to make it up to him about Ben, doing housework, trying to kiss him, but he can't do it, can't get past it. Paul says it can be hard to relate to someone after an affair. Jake says he stood and watched her sleep one night, that she looked beautiful. And how easy it would have been to lie down next to her and put his arms around her but he couldn't. So he jumped into his car and drove away and ended up at his parents house, four hours away. It was too early to ring the bell when he got there so he slept in the car. Jake says his mother comes to see Lenny but his father is more limited in his interactions with Lenny. A knock on the window of his car wake him up and it was a cop who was someone he went to school with, someone who fulfilled his childhood dream by becoming a cop.

Jake characterizes his father as a know-it-all, and says the thing is he does know it all. His parents are professors, intellectuals whereas Jake doesn't read, isn't one of them. He does do crossword puzzles though. Paul asks what he did as a kid when everyone else was reading. He says he played music and smoked pot, and by himself. He says he talked to himself a lot. He says he loves talking with Lenny, about sports mostly. He says he never tires of hearing his son talk. Paul asks if he had that kind of relationship with his father and he says no, because his father always corrected him and his mother always deferred to his father. He says at least they didn't beat him. Pal asks when he began to write. He says no, his brother is the writer. Paul asks if he does not consider writing songs writing.

Paul says he thinks Jake likes to play down his knowledge. Asks if his family is interested in what he does. And he says because he didn't become a professor they lost interest. He says his mother would try to encourage him but his father disapproved. That his mother was intimidated by his father. At least , he says, he did not marry a woman like his mother.

They approve of Amy because she is very successful. Jake thinks Amy liked that he used to live in more reduced circumstances. Jake says he doesn't have that many people to talk with now. He is afraid of losing Lenny and he sees Amy as unstable, that this will be her second divorce and what will she do to find another man. The lights go out. Paul gets up and sees the power is off on the whole street. Paul asks if he wants to end or continue. Jake says he can see fine. We can hear street noise. 

Jake says that for the first time it really feels like they are splitting up, that it feels real. Paul asks why he thinks it feels real now. Jake asks if Paul has ever felt that loss and Paul says there is a huge sadness there when you become aware of what is lost. Jake says he told his father who was not surprised. Paul asks why he went home and challenges Jake's assertion that it was an accident. Jake says he wanted to talk with his mom. Paul suggests a link between Amy and his father, that he gets something similar from both of them, criticism. Jake looks thoughtful and says he was going back to the source. Paul says that the more he works in therapy the more he can see these things. Jake asks why he would want more therapy. He says he wants to do well with his son, that he needs help from his parents, from Paul so he doesn't mess up.  He says he feels scared. Paul says he wishes he could give him a road map but it isn't like that. But that wanting to do better is the beginning. 

The session ends when Jake says if it were a movie, the lights would come back on.

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Jake became more three dimensional for me today, perhaps because he was not reacting to Amy but talking for himself. As the more resistant to therapy part of the couple, in turn Jake has now become the one more invested in it. He seems to have come to feel some trust for Paul and to see talking with him as a way to help him be who and what he wants to be. Jake is a man who chose the anything-but-my-father path, needing to choose a direction and way of life that would define him as not-his-dad because he could never measure up to him, or felt he couldn't. The one thing he saw himself as able to do better than his father was being a father and he takes pride in his relationship with his son, which is very unlike what he had when he was a boy. The hazard of making this kind of identification though is a problem with how to measure oneself and alienation from the yardstick he might normally use. Who can he talk with about being a father, about being a man given his relationship with his father? So Paul  is filling some of that role for him, able to mirror him and allow him to see himself better than he can on his own. For me, Jake makes the case for why I would rather see couples separately than together, at least on a regular basis.

There is in Paul a bit of a feeling of melancholy during this session, an overflow from his conversation with his wife ad the sense he probably has that they may well not make it. And it is there for him as well as we know he has not been close to Max, his youngest child, certainly not like Jake is with Lenny. He does a good job of keeping this contained in himself, not disclosing more than is useful and not allowing his feelings to color his sense of possibility for Jake. 

In the lights going out we have a nice example of synchronicity. Jung defines synchronicity as the meaningful occurrence of unrelated events. It no doubt feels that some master electrician threw the switch at the just right time to change the mood of the room to match Jake's mood. And at the end, when Jake says in a movie, the lights would come back then, and they don't, we can feel the heaviness of the mood linger, despite Jake's crack. 

Will we see Amy again?

© Cheryl Fuller, 2018. All  rights reserved.