In treatment, week 9

In Treatment -- Paul, week 9

I suspect we all expect this to be where the shit hits the fan for Paul.

Paul looks at his phone and then calls Laura -- her machine answers. He hangs up and calls again and this time leaves a message, hoping she is there and not picking up. Then we see that she is there and listening. She picks up the phone.

Paul asks if she is okay. He says he would like to see her, that they should talk. Laura agrees. She tells him to come to her house.

Kate is in their bedroom. It looks like she fell asleep reading on the bed. She wakes up to discover Paul in the doorway watching her. He tells Kate he is going to see Laura. Kate says nothing.

Laura answers the door and says it is strange answering the door for him. He says she sounds sick; she says it's just a cold. Paul comments that her house is very nice. They both seem awkward. Laura asks if her place is as he imagined it. He says it smaller and he expected more color. Laura offers him a drink, he asks for water. Paul wanders about looking at things. His cell phone rings and he sees it is his daughter.

In Treatment -- Jake & Amy, week 9

Jake and Amy both arrive for their session. Jake says he will miss the office -- he likes the feel of it and the clutter. Paul asks why he says they will miss it. Amy says they are getting divorced. Jake says it is because of Paul, of therapy, that therapy did them good. Amy says good if you mean a disaster.

Amy asks Paul if he has ever been through a divorce. Paul suggests maybe they could start with talking about the last week. Amy says they didn't see each other all week. Her tone is brittle and angry. Amy says she doesn't want to talk about her week, that therapy has just made her miserable.. Jake says that's not how it has been, that Paul has helped them see how they bring out the worst in each other.

Amy continues to be angry. Jake seems more at ease.

Amy says she heard Jake play when she was outside where he was but she didn't go in. Jake asks why she didn't come in. Amy says because of Paul because she couldn't remember how they used to make up. Jake says sex, that was what they did. Amy says she regrets ever having come to therapy. Jake says he thinks it is complicated, that coming to understand more feels good even as he is upset that it is falling apart.

In Treatment -- Sophie, week 9

Our final session with Sophie.

Paul is making a phone call. He is calling Laura and leaves a message saying he is hoping they can maybe have a coffee.

Sophie comes to Paul's office. A man calls to her and it is her father. She asks what he is doing there. He hugs her and says she is a knockout. Sophie asks him how he knew she would be there. He tells her that her mother says she was seeing her therapist. He tells her he hears she did really well at the trials and asks why she didn't call. She tells him she was tired. He says he couldn't come, couldn't just show up. And then he asks what's going on, is she angry with him?  Sophie looks uncomfortable with him. He claims he gets crazy when she doesn't call him. She says she did call. That her mom always answers her cell phone. He tries to get her to skip her therapy session but she says no. He starts asking her about therapy what she talks about, does she talk about him. Then wants to know what she says about him? And is that why she is behaving strangely? Then he says he is coming in.

In Treatment -- week 9, continued

A commenter asked why I thought Alex may well have committed suicide. So I'll talk about that a bit today.

I think it is important to consider how difficult it is for Alex to acknowledge in himself anything that he thinks indicates weakness. He always has to be the best, have the best, do the best. In his world, he hasn't a readily available way to deal with his deeply conflicted feelings about having bombed the madrassah. Yet it is this conflict that underlies his reason for coming to see Paul in the first place. 

We know he pushed himself so hard physically after he returned to the States that he had a coronary. His refusal to attend to his body, to pay attention to what he was doing to it, can also be seen as a way of acting out his grief, anger, guilt about what he did when he flew that fateful mission. And because he cannot express those feelings, where can they go but inside, into his body where they become symptoms?

Alex has grown up in a family where repression is a way of life, seen as a means of survival. When his father essentially tells Paul that therapy, in uncovering things better  left buried, caused his son's death, he is telling a truth, at least from inside that system. 

In Treatment -- week 9

There are just 3 episodes this week, Wednesday-Friday. So today and tomorrow, let's start looking back.

Monday is Laura's day, Laura who apparently left therapy three weeks ago. We know Paul saw her last week at Alex's funeral but we have no indication that he has seen or talked with her since then. I have said before that Laura's infatuation with Paul is anchored in fantasy and the experience of being in therapy. Having someone pay close attention to what one says and to not ask anything in return is a heady experience and indeed, given the subject matter, feels and is intimate. But it is not the intimacy that grows of two people taking time to get to know each other. As we grow close to another, a lover, we become acquainted with how he or she smells, likes and dislikes, moods, history -- all the details that get knit together in a relationship. But Laura has only a limited view of Paul and her fantasy of what she hopes and wants him to be like. In truth she does not know him at all, as a person outside of his office.


© Cheryl Fuller, 2018. All  rights reserved.