Change in Perspective


In anticipation of the third season of “In Treatment” starting this fall, I’ve been “re-watching” season one. I say “re-watching” because I never finished watching it in the first place. ¬†When I first started watching the show, I would watch one patient at a time — week one through week nine. Then I would choose another patient, and watch him/her for all nine weeks. I could do this since I had the DVDs.

This time, I’ve been watching the series as intended — week by week, with all 5 patients in a row. It’s interesting how much the viewing order has changed my perception of the show. Originally, I saw things more from the patient’s point of view, rather than Paul’s (the therapist). I had no idea what was really going in in Paul’s life (especially since I didn’t watch the one patient, Alex, at all).

Now that I’ve been watching straight through the week, I see things more from Paul’s perspective. He has a life and various patients — all kids of things happen during the week. His real life affects his mood/actions in therapy (though he’s pretty good at separating the two).

It’s interesting to experience therapy from that perspective, since I’m always the patient. I know that my therapist has other patients – not to mention a life outside of the treatment center – but I’m not really thinking about that during our sessions. I’m only there one day a week, so I guess I expect things to be kind of where we left them the previous week. Granted, things happen in my life between sessions, but therapy stands still. Meanwhile, life at the treatment center moves on.

Another good example of this I’d with email. If I email my dietitian and she doesn’t reply, I get kind of frustrated. Sometimes I’m annoyed, but often I’m thinking “I shouldn’t have emailed her, it was a stupid question, she’s too busy” etc. I forget that it’s a one-to-many relationship. She’s my one dietitian, but I am one of her many patients. For all I know, she could get 100 emails a day. My one email is far more significant to me than it is to her.

Interestingly, this treatment point-of-view changes with level of care. When I was in a 5-day program, there was no time lapse between therapy. We were on the same page. I was THERE for all the other stuff. I was still just one patient, but was in a sense creating a lower patient-to-professional relationship (by occupying a greater percentage of time).

Anyway, the moral of the story is: watch “In Treatment” in order!

5 thoughts on “Change in Perspective

  1. Emily

    It’s funny, but I seem acutely aware of the fact that my therapist has other patients. Because of this awareness I won’t contact him outside of our weekly 50 minutes together. I feel like there are plenty of other patients, meetings, etc. that he needs to attend to, so far be it from me to ask for some extra attention. Who knows what that says about me…

    Anyway, I love In Treatment and wish it were a more popular show. I find the show interesting because it shows both sides of the therapeutic relationship. We see the patients’ issues, but we also see how how human the therapist is. I guess it is sort of refreshing to see a (albeit a fictional) therapist deal with their own less than perfect life.

    • I really like that show too! Season 1 I really liked Sophie. Also interesting to see Paul interact with Gina. I always wonder if my T is in therapy….and what that’s like. I don’t like to think of my T with other patients either. Even tho – I see her 1, sometimes 2x a week – I feel sort of possessive of her.
      I havent yet seen season 2 of In Treatment. Is it out on DVD yet?

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by greythinking and Hellen Keller, EllieMellie. EllieMellie said: Love In Treatment!! RT @greythinking Change in Perspective http://bit.ly/aeTPp7 […]

  3. Loved your article. I don’t have a therapist, but I’m all about personal growth and awareness, and I related to what you were saying about looking at things from your therapist;s perspective. I believe the more perspectives from which we can view things, the more our lives are expanded, and the more tolerant and compassionate we become.

  4. I am SO glad you posted this. This exact topic has been on my mind constantly lately, as I often want to reach out to my dietitian or therapist and then stop myself before doing so. I am always wondering “Am I being THAT patient?” It’s nice to know I’m not alone in that.

    They always say to call or email. But do they mean it? I have no idea, and wish they would give us a real, brutally honest answer (although I’m not sure I want to hear it!).

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