IN TREATMENT – Meet Paul, your therapist…

In Treatment - Gabriel Byrne

I have been meaning to write something about HBO’s new amazing show, IN TREATMENT, for weeks, but I never seem to find the time. I decided that I couldn’t put it off any longer.

First let me tell you that I wasn’t really convinced that I was going to like In Treatment, but I decided to give it a shot anyway and I am so happy I did.

In Treatment is about Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne), a psychotherapist and his patients. Now here is the kick, In Treatment airs Monday through Friday and each episode shows a session between Paul and one of his patients, with the same patient returning for another session on the same weekday. That’s something I had never seen done before. Not only do we get to see new episodes every day of the week, the writing is on point every single episode.

Now on to the serious part, why do I love In Treatment?

First of all, you have to understand how fascinating this show is to me. I took a lot of psychology classes back in school and have always enjoyed learning more about it. I have however never wanted to become a therapist… and now I know why. Paul is the most patient person in the world. I think I would probably want to strangle half of my patients if I was a psychotherapist.

Which leads me to the wonderful actors that brace the screen every night on In Treatment. Gabriel Bryne is definitely the star of the show, once more he proves what a great actor he is. He is so fascinating to watch, it’s worth watching In Treatment if only to watch his performance.

You would think that by having the whole show pretty much taking place in Paul’s office without much movement going on with either him or his patients, the show would be pretty boring. Actually, it’s quite the opposite, proving that once more good writing can go a long way.

The relationship between Paul and his clients are so real and every week you get deeper into their story that you can’t help but want to watch more. It’s almost this “sick” obsession we have about peeping into other people’s lives that In Treatment speaks to, but whatever it is I love it!

On to the patients. There will obviously be patients you respond to more than the others, but overall, each of them brings their own interesting and twisted story.

MONDAY

Laura – This is my favorite patient of the bunch. I find her infatuation with Paul intriguing. It brings such an interesting dynamic to the session, and watching Paul trying to deal with this in the most ethical way while still being a human being himself, definitely makes for good episodes each week.

Character story: Paul’s Monday patient, is a beautiful young anesthesiologist whose relationship problems with her boyfriend are compounded by her infatuation with her older, married therapist.

TUESDAY

Alex – My least favorite patient. This is probably because it’s the patient I can relate to the least. But I still find the whole way Paul handles someone like him fascinating.

Character story: Paul’s Tuesday patient, is a Navy pilot who, after participating in a failed bombing mission in Iraq and later suffering a heart attack, decides to seek therapeutic counsel. Priding himself on his high standards, Alex spends much of his sessions questioning Paul’s methods and credentials.

WEDNESDAY

Sophie – I think Sophie appeals to a different side of Paul, a softer side. Because of her young age, you feel more empathy for everything she reveals to Paul. This is a nice break in the middle of the week from all the other patients. Plus, the more we learn about her story, the more interesting it gets.

Character story: Paul’s Wednesday patient, is an aspiring Olympic gymnast who sustained injuries during an accident. Needing a professional opinion to alleviate suspicions of her emotional stability, she consults Paul, revealing a strained relationship with her mother and misplaced affection for her father and coach.

THURSDAY

Jake and Amy – My second favorite patients. This couple has such a sick relationship it’s hard to grasp exactly what their issue is. This is where the brilliance of the show continues to surprise me, each patient is so different and I don’t think I have ever seen a relationship like Jak and Amy’s on TV before. Personally, I don’t even know what they are still doing together, but I guess that’s why I tune in every week, to try and understand what the root of their relationship is about.

Character story: Paul’s Thursday patients in marriage counseling. Amy, a sophisticated career woman, and Jake, a struggling songwriter, continue to have sexual passion for one another, but find themselves constantly embattled at home and in therapy because they have little else in common.

FRIDAY

Gina – This is such a smart way to end the week. After all the craziness of his week, it’s understandable that Paul would need his own therapy session and Gina provides just that. So if you are wondering what goes inside Paul’s head during his sessions, this will give you the answer. We finally see that Paul is as human as we are and does occasionally have some “strong” feelings about his patients. The difference is that he is able to hide what he really thinks. But his sessions with Gina are not that simple either, Paul and her have their issues as well and this time it’s Gina who has to become the patient one.

Character story: Paul’s Friday therapist, was once his supervisor, but their sometimes contentious relationship ended abruptly years ago. Although retired, she agrees to help Paul, but during their sessions old conflicts between the two resurface.

This is one of my favorite HBO shows ever and I urge you to take a look into Paul’s therapy sessions, you might be surprised by what you learn and see.

Don’t forget to watch In Treatment Monday through Friday at 9:30pm on HBO.

(Photo: Claudette Barius/HBO)