Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In Treatment

Images via Imdb

Make sure you're sitting comfortably, and have your tissues handy.

...The shrink is in session.

Monkey Mind's post on Blue Day 2008 got me thinking about depression, general nutsiness and getting help. Her post has also coincided with a new TV obsession of mine, HBO's In Treatment. While I remain up at the homestead battling the black lung, I've been enjoying Foxtel's premier screenings of this fascinating show.

Based on the Israeli drama Be 'Tipul, In Treatment traces the life of psychoanalyst Paul Watson (played by the dashing Gabriel Byrne) through his sessions with five patients and his own visits to his former supervisor and therapist, Gina, after a tense, ten year hiatus. Structure is key to this show, as its set up to screen five nights a week: Monday - Thursday with Paul treating his patients (three individuals and one couple) and concluding on Friday with Paul's visit to Gina.

Now I can imagine a television show based on two people sitting and talking must have been a tough sell. Executive producer/writer/director Rodrigo Garcia had his work cut out for him because the focus is entirely on the writing: the dialogue and plot have to be razor sharp to keep your attention.

Much like blog posts hey...ahhhh bad joke.

Given all this sitting and chatting, I am fascinated by the way the show incorporates movement. At least once an episode, someone will get up in a huff, or need the bathroom, or want a drink, anything to create a bit of movement. Then there's the wave machine (or Tranquil Tide Machine
as it's officially known), which sits behind the patients, providing a constant source of motion. But the most intriguing movement for me is in the editing. It's fascinating to watch how Garcia times the edits; he'll get you into a rhythm of a shot-reverse-shot then change the angle completely, to a subtle, yet great effect. All dialogue heavy films and TV series should take notes from In Treatment. It's a brilliantly crafted and absolutely riveting show.

In Treatment in motion

I also wonder if In Treatment will demystify the therapeutic process for viewers. It's telling that a number of Paul's patients come to him with preconceived ideas of 'shrink questions', demanding that they don't need 'therapy', they just need his opinion, or for him to answer a question for them. I imagine a lot of people view therapy in that way and indeed there remains a huge stigma about getting help. Perhaps not in America, where every man and his dog seems to see a shrink (quite literally, Cesar Millan runs a psychology centre for dogs), but we Australians seem to have inherited the British stoicism and prefer to stiff-upper-lip our way through things. This is in spite of alarmingly high rates of depression in Australia, particularly amongst males, who are even less likely to seek help.

Speaking of which, Movember is coming up next month, so hopefully more awareness will be raised about men's health issues and depression in particular.

In the meantime though, I can recommend getting yourself in treatment.

2 comments:

shiv prasad said...

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Alice said...

Thank you for the blog love! I'll do my best :)

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