In Treatment-- Sophie, week 3

Oh my goodness  -- this time Sophie arrives wearing a soft collar for her neck. She was to have her casts off today but when her doctor saw her, he put the collar on her and did not remove the casts.

She gives Paul a boat model, because it is the last session. She heard his initial recommendation for at least 3 sessions as meaning 3 sessions. And they begin with Sophie asking to sit in Paul's chair, which he agrees to, and she acts his part, observing that he looks tired.

They switch places when Sophie decides to see what therapy would be like -- she seems to like it that Paul tells her that if she were, she would be in charge of the pace and direction.

Sophie slowly reveals the details of her relationship with Sy, her coach, after talking about her parents' divorce. She assumes responsibility for what happened, that she knew what she was doing. And that Sy had tried to hold the boundary, told her it could never happen. And when it did, afterwards things changed -- they had a big fight the next day and she also fell off the balance beam. Sy stopped them from having sex again, told her it would ruin both their careers if it got out. And then when Sy's wife returned, she told Sophie that their daughter was becoming too attached to her and she should not be around for a while. She knew that Darlene knew but wouldn't talk about it. The accident, when she broke her arms, happened that night, after Darlene gave her an apron she had gotten for her.

Sophie escapes into the bathroom. We hear glass break. Two pictures are on the floor, the glass on one broken.

Sophie pushes Paul to tell her if he thinks she tried to kill herself. And he tells her that even after the casts and neckbrace come off, the problems she has been struggling with will still be there and she could again find herself in a place where another accident might occur. He asks where she feels safe. She answers on the beam; with all its possibilities for injury, this is the one place where she feels safe..

After Sophie leaves, Paul calls her mother and asks her to call him so that they might discuss her return to the gym and to training.

Paul is at his best with Sophie -- he seems well attuned to her and able to confront in a gentle enough way to slowly draw her into the therapy she claims to not want. As her story comes out we get a picture of a child in jeopardy, a child who blames herself for the collapse of her parents' marriage, her father's subsequent marriage, and for ruining Sy's family. And when the glass breaks in the bathroom, Paul, and we, immediately fear she is doing something to harm herself --because suicide hangs in the room, enveloping Sophie in its tempting possibilities. We know that at least on an unconscious level, her accident was a suicide attempt. And Paul's call to her mother offers some possible relief for us because he is willing to act on his concern for her, even though he knows she will not like it.

I also noticed a parallel between Laura and Sophie. Both were seductive with a man who was supposed to maintain the boundary, not allow the wall to be breached. Sophie's story becomes yet another warning to Paul about he danger in the situation with Laura.

© Cheryl Fuller, 2018. All  rights reserved.