Paul, Week 7

Will Paul be able to get outside of himself enough today to listen to Gina? We'll see.

Paul is in his office. The phone rings. Paul asks what the dermatologist says and then addresses her as Sophie. Kate asks who it is and he says a patient the same age as Rosie. Kate asks f it is the same girl she helped with her shirt that day.

Kate starts by telling Gina that Rosie knows, that she asked Kate. Rosie asked if she were sleeping with someone. Gina asks why she asked this and Kate tells her about Rosie's call. Gina asks if the boys know. Paul says he spoke to Ian, though not specifics. Kate asks why they can't talk about this at home. Kate is angry that Paul told Ian and Paul tells her what Rosie had said to him just before that. Kate says Ian has always been on Paul's side.

Paul complains that Kate has not once apologized and said she was sorry. Kate says she has, and Gina agrees. Kate says Paul doesn't want to hear it because he hasn't decided to forgive her. Paul wants to talk about how Kate has been with the kids, and then criticizes her.

They squabble about the kids, trading accusations. Kate reveals to Paul that Rosie is on the pill, using her knowledge to drive home a point about Paul being out of touch. Kate says she took her to the doctor herself. And Paul asks why she didn't tell him. Paul is angry that he was not told.

Gina asks that they look at how Paul is reacting. Gina agrees that there are reasons to be angry. But Kate is trying to tell him about her relationship with Rosie and he feels excluded. Gina points out that one again they are talking about Rosie instead of the issues between them.

Gina suggests imago and Paul and Gina giggle a bit. Kate asks what it is and Paul explains disdainfully. Gina says it can be useful to get a dialogue going. Paul doesn't want to do it, kate wants to know more. What Gina describes sounds like a communication technique I know as accurate listening.

They agree. Kate begins.

To their surprise, it helps and they each see things they had not realized -- Kate that she has not had for herself a full rounded life and it is not Paul's fault; Paul that he is afraid Kate will leave to find herself. 

Gina points out they are both going through something. Kate is struggling with things that she struggled with before they met and Paul looks for the young woman who can make him feel the way he used to with Kate and that takes him into his relationship with his father and hi smother. He wants and needs mothering but is also afraid to get it so he buries himself in his work.

Gina says maybe now they can begin to steer the ship on curse. But Kate says she doesn't know, that maybe she should leave. Paul asks if that is what she wants and Kate says she is not sure. Gina says it is not uncommon for couples their age to come to this crossroads but though often someone leaves, no one has and she doesn't think either is ready to leave.

The hour ends. Gina asks them to call her about next Friday. Paul's phone rings. He looks upset.

It was nice to see Paul finally be able to back off from his hostility toward Gina and anger toward Kate long enough to actually get something from the communication exercise she gave them. And to see Kate as other than brittle ad angry. So we got to see some other aspects of both of these people today.

I thought Gina did a good enough job with them, but I was puzzled by the ending. She had suggested originally that they meet three times and then decide together where to go from there, but she did not deal with that at the end. I had expected she would make a firmer recommendation and at least attempt to see if they were willing to go on. Her rather vague request that Paul call her seemed a bit off.

Though this session went fairly well, we didn't learn much new. Nor did we get a clearer sense of whether r not they want to stay together. It all feels a bit amorphous. Also left hanging is the fact that Kate left the session because she fund the arguments between Paul and Gina stressful and not helpful at all. I am very puzzled that Gina didn't return to that and ask Kate what she needs in their sessions and Paul if he can set aside his sniping at her enough to do some work on the marriage. This seems essential to the formation of a therapeutic contract. 

I feel a bit disappointed in the way the relationship between Gina and Paul has unfolded. I really hoped that we would see the therapist in therapy and most of what we have seen is bickering and resistance because of their very conflicted history. 

While I like Diane Wiest's portrayal of Gina, I find this segment the least satisfying of the week and really the least convincing as well.

© Cheryl Fuller, 2018. All  rights reserved.