Season 3: Reflections -- Adele

A number of people have commented that they liked Gina better than Adele. And while I might find having coffee with Gina more appealing than with Adele, I don't think Gina would be my first choice for a therapist, and certainly not for Paul. 

In the previous seasons, Gina got sucked right into a transference/countertransference with Paul that seems to have repeated both their old pattern and his from his earlier life. And they ended up in something considerably other than a therapeutic or even good supervisory relationship. So Paul comes to Adele with fortified defenses made stronger by his relationship with Gina and quite unintentionally he seems to have chosen a therapist who could, were he to remain in treatment with her, actually help him.

Adele, unlike Gina, has a very clear set of boundaries which she manages to hold almost impeccably, despite a lot of pressure from Paul. Her errors, and I don't see them as major, came when the pressure from Paul was greatest. She made the early morning call from her home -- and had caller ID not betrayed her, that would not have even been noticeable as a problem. The second, when she raised the issue of her pregnancy, is again not a fatal error but it would have been better had she allowed Paul time to bring it up. 

What people are seeing as cold are behaviors consistent with maintaining a tight frame -- not giving Paul aspirin, not running over time for him, not giving in to his desires for her to help with his cases. With a patient like Paul, someone who will push and push and push at the boundaries, it is especially important for the therapist to hold the frame and her ground. Because he can't really trust her if she doesn't. Therapists can be caring without seeming to be warm and fuzzy.  Paul wants her to be his mother, his lover, his companion and it is important that she both allow his desire and that she not gratify it in any way. Even her office, which does not appear to be in her home and which is a more neutral environment than Paul's is, speaks to the level at which she considers the frame of the work she does.

I can imagine a season where Adele is the centerpiece and we see her with a variety of patients, including Paul I would hope. Certainly we would have to learn more about her personal situation and how she will juggle having a baby as a single parent and maintaining her practice. 

© Cheryl Fuller, 2018. All  rights reserved.