In Treatment, Season 3

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. 

Season 3: Reflections -- Paul

No doubt in the next couple of weeks, more thoughts will come to me about this season, but let's start with these.

Though I fervently wish for another season, I do believe that this was likely the last. I have not seen mention anywhere of a possible season 4. So, I am operating on the premise that we will not be seeing further episodes.

Earlier this week, I was talking about the ending with an analyst I know. And he feels that having Paul leave as he did is cynical and a terrible comment on the possibilities that therapy offers. Of course, we don't know if Paul returns and we likely will never know. I am of divided mind about Paul's leaving. Dramatically, I think it works. But as I have thought about it, it doesn't work for me as something a man who has spent his life as a therapist would do unless the crisis he is in is even deeper than he and we know, because to leave this way is a repudiation of everything he has done in his life. 

Leaving seems to me the gesture of an angry disappointed child who, when he finds he cannot have his way, packs his toys and goes home and then to top it off, in effect says "I never liked you anyway." He stormed away from Gina and now he is doing essentially the same thing, let down by yet another woman who would not give him what he wants, a mother who can care for him. I want to believe that in time -- a week, a month or even in a year -- he will want to return and get down to work in earnest in therapy. I'm sure that he did indeed benefit from his analysis with Gina but it was a complicated relationship and became problematic because of the many different relationships they had. 

Season 3: Week 7

Week 7: Paul & Adele

Paul is talking with Adele -- he has told her about Sunil. He says Sunil is being deported because he did what she urged him to do. And then he says that should teach her to stay out of second hand diagnosis and to let qualified people do what they their work. Adele asks if he includes himself among those qualified people. She says he has been talking for weeks about his concerns about his work. She says she thought it had been important to address the risk and how does he know the threat was not real. She says she is not sure how Paul decided which story to believe, the one Sunil told him at the jail or the one he said in session. Paul says he knew. So she asks why then he is so upset if what happened was what Sunil wanted?

Adele refers to Paul’s strong identification with Sunil. Does he feel angry at having been betrayed by someone he sees as a friend? She asks if he is envious of Sunil for having found a way to change his life.

Paul says he has been going over and over Sunil’s treatment and can’t get it out of his head. He asks himself how does he know what he is being told is not bullshit, what is he being blind to now. He had a call from a patient wanting to see him and he hasn’t gotten back to him again. Paul wants to say he is not taking new patients. Adele asks what that means, is he cutting back on his practice or closing it? 

Week 7: Jesse

Jesse is with Paul and then we see Roberto is there also. Jesse says he took the train to RISD and he didn’t have enough money for the ticket so he decided to try to dodge the conductor but he was caught. And he called Roberto, who was in Buffalo and drove 8 hrs to come pick him up at the police station. Roberto says he paid the fine and it was okay. Paul wants to know how this led to the decision to end therapy. Jesse says they talked in the car and he decided he was fine now. They talked about Marissa. Roberto doesn’t like the language Jesse uses. Roberto says he asked Jesse about the therapy when they were driving back and Jesse said they talked about Marissa. Roberto says Paul has gotten the wrong picture. Roberto says they figured out the problem -- he wanted to go after Karen when he heard she had contacted Jesse but Marissa had said to let Jesse handle it. Roberto is a judgmental toward Paul. He asks why he didn’t call him last week when Jesse said he was suicidal. Paul said he exercised his judgement. And did Paul tell him to take a train to Westchester to see them? -- and he characterizes them very negatively. Paul asks to talk with Jesse alone.

Week 7: Sunil

Paul is trying to reach Arun about Sunil. He learns Sunil is in custody and has been since Friday night. 


Paul is at the detention center to see Sunil. Sunil is brought in in a jumpsuit and sits across from Paul. He says we meet again. What happened, Paul asks. Sunil says Paul is his first visit. He says Julia is probably out on the town celebrating because he is being deported back to India. Sunil says no one is hurt. Paul’s call to Julia was enough -- she called Arun and then the police. And he was taken into custody. Paul is surprised and apologizes. Paul says he can fix it. Paul says he called Julia because of the cricket bat. Sunil says he is not disappointed in the outcome and offers him his thanks. He says he was arrested. Julia said he pushed her and it was intentional. The police requested his papers and he refused. Paul asks why. He says he refused because he chose not to present them. Paul asks if he knew he would be arrested. And he knew that he needed Julia to call them. 

Week 7: Frances

Paul is alone in his office obviously waiting restlessly. He calls Sunil. Leaves a message.  Sunil is late. Then he leaves a message for Julia. He asks her to have him call. 


Frances is with Paul -- she asks if he thinks she is doing the wrong thing. He asks why she judges everything. He says she wants others to confirm her own negative view of herself or validate her. He says his job is to help her discover what she thinks of herself and if she doesn’t like that, change it. She asks what he thinks of what she did. He says what she did was reasonable. Frances tells him Izzy says she was wrong and should have kept Tricia there at home and let her die there. Paul says that sounds simple in theory. Tricia wanted to die at home. Then Sunday Frances came for the night. She says they had a pretty good night. Tricia seemed almost stronger and she was asking about her father. Paul asks what she told her. She says he has faded for her too but she told her of a memory from when Tricia was a baby.

Season 3: Week 6

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Week 6, Thoughts

There are a couple of things from this week that I have been thinking about further.

First, about Sunil and Tarasoff warnings. It is important to remember that the Tarasoff case and subsequent case law came out of lawsuits against therapists. And the reducing liability is a major factor in whether or not confidentiality is breached to warn. Some of this comes from a wish, very strong in American culture, to believe that behavior can be predicted and therefore a therapist ought to be able to know, with some degree of certainty, when a patient says something that indicates a real threat against another person. But making that determination is very difficult and we are not very good at predicting behavior. So risk avoidance is the ruling factor many many times.

One problem is that once the therapist has breached, the therapy is done. Trust has been broken, no matter how sound the reasons and the patient is just not likely to speak openly again with that therapist and perhaps no therapist. Letting patients know at the outset of therapy that such a breach could occur if threats are spoken often means that such thoughts and fantasies may never be expressed. Does this make acting them out more likely? Who knows. But when weighing such situations, all of these factors have to be considered. 

Week 6: Paul & Adele

Paul is with a doctor who is asking questions about drug and alcohol use. The doctor suggests anti-anxiety meds which Paul refuses. The doctor writes a recommendation for a psychiatrist.


Paul is with Adele. He tells her that this doctor did not recommend her and he makes a crack about her contacts at Columbia. She asks what the doctor said. Paul said he has to wait and see -- because he is not exhibiting enough symptoms -- yet. Adele says his dilemma is like everyone’s -- not knowing what will happen. Paul asked him for a worse case scenario and he confirmed what Paul already knew, that he could become paralyzed with complete dementia in less than 4 years. Adele says less than 0.5% of people develop that form of the disease that he probably does not have. She asks what he would do if he were told with absolute certainty he had the disease and just a few years to live, what would he do? He says he might close his office and leave, move closer to the kids. She asks what he would do if he were told the opposite -- would he also lock up the office or would he stay as he is? Adele says not knowing allows him to stay in stasis, to keep things as they are. Paul says stasis is hell. He doesn’t know what actions she is talking about. 

Week 6: Jesse

Jesse is in the waiting room wearing a gold crown. A girl leaves Paul’s office and he asks her what’s wrong -- she says she has an eating disorder. He tells her Paul is his uncle and is taking him out for dinner. He says is is from Milwaukee when she asks him what school he goes to. Then he tells her he thinks she is beautiful just the way she is.


Jesse is with Paul and singing happy birthday to himself. He says now he is 17 and he is at the age of consent in New York state. Paul wishes him happy birthday. Jesse asks what happened last week, did his son set the house on fire. Paul says it was just an accident. Jesse wants to know if Max is all right and Paul says yes. Paul asks why he ran off. He says he shouldn’t have been there, that Paul should have run him off when he showed up. Then he asks Paul why he became a therapist. Paul says because he wanted to help people. Jesse asks if he is a good therapist. Paul asks if there is a way he could be better for him. Jesse says he doesn’t know what the point is, do people become happy? Paul says happy isn’t always the point. So Jesse tells him about running into the girl in the waiting room and asks what he is telling her? Paul says he is trying to help her see why she sees herself that way. And that what he thinks doesn’t really matter; it is what she thinks. Jesse says that sounds like the guys who sell fake watches. Paul says objects and people are worth what we ascribe to them.

Week 6: Frances

Adele is lying in her bed and the alarm goes off. She gets up. We see her sit at her table with a cup of coffee and her iPhone. She makes a call to Paul. She says she had an appointment open the next day and wonders if he would like to take it as their session last week was truncated and she had some lingering thoughts about it

Frances is with Paul -- she says it’s okay. Paul asks what -- she says it’s okay to say she looks tired. She says she is okay but she is hungry. She asks if he has anything to eat. He doesn’t answer right away and she says he has a kitchen, doesn’t he and then says oh it’s against the rules, she’ll be okay. Paul observes she says that a lot, that she will be okay. Is there something she is trying to tell him in that? She sighs. He asks about last night -- her stomach growls and she says see that -- it’s my stomach.

Then she says he reminds her of Izzy -- she told Izzy about the test results and Izzy accused her of being a narcissist and wasn’t that what he said of her last week? Paul says he did not say she was being a narcissist -- he said he told her he thought she should see her sister. Paul asks if Izzy came to opening night. Frances says she saw Izzy at the hospital because Tricia needed to be in the hospital. She was there with Russell and Izzy while they stabilized Tricia. 

Week 6: Sunil

Paul puts a tray with two cups on the table. There is a knock and Julia is there. She says Sunil is outside smoking so she asks to come in. Paul asks about the bruise on her arm. She says Sunil pushed her in an argument that got out of hand -- she needed stitches in her arm. Julia says they are ending treatment today and gives him a check for that session and the last. Julia says if what has happened is what comes of building an alliance in therapy, she feels for the families of his patients. She says Sunil has been getting stranger every day since he began with Paul. She is afraid of him and finds the way he looks at her disturbing. She says she thought of calling the police. Paul tells her he cannot discuss the details of the work with Sunil with her. She expresses resentment at paying for this treatment while Sunil gets worse. She says she feels for Sunil -- he is an attractive middle aged man and could have a better life. She says she is having trouble sleeping and working and asks what he would do in her situation. He says he would keep Sunil in treatment and if she wants someone to talk with, he can recommend someone. He wants to talk with Sunil -- she says fine, he obviously sides with Sunil. Sunil appears at the door as Julia leaves and says he suspects Julia told him the therapy is over.

Season 3, Week 5

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Week 5: Paul & Adele

Paul drives up to a house and says it doesn’t look like a habitrail(a special kind of enclosure for hamsters). It is Steve’s house. Max tells him Steve thinks about the environment and Paul says that is something they have in common. That both he and Steve love Max and it’s okay for Max to love him back.Max is afraid Paul will be lonely. Paul tells him he doesn’t have to worry about him. How do I know, Max asks. Paul says he will call him all the time and they have a week in January. He wants Max to promise he won’t worry about Paul. They go up to the house.Paul declines an invitation from Steve to stay for coffee and leaves. 

Paul arrives a bit frazzled at Adele’s office and is late due to traffic driving back. Paul has ibuprofen that he says he will keep it there for when he needs it. He asks if they have half a session and she says if that. Paul says he talked with Max. He says he did it thanks to Adele. He was clear Max wanted to be in Maryland, that he had come because he was worried about Paul. Adele asks if it happened so fast. Paul says he wanted to get it over with. Paul tells her Steve asked him inside for coffee and that he seemed okay. That he looked like dad -- unlike you, Adele says. She asks if he went in but he says he couldn’t, he had to get out of there. Adele says it was hard to see Steve’s ease with Max. Paul says it was hard to walk away and leave Max there with him. 

Week 5: Jesse

Paul and Jesse are making pancakes. Paul asks him how school is. Paul asks if he misses his friends and Max says he will make new ones. Then he asks how things are going with Steve, is he growing on him? Paul says he wonders what kind of guy he is. There is a knock at the door. Jesse is there. Jesse says he needs to see him tonight. Paul says he doesn’t do that. Jesse swears. Paul asks what is going on. Jesse says he went to see his birth parents and they kicked him out of their house. Paul tells Max he needs to see Jesse and will be with him in few minutes. Max looks startled.

Paul asks Jesse what happened. Jesse says he called Kevin after the session and he said would come to them to see them. Paul asked why he felt it so urgent to see them. Jesse accusing him of thinking he made a mistake. They were supposed to meet that day at 6. So he took an early train and it took just an hour to get there. He saw kids in the front yard and he thought it must be the wrong house. And then he thought they belonged to the neighbors so he looked at them through the zoom lens of his camera but he felt sick to his stomach so he went looking for a diner. He walked around for a couple of hours and went back. They were gone, the kids were gone. All evidence of them was gone. A chalk drawing on the driveway was gone and the driveway was wet. He rang the bell and Kevin answered. Paul asks what he was like -- blonde and tall. They looked rich. She has nice legs and was wearing stockings and has a round face. He looked like a good guy and has a wink. Paul asks if they invited him in. Jesse says they put out oreos and milk like a commercial. Paul asks if he felt patronized and he says yes, that he was starving so he hate half the package. He was looking around the room for signs of other kids. The outlets were childproof. They held hands the whole time and looked at him like he was going to set their house on fire. Then 10 minutes later they asked him to leave. He says he can’t believe he got dressed up to see them. Jesse says he knows they were their kids. He knows because he saw a bar by the toilet for handicapped people. He unzips his back pack and takes out his camera and shows Paul -- one kid was in a wheelchair. Jesse says now he knows why they got in contact with him. He says the kid in the wheelchair looks just like him and he thinks they want his blood or something from him. Paul asks why he thinks the child is dying. Jesse asks why else they did  they get in touch with him and they eliminated all signs of the kids. Paul asks him about the conversation. Jesse says he doesn’t remember what they said. Jesse says he was stoned. He says he got  high while he was walking around. Paul asks why they asked him to leave. Jesse says he thinks it has something to do with RISD. Paul asks if he asked them for money. Jesse says he asks if they could work out a deal -- a summer for something from him and they said nothing, Kevin offered to drive him to the station and Jesse leaves.

Week 5: FRances

Frances is sitting on the couch -- she and Paul are silent. She asks if it is normal for it to be so hard to get started. He says it is quite common. She wants to know if she said nothing would he say something. He says eventually he would say something. She asks what the longest silence has been and he says around 20 minutes. He asks her what she has been thinking about.

Paul asks if she looked at the results of her test yet. She says she is not ready yet. She says she is thinking about Izzie. She has been getting texts and phone calls from her. He suggests it is time for her to see Izzie. She says she did -- she took her things and went to her school and ambushed her. She saw her on the steps with her friends and how she looked grown up. It was surreal, like looking into the future. She looked confused when she saw Frances and she went to being her sullen teenage self. She licked her lips a lot and Frances offered her chapstick and she left. Izzie texted her after that -- telling her she should call Trish who now looks like a skeleton. Frances is upset that Izzie texts her about Trish and she sounds jealous. Paul asks if she did call Trish. Frances says she went out and got laid instead. She says it was a 25 yr old man, the first since she left her husband. He is in the cast. She had gone out with the cast and he kept buying her drinks and after the third she asked him to show her where she lived. She tells Paul that he loved her breasts. He kissed and touched them. She asks Paul if he is shocked. He asks if she is trying to shock him and she says no, but she knows how squeamish he is. Paul wonders why she thinks he is squeamish. Frances says his whole life seems squeamish to her and she understands why Trish loved him, that Trish loves repressed men.

Week 5: Sunil

Sunil is listening news on a smart phone -- news about monsoon in India. He is in Paul’s waiting room.

Paul says he was worried at the end of last session. Sunil says monsoons have flooded the region where his parents were born. He says Paul could not have heard about it in NY  because all the news is about basketball. Sunil says he is having difficulty sleeping -- he says he keeps seeing the same image, a picture of a boy clinging to a tire in the flood. He feels trapped in Brooklyn like a prisoner. Arun is away at a medical conference. Before he left, the watched the news of the floods together. Sunil says he feels outside of his life.  Paul wants to look at the situation at home -- clearly he is concerned about Sunil’s feelings about Julia. He asks what are the possibilities of him finding a place to live in his own apartment. Who would pay for it, Sunil asks. Paul suggests he could get a job. Sunil says he is as helpless to change his surroundings as the people in the flood.  

Paul urges him to talk with his son about what he wants. Sunil says  Paul is wasting his time -- Sunil says it is a strategy to make him say what he feels. Again Sunil takes out his tobacco and says there is nothing to be gained by talking with Arun. He says he spoke to Arun the night before he left. He told him seeing the images made him aware that he is useless and he needs to return. Arun told him why does he want to make a fool of himself and go back to India, that they will donate to the Red Cross and get him a queen size mattress. 

Season 3, Week 4

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Week 4: Paul & Adele

Paul is putting the couch back together. He finds Wendy’s bra on the floor.

What she told you was hard to hear -- Adele seems to be referring to what Rosie told Paul about Max’s relationship with Steve. Paul seems to feel betrayed by Max. Adele asks if he has spoken to Max but he says they haven’t talked about much at all. He hasn’t felt like talking to Max after what he heard from Rosie. He sees from last week that he was getting his son to worry about him so Max can’t tell him about Steve because he doesn’t want to hurt Paul. Paul wonders if Max would be better with Kate and Steve, though that is  hard for him. He sees life with him as dreary and lifeless. He wishes Rosie hadn’t told him about the relationship between Steve and Max. 

He says everyone he knows has some kind of passion but he doesn’t. He says he tries to pretend he does.  Wendy stopped by at lunch because she knows he has time then and they haven’t had sex for a while. She wanted to have sex on the couch in his office and so they did. But he says he was distracted, thinking about other things. Adele asks what? He becomes evasive. He says he has a boat in his office and he stared at it after he and Wendy finished. He says he used to have about 26 of them. She asks if he likes to sail but he says he has never been. He used to love those models and he and Max used to love to go looking for them in antique stores. Adele asks why only one left -- Paul says Max lost interest and when he moved, he left them behind. He sees the one left over patients’ shoulders. But everyone of them has a real passion. She asks if he sees all of his patients have something he does not. He says yes. He cites Frances and Jesse and Kate and Gina. And he says she, Adele does also. He says isn’t this, what you do a passion? He says she seems engaged in her cool detachment. She says yes, her work is important to her. How did he arrive at that impression, she asks. He says he was online and started to search on Parkinson’s and then searched for her. And found a list of things she has written and done. What did that mean to him, she asks. He says he last wrote in 1998. Why did he stop, she asks. He asks about her name -- is it Dutch? She says her mother’s father was from Holland -- he says he doesn’t believe it, she answered his question. She asks again why he stopped. He says he no longer shares that professional passion. She says he means the way he thinks she is. He says he used to publish when he was her age, he used to think he could save people. 

Week 4: Jesse

Jesse rummages in his backpack as Paul asks how his week was. He says kind of weird. Then he tells Paul he got a letter from his birth father -- Paul has a big sneeze which he says is an allergy. Paul asks when it arrived and Jesse says a few days ago. He says he married his birth mother. They got pregnant when they were 17, broke up and got together again after college and married. He says he wrote on Karen’s behalf because she is depressed that he has not responded to the phone call. He wants Jesse to respond and let them know if he will contact them. And he says he loves Jesse. Jesse is angry and says he thinks they may be assholes. And he may be getting a B in algebra, which he says is a miracle. Paul asks if he studied for the test and he says yes, Roberto helped him. Paul says Jesse must have told him about the suspension. He says Roberto thought it was no big deal. Paul says he thought Jesse was nervous about how he would react but Jesse says he was cool. He told him about Nate and why it happened. Paul gropes for the right term and Jesse mocks him. He says no he did not tell him what Nate was doing. He wants to know why Paul won’t leave it alone and let it be a nice thing that his dad helped him and he got a B.

Week 4: Frances

Paul is outside with Rosie talking about colleges. She drove Max back from Baltimore. She tells him Steve took Max to D.C. on Saturday to see the Calder exhibit. Rosie asks if that is weird for Paul. He says that doesn’t fit with the way Max talks with him about Steve. He asks her what she thinks about their relationship. She thinks they connect over art. Rosie tells Paul Max loves him, he came to live with him.  They hug. She leaves.

Frances has cut her hair, which Paul notices and says is becoming. She says it is becoming for the character. She talks about how she and character are similar -- her character is recently widowed, sex starved. Paul asks if that might be why she struggles with her lines, that similarity. Paul recalls she was terrified she would fail last week. Is she still worried about that? Is one of the scenes the ones she wanted him to do with her the scene she was worried about? She says she understands why he kicked her out last week. He says that is not how he remembers it. She says she asked him to read lines with her, it made him uncomfortable and then she felt sorry for him. She says it must be strange treating someone like her, someone famous. He asks her what she feels when she is doing the play. She says she felt disconnected in rehearsal but now she feels present in previews and it lasts through the play and the applause is loud and good.  Paul says that must feel satisfying but she looks sad. He asks what happens between then and now. She says she goes home -- the apartment is dark, the  fridge empty and she opens a can of soup. And then she asks if he wants to come to opening night. Paul asks why she would want him want him there. She says he  could see that she is good. He says he knows because he has seen her films. But he has never seen her on stage, she says. He tells her he has to say no. She asks if it is because of a policy. He says it would interfere with the work they are doing in therapy. He asks if she invited Patricia. She says no. And when he asks why, she says she went to see Patricia and apologize for what she did when she was in college. Patricia brushed it off. She says Frances e did her a favor  because she got to live a real life. Seeing the expression on her face, Paul says that hurt,  did you tell her? No she didn’t because Patricia is sick.

Week 4: Sunil

Max is at the kitchen table. He tells Paul he is not hungry that morning. Paul asks if he fell behind in homework from being in Baltimore. Paul helps him with his homework -- the Pythagorean Theorem, A2 + B2 = C2. Max leaves for school.

Sunil comes in. He shows Paul a package of birth control pills - he tells Paul he found them in Julia’s study. She is very private abut that room -- keeps it very clean and organized. Arun only allowed in there when he brings her cappuccino. All week Julia has been on the phone about one of her authors. He went into the study looking for this genius manuscript she had been talking about all week. Paul asks if he thought of asking Julia if he could read it. He says no and Paul says yet he still felt compelled to look for it. Paul asks if Sunil has considered she and Arun decided not to have more children.. Sunil reminds him that Arun says he wants another son and that he was to move to the basement when a baby comes. Paul observes that this aspect of their private life upsets him. He suggests to Sunil that this is their private business. Sunil gets angry and shouts he is his father and it is his family too. How could he not be concerned? The pills were not in the medicine chest but hidden in a drawer in her study. Sunil says the only reason she could be taking them is to keep from becoming pregnant. When he thinks of Ethan, the author, his heart starts racing and he is angry. Sunil says he thought Paul would be pleased he is angry.

Season 3, Week 3

Week 3: Paul & Adele

Paul is singing along with loud rock( which my Expert in All Music©, aka my husband tells me is “Firework” by Animal Collective) as he finishes the dishes. Max tells him to stop. Max is looking at a map online about someplace they are going when Max discovers Paul’s Parkinson’s searches. He looks stricken. 


Paul is in Adele’s office rubbing his temples. He wants aspirin or something and she says she has none. Paul is annoyed. She says he feels she is denying him. Why would she do that? He says -- Cruelty? Power? Control? Youthful clinging to protocol? He says his father did that, would never write out a prescription.  Adele asks about headaches. Paul says that is a symptom of Parkinson’s. She observes he has been researching and he says yes, online but he stopped. He is determined that he has Parkinson’s. He won’t accept any other explanations for his headaches. She asks how are things at home? 


Paul says Jesse showed up with a black eye and got suspended. Adele asks why he brought up Jesse when she asked about home? He defends again saying he is worried he is the wrong person to be seeing him and maybe he should refer Jesse to her. Adele reminds him that he said Max was the reason he returned to therapy. Paul gets up and asks if she has been reading Gina’s book because she said he got invested in his patients at the expense of his family. Paul says he took Max last night to see his favorite band. He says he will make the connection with Jesse if she lets him finish and tells her what happened yesterday. Paul says Jesse was right -- he took the mother’s side. He explains to adele that he felt for Marissa -- that Kate’s fiance is swooping in and trying to take his kids like Karen is with Jesse. Paul wonders if she thinks he is losing his objectivity. Adele says what he is asking is one for a supervisor which was common with Gina but she is not Gina. She says he is having trouble connecting with Max and she asks about Steve. Max says he is a warlock and a Republican, an opinion Paul seems to share. As soon as Kate got engaged, Steve wanted everyone to move into his house which was far from Max’s school. Kate and Steve are not happy with where Max is going to school in Brooklyn and want to send him to an expensive private school. He says sarcastically that maybe he should let Steve raise his kids and he can retire tomorrow. Adele asks if he wants to retire and he says sometimes and that he has been trying to talk with her about failing with patients. But she makes it clear that she doesn’t want to discuss it. She says she thinks he is afraid he is failing Max too.  Adele points out that unlike Jesse with his parents, Max has not rejected Paul but moved closer. Paul says all he does is draw and sleep. He can’t connect with him. She asks about last night -- he asks if she knows Animal Collective, Max’s favorite band. Paul saw that they were playing in NY so he got tickets. Other kids were excited. Max stayed pinned to his side and would come back to check Paul when he pushed him to go closer. Adele asks why it was hard for Paul to watch him do that -- she asks what it felt like to watch him? Why does he think Max did that, check on him. Paul refers to Sunil -- how Sunil would see it. Adele says surely he was not the only parent standing uncomfortably in the back. Paul looks upset. Then he says that he let Max use his computer and that he hadn’t clear the history and Max saw the searches he had done for various Parkinson’s sites. Max asked him if he was sick. Adele asks what he said -- Paul said no, that he was searching for a patient. But Max is bright and catches lies. Max looked at him and he thought Max is scared and felt it important they go to the concert. Paul had been worried about how to tell Max and then it happened that way. They hadn’t spoken about it again. Paul tells her when they got home, he had several drinks and didn’t wake up until Max called him for school. Paul says now she knows why the headache. Adele picks up that Paul slept through. She asks about the dream? She asks if it is the first time he slept in months? She asks if Max usually wakes him up -- Paul gets very defensive. Paul asks if she thinks he intentionally left the history there. 

Week 3: Jesse

Jesse is in the waiting room with Marissa. He is playing with a paper airplane and wearing sunglasses. Paul comes out and Jesse takes off his glasses. Jesse says she came, just like you wanted. He greets Marissa and she returns the greeting. Paul suggests Jesse come in alone first to discuss how to proceed. Jesse said he knows Paul wanted her there so he’s cool.


Jesse looks rather sullen sitting on the far end of the couch away from Marissa -- he has pillows between them. She tells Paul Jesse got beat up at school. Jesse doesn’t tell what happened. She tells Paul he was jumped in the men’s room at the Whitney when they were on a class trip. Jesse interrupts and tells her Paul has something to tell her. Marissa says the school suspended Jesse which she thinks is wrong. Jesse denies it was an attack, that he knew the attacker. Jesse had not told Marissa that. Paul asks if it was Nate. Jesse had let Nate know that his class was going to the Whitney. Nate suggested they meet in the men’s room. They went into one of the stalls and kissed. Jesse clearly wants to make Marissa uncomfortable by describing the scene in graphic detail. Nate said he missed Jesse and Jesse sloughed that off. He insulted Nate and Nate began hitting him. Jesse claims it felt good. Marissa reaches to him, Jesse pulls away and tells her not to touch him. Marissa thinks the school acted as they did because he is gay. She defends him and he disdainfully insults her. Paul tells him he cannot talk to his mother like that in his office. Marissa thanks paul.

Week 3: Frances

Paul in bed on sofa bed  with Wendy who has spent the night. The alarm goes off and Paul says she has to go because Max will soon be up. Paul has been awake for some time reading. Paul asks her if she thinks he has a happiness deficit. She asks if it is because of the novel. He looks tired and sad. He asks her again and she kisses him and tries to turn him on but he stops her.


Paul is napping on the couch when Frances arrives and knocks. He gets up slowly, opens the door and Frances comes in.


She tells him she went to see Patricia and told her about seeing Paul. Frances asks if he going to check up on her and he says no. She archly says he believes her? He says he has no intention of talking with Patricia to check.  Paul says she is giving him a choice --  he can call Patricia and Frances will be jealous or not call and she will be angry. She says she is already jealous. She then holds up a scarf of Izzy’s she took from Patricia’s because Izzy is spending a lot of time with her. She is thinking of inviting Patricia to opening night but her sister doesn’t like such things. Frances complains about Patricia hounding her about the genetic test. Paul asks if she told Tricia she had scheduled it. She says yes, she is going having the test and no, she hasn’t told Patricia. Paul says he thinks Frances interprets her sister’s anxiety as aggression. Frances thinks Patricia is trying to punish her. She tells of when her sister was in college and got the lead in a college play and was excited. Frances seems condescending about it. Patricia wanted her to come see the play. Paul asks how it was and she says it was fine. They went to dinner and Patricia told her she had always thought of being an actress and she was thinking she might really try it. She wanted Frances’ opinion. Frances tells her not to do it, that she didn’t have the talent. Patricia was crushed and never did another play. Frances says she could have encouraged her and didn’t. Paul reminds her she had asked for honest opinion. 

Week 3: Sunil

Max is drawing as Paul comes into his room. Apparently he is sick. Paul takes a piece of paper from Max’s room, opens it in the kitchen and sees a somewhat disturbing drawing of a huge bird (eagle?) looming over buildings.


Sunil brings Paul tea. Paul gives him the photo he left. Sunil asks if he is familiar with “Survivor” and when he says no, he describes it. Sunil is astounded by the show -- that participants are willing to compromise all of their values for $1 million. Paul asks if he is concerned that the show will taint his own dignity because he watched? Asks if he plans to watch again and Sunil tells him the time it is on. Paul comments on Sunil’s animation as he talked about it.


Sunil tells Paul he would be pleased with him because he is trying to be different. Trying to express his frustration. Two nights ago, Julia was in her exercise room and he couldn’t read because of noise of her music. He went to ask her to turn it down. He couldn’t ask her though because of the level of her activity and how punishing she was to herself. Paul says he watched her for quite a while then? Sunil says Paul must find that amusing. Paul reflects that he uses the same kinds of words to describe the female contestants on Survivor that he uses to describe Julia. He shows excitement when he talks about both the show and Julia. Sunil gets out his tobacco. 

Season 3, Week 2

Week 2: Paul & Adele

Paul is leaving a message for Gina -- he has left a message before and hasn’t heard from her. He says she has made some pretty interesting character choices in her novel and he wants to talk with her about that. The message time runs out.

Paul back in Adele’s office. He thanks her for seeing him. He says he knows he was difficult the last time. He says his situation has changed -- his son Max is now living with him. Kate is furious with him for allowing Max to stay. Adele asks how it is for him to have Max with him. He says it has been 2 years since he lived with them. This is the first time he will be playing the role of primary parent. She asks if he feels pressure. He says yes. Paul says he noticed his hand started to shake when he passed the cereal to max. He knows he has to tell Max but he needs help with that and why he came back. She starts to ask him something...

Paul interrupts. He says she was right that he has no one to talk with. Now he can’t have Wendy sleep over with Max there. Wendy wants to live with him and keeps asking to meet Max but he says no. He thought Rosie would have a harder time but she seems fine. Adele again starts to ask something...

Week 2: Jesse

Paul is at his desk reading information online about Parkinson’s. Jesse is outside texting when Max comes up the stairs and enters through the back door. Jesse goes into the waiting room after glancing at Max.

Jesse chews on string of his hoodie. Paul asks if he had thought more about his birth mother. Jesse asks if he has heard of RISD because they have a summer program he is interested in. He says he applied online and sent some of the pictures he showed Paul. Paul asks if he completed the application and Jesse says he did and asks if Paul wants to see the brochure. He showed it to his adoptive mother and she said we can’t afford it -- which Jesse first reports as “we can’t afford that shit”. He won’t ask for financial help. 

Jesse is cocky and flirtatious -- talks crudely about his social worker who is supportive of him. Paul questions this. He says he thinks Paul and his social worker should go out because they are both such sad people. He tells Paul he told his social worker he had the cost under control. Then he says he will prostitute himself then that he will sell his Adderall. Then that he will call Karen,  his birth mother, because she is rich. Paul asks if he has told his parents. He says no, it’s none of their business.  Paul says he thinks he is anxious about telling his parents and about calling Karen back. Paul asks him how likely it is that she will just give him the money.  Jesse gets angry and threatens to leave. Tells Paul to ask him other questions, like how was his week. Jesse lies back on the couch. 

Week 2: Frances

Paul is seeing a doctor who is doing neurological tests. 

Paul and Frances are in session. She says he looks tired. She apologizes for saying that. She shows him a prompter, an ear piece to help with lines. The director wants her to wear it in performances. She says everything is fine and then … Paul asks if she is going to wear it -- she says she told the director she is seeing the finest psychoanalyst in NY. She says the stage manager keeps talking to her about her own memory problems. She says he must think she is frivolous worrying about memory problems and menopause. Paul says she keeps saying things like that. He asks why she uses language like that to describe herself. She says she didn’t plan to talk about those things. And he asks what she is here to talk about. 

Then he asks if she paid attention to what happened when she lost the line, where her mind went. She says she doesn’t know.He tells her to try. She says 2 days ago she remembered she needed to talk with Izzie. Her ex said Izzie is spending time with patricia, whom she likes better. She says Patricia introduced her to her ex.  He was smart and funny and she liked that. And he has -- she pauses -- Paul asks what. She says she was overwhelmed the first time. He was the one who wanted to marry, that he wanted it more than she expected. She says she got pregnant to please him. She says the clock was ticking. Paul asks if she had wanted more time alone. She says she was afraid he wouldn’t want her anymore but he did, he liked her pregnant body. She was afraid that after birth she would be destroyed for sex. She thought she would never recover. He still wanted her. Took pictures of her nursing, thought she was beautiful, but she thought she was fat and ugly. Then she fell in love with nursing, she had a purpose then. Paul says now it seems Izzie doesn’t need her anymore. She says Izzie pushed away when she was 6 or 7. Frances says she lost Izzie a long time ago, but she was surprised to lose her husband when he had an affair with a student. 

Week 2: Sunil

Paul is on the phone talking with Kate. Talking about Max --defending the school near his home. They argue. He tells her he has a patient.

Sunil, having overheard, says he thought patients belong in a hospital. Paul tells him that technically he is Paul’s patient but he won’t use that term if it bothers him.

Sunil apparently had a soft drink spilled on him on the train and resignedly says that’s what happens in America. He did not say anything to the kids who had the soda. They wouldn’t hear him anyway because they all had earbuds in their ears.

Paul asks how it is at home. Sunil says all of them appeared at his door that morning and asked him to take a shower. Paul asks about that -- Sunil wryly says he admits he was starting to smell like a goat.

A photo of Sunil’s wife falls from his notebook. Paul asks to see it and says she is beautiful. Sunil says he is not sleeping well -- he awakes with an ache. Paul tells him he agrees with him that grief does not have a schedule.

Sunil says Paul is not married. And Paul asks why he asks. Sunil asks if he is a widower. Sunil says it is strange to him to do all the talking continuously. He says it is not a conversation if he does all the talking. Paul says he did have a wife but they are divorced. How long married, Sunil asks?  Sunil asks if he misses her and Paul says he does. Sunil says in Hinduism when the wife dies first, she is buried in her red wedding clothes and when he sees that photos he is reminded of her funeral. They had an arranged marriage. Their parents decided they would be married shortly after the first meeting. These things work differently in America he says. Sunil says he was surprised it worked well -- she was his best friend. He says he often thinks of her when he sees Julia. His wife would not approve of the way Julia is raising the grandchildren -- that there is too little discipline. 

Season 3, Week 1

Week 1: Paul & Adele

Paul is on the phone and is holding Gina’s book.  He is in a waiting room of another doctor. He and Wendy are discussing arrangements for the evening. Adele comes out and introduces herself and we meet his new therapist.

Her office is bright, light and modern. Paul comments on that right away and says his office is dark and burrow-like. Paul looks awkward and uncertain about how to begin. Adele reflects that he doesn’t want to be there. He called, he says, because he needs a refill of his Ambien prescription. His doctor in Baltimore had been refilling it but won’t now. So he called her because she is in the neighborhood and had an opening. He reports he has been Ambien every night for 14 months. Paul becomes irritated by Adele’s questions and tells her he had run out on Wednesday and hadn’t slept since Tuesday night. Paul says he didn’t expect her to be so young. She asks about his sleep -- he says he wakes up after a few hours. His college friend referred him, he says, and she remarks that his friend is an excellent doctor. He again attacks her age by saying he thinks she couldn’t know how excellent his friend is because she is so young. His hostility is clear. She remarks about his repeated statements about her age. Paul just wants the prescription. He says he has been in therapy for 20 years and when she asks,  he says  it was with Gina whose name she does not recognize. Paul needs to tell her how important Gina is and says he saw her first for supervision then she became his analyst. And that she had also seen his ex-wife. All of this feels like jousting. She asks if he is an analyst and he says yes.

Week 1: Jesse

Paul is reading the NY review of books. He sees an ad for Gina’s book. Then a knock on the door. He opens the door to a flash going off as his patient enters.

Jesse, a teenager, sits slumped a bit on the couch, his knees jiggling. Tension is his body is evident. He tells Paul he took a lot of good photos that week and put some on Facebook. He tried to friend Paul but discovered he isn’t on FB for which he admonishes him. 

Jesse says he likes the word bifurcated and then they spar a little about the way Merriam (of Merriam-Webster) is pronounced and Paul reveals a bit of dictionary trivia he knows. 

Jesse is gay. He talks in a dramatic and slightly pressured way.Swinging quickly from anger to a quieter state. He says he loves his camera and when Paul asks who gave it to him, he says he doesn’t remember, which is odd. Then he shows Paul pictures in the camera. Among them are photos in a bar. Paul asks when that was,  to which Jesse vaguely says Friday though Paul says the date stamp says Tuesday. Paul asks if it was at Josh and Rafe’s bar and was it last night? Jesse reluctantly confesses. Paul asks if he went to school that day. He says no. Paul reminds Jesse that he had said he wouldn’t go back to see them because he felt used by them, because they think he is a student at NYU. Paul says he is a minor and it is illegal for them to be with him. And Jesse says he will soon be 17, that they are safe and they always use condoms. His movements become more agitated. Paul asks if Jesse is taking his Adderall. Jesse says he means is he selling it. Jesse then says he found an app that allows him to see who is looking for a hookup. Paul told him to put the phone away.

Week 1: Frances

Paul is putting water into a vase with some white peonies. He opens the door and his patient is there -- early.

Thus we meet Frances, whose sister, Patricia, was Paul’s patient 18 years ago. She starts by asking if she looks like sister. Followed by talk between them of the ethics of Frances becoming Paul’s patient. He says given that it was so long in the past and that she is no longer seeing him, it is all right if Patricia is okay with it.

Frances says she called because she is opening in "Night of the Iguana" and is having trouble remembering lines. She asks if Paul sees her as a former star and then makes a joke about being the cliched narcissistic actress. Paul asks about her previous history and therapy. She ticks off a variety of alternative kinds of approaches, including seeing a shaman when she was on location. Then again in an attempt at humor suggests it is  cliche that she is coming to therapy, to the therapist her sister saw when her mother was dying. Frances says she was never attracted to traditional therapy because it seems naked, sitting and talking. She is anxious. She refers again to her sister. And then returns to the issue of the forgetting lines. She tells Paul she learns the lines and then in rehearsal, she loses them. Paul asks if the part makes her uncomfortable, if she trips over lines in particular places. She denies this is the case and asks if he saw Ava Gardner in the film version. Then that she has heard that one of the producers didn’t want her because she is too old.

Week 1: Sunil

Episode opens with Paul talking on the phone to his son. And we learn thus that his wife has moved in with another man and Max doesn’t like him. He and Kate spar with each other, she hangs up. Wendy, the woman he mentioned to Gina at the end last season, seems to be living with Paul.

Paul has a tremor in his right hand -- remember, his father died of Parkinson’s -- which we see when he puts down the phone.

First patient and first visit: Sunil’s son and daughter-in-law bring him to the appointment.  Sunil certainly looks depressed -- his face and his body reflect his sadness eloquently. Son, Aaron, and daughter-in-law Julia come in to session -- Paul comments on this as unusual. 

Sumil has been in New York for 5 months following the death of his wife and is having trouble adjusting. As Julia talks about what the problems they are concerned about are, we see she seems to be in charge, angry and wanting Sunil to be gone, though she doesn’t say that. The son seems rather passive and caught between his father and his controlling wife. At one point, Julia wants to talk with Paul without Sunil in the room, but Paul refuses.

Looking AHead

Let's start this season with a little previewing.

This year, Paul will see 3 patients and then see his own therapist. The patients are:

Sunil -- a Bengali man who has moved to New York to live with his son and daughter-in-law. He is depressed and unhappy with his new situation.

Frances, a former movie star struggling with aging.

Jesse -- a gay teenager with issues with both his adoptive parent and his biological mother.

Paul is seeing Adele, as Gina has retired.

The NY Times and Los Angeles Times both have articles about the show.

Starting Monday!

HBO's In Treatment starts the new season, season 3, on Monday October 25. New episodes will run on Mondays and Tuesdays. Here is a preview of this season's characters.


© Cheryl Fuller, 2016. All  rights reserved.