In Treatment -- Oliver, week 3

Paul is doing a video chat with his son about how he is doing in school. There's a knock on the door and Paul tells his son he has to go because he has a patient. Max thinks it is a girlfriend.

Bess arrives to pick up the turtle. As Paul gets the turtle, Bess says Oliver has been with Luke all week. She tells him she had time to read and had a difficult three hour phone call with her sister. Bess gives Paul cookies for having cared for the turtle. Bess seems to be seeking care from Paul for herself.

Oliver and his parents are all on the couch. Paul asks how the week was. Oliver says great. He and his father went to a basketball game, watched The Godfather, went to museums. Bess asks how he slept and he says fine. Bess is looking for problems. She brings up the turtle that Oliver forgot. Oliver takes out some electronic device and says again that he got his homework done, that Nina came to help him. Bess is not happy that Nina was there. Bess feels that Luke asked Oliver to keep Nina a secret. But Oliver says he already knew her because she was his teacher last year. Bess is angry. Oliver doesn't want to say more because whatever he says makes it worse. Paul suggests that he and Oliver go to the waiting room so Luke and Bess can talk.

Oliver tells Paul he thinks he shouldn't have said anything. He thought that if he stayed at his dad's, they would get along better but they are fighting again. He tells Paul he still had trouble falling asleep. His dad sat at his desk and watched him. Paul asks how that felt. He says it felt like he was guarding him. Oliver says he doesn't feel comfortable anywhere. Paul asks if he felt comfortable with Nina. He says he missed his mom. Paul asks if he feels he has to keep secrets from his mom and dad so they don't get upset. He tells him  he can't make them happy or sad. Paul talks about the turtle, that he always carries his house on his back. Oliver says he noticed when his mom brought the turtle, it was in a shoe box but it wasn't his so he asks if Paul has a son. He thinks Paul is a good dad. Oliver says he thinks his son doesn't live there because he comes right after school and doesn't see him. He thinks he must miss Paul, that he lives with his mom. He says he would like to meet him. He wants to know if Max has brothers or sisters. He says he was supposed to get one, that they were going to adopt to Africa but then it didn't happen. He doesn't know what happened because his parents didn't talk to him about it. He doesn't want to go back into the room with his parents.

Bess is angry because she thinks they agreed it was too soon for Oliver to meet anyone Luke is dating. Luke says there wasn't an agreement, she issues a decree. Paul says they need to learn to be straightforward with each other. Paul asks about the adoption. Bess wanted to adopt for a long time. Luke went along with her to make her happy. Bess did all the forms for the adoption. When they got the referral, she showed Oliver the picture and they were excited. When she showed Luke, he looked at the picture and knew he couldn't do it because they were so unhappy and that they couldn't fix it and announced he was leaving. Paul tells them Oliver needs for them to find a way to make decisions as a team and to tell him things. He tells them Oliver still doesn't know there won't be an adoption. Bess asks if they can bring him in to talk about it. 

When Paul goes to get Oliver, he finds him asleep on the couch.


Paul is excellent with Oliver. We see later, when Paul is talking with Gina, that Paul knows how Oliver feels because like him, he was unable to talk with his father or know how to be with him. And we saw that Max has the same problem with Paul. Three boys, all left with their mothers and uncomfortable with their fathers. And Oliver wants to meet Paul's son, believing he would find in him someone who has the same situation he has.

Paul's empathy for Oliver enables him to create comfort for Oliver, enough that Oliver falls asleep on the couch while his parents are with Paul.  April and Oliver both fall asleep in space provided by Paul which indicates the trust that is developing there. 

Oliver is caught between his father who tries to keep him busy and entertained and his mother who wants to protect and cocoon him. Neither seems able to consider what Oliver might want or need. And it falls to Oliver to try to protect them from his fears and feelings. 


© Cheryl Fuller, 2016. All  rights reserved.