In Treatment 2 -- Gina, Week 7

Gina is reading a letter. She puts it away in her desk. Apparently Paul is late.

Paul tells her he has asked his lawyer to call him while he is there if there is news about the hearing. He decided not to send the letter after talking with Rosie. Paul overslept and missed the hearing -- his lawyer had told him he didn't have to be there and he knows he didn't want to be there. He asks Gina about her life.

Gina says she wants to know what his lawyer thought about the hearing. Paul tells her he thought it had gone well. Gina reflects that he has been under enormous pressure all year. He compliments her on how she looks. Paul tells her about when he was in grad school and how all the students were so in love with her. They were fascinated with her ad wanted to know all about her.

Paul asks what is happening with her today. Paul's phone rings and it is his lawyer. He asks her to stay. The judge was livid at Alex's father for wasting everyone's time, that there were no triable actions of fact. The case is being thrown out. Gina smiles and tells him how happy she is. 

She asks Paul what he is going to do. How did he do with his patients this week. He tells her that to his surprise it went well, doing what she had told him. He tells her April left, and that in part it is because he took her to chemo, but she also needs to stop thinking about herself. He says he is proud of her as well as concerned. He says he understood her reasoning and that surprised him. He talks about the similarities between Walter and April. He says that he realizes that practicing this way he may never know if he is helping or not. He sees that what he can do is walk with them for a while as they make sense of their lives. He doesn't have to be perfect. He also knows he doesn't want to work with Gina.

She is upset though she denies taking it personally. She says she is disappointed that they are here again. He says he is not stopping with her in anger. Gina tells him she wants to be sure he knows why he is doing what he is doing. She tells him she knows she crossed a line and she also knows he lost two patients in the past week. So he thinks he should let her go too, Gina says she has come to represent everything he resents in his work. She says if he needs to go, he should go. But she is concerned he is punishing her for failing to protect him. She asks if there is a connection between the ending of the suit and ending therapy. He says he can't keep coming to her for the mothering he didn't get. He says he plans to keep being a therapist. He says he hates his chair. She asks if he wants to practice standing up. Gina asks if he has thought about supervising. She says she thinks he would be good at it. Paul says he knows he needs to be with more people. GIna says part of her would love to let him go but she is concerned about the timing. She asks if he met someone this week. He tells Gina about meeting a woman and he plans to see her again. Paul asks if Gina has a date and she admits she does.

Paul tells her she is an excellent therapist, that he wouldn't have survived without her. Gina tells him that she is not going to say that her door is always open. He says he understands.


This is the ending I expected. I have said all along that Paul should not be seeing Gina for therapy because their relationship is too tangled. Ad in a way that is what he tells her when he says he wants to end it. She has indeed seen him through the crises of the last year -- Laura, Alex, the divorce, the lawsuit, the death of his father, his professional crisis. He needed her and she was there. But last week she did not play the good loving mother to him when she got angry with him and I believe that burst a bubble he had about her. He makes several references this week to Gina;s holding to boundaries and Paul resents this, because it clearly marks him as a patient and not as her friend, her student, her surrogate son. And once the need for the mother is ended, with the resolution of the suit, he wants to be rid of her.

Paul is right. He needs more of a life. It is an all too common error for therapists to have too few social contacts, too little time with friends who are not also therapists, and thus they can tend to seek to get their intimacy needs met through their patients. This is what Paul has been doing. Several patients this week remarked on Paul's solitary life, where his work and living space blur together. But Paul also still needs to be in therapy because he has by no means worked his way through the many issues that have come to the fore this year. He wants to see himself as like April -- as needing to take time now to live without all the self analysis and inspection. But he is not April. And developing a richer life and being in therapy are not mutually exclusive. Just as he expresses concern that April hasn't the resources to deal with the next crisis, so also I doubt Paul has them either. 

At the end when Gina says he r door won't be open to him again, she does herself and Paul a great favor. She is unwilling to deal with him again, to accept the abuse he tends to heap on her along with his refusal to stay and deal with it. This is a boundary she needed to set last year. Better late than never. 

Later this week I will post reflections on the whole season.


© Cheryl Fuller, 2016. All  rights reserved.