Tonight we meet Sophie, a 16 yr old who has come to see Paul for a professional evaluation for her lawsuit. We see that both of her arms are in casts and she tells us a bit about her accident, while claiming amnesia for any details.
The episode opens with Paul’s son angling to stay home from school and getting caught out in the process. He storms out of the room telling Paul, “You never believe me!” — which we should know will figure in Paul’s work with Sophie.
Sophie declares she is not interested in therapy. She essentially tells Paul she wants as little interaction with him as possible in order to get the evaluation. So she begins as many adolescents do, with great reluctance and mistrust about the process. Paul, and we, can feel that there is more here to Sophie than meets the eye and he skillfully woos her into talking more than she’d planned and into coming back for 3 more sessions. He expertly gains some trust from her and subtly engages her in the process without pushing hard or making her take flight, though at one point near the beginning she does start to bolt. His work with her was a pleasure to watch.
As Sophie talks about how close she is to her father, who moves so often she has to call 411 to get his phone number, and says that he and her coach are the only two people who love, there is the hint that something is very wrong in Sophie’s world. This accident is not her first one where she flies off a moving vehicle and injures herself in what looks enough like suicide attempts to have been named just that. Two accidents like that in a couple of years for one kid set off alarm bells. And then the drawing on her cast of the mermaid made by her male coach. My hunch is that some sexual boundaries have been crossed.
Paul is wise to take this very slowly. He has to win her over, to let her develop trust in him, to be the good father, reliable an present that she needs in her life — we see that in her questions about Paul’s daughter.
Nice work, Paul!
Tomorrow night — Jake & Amy