Paul is on the train. A large man takes the seat next to him and starts eating and talking. Paul looks uncomfortable. He lies to the man when asked what he does and says he is in sales.
Gina greets him at the door. She has redecorated. Paul has not talked with her in a while. He asks if his lawyer called about the malpractice case. She says he did and she will be deposed though she doesn’t know how much help she can be.
There is a knock and a woman has come back to get her glasses. She and Paul know each other. Gina identifies Paul as a friend not a patient. Gina tells him she is seeing patients, that her book is doing well and she asks if he has read it. He says he hasn’t, that he isn’t ready for it.
Paul tells her this is the first time in his life he has lived alone.
Paul is gloomy about the suit and the outcome of it. He is afraid he will lose his license, his apartment. He says he doesn’t care if he loses his license because he is sick of sitting day after day listening to people’s problems.
He asks Gina why they do this, why they do their work? He says his office is in his living room. He sleeps in the living room.
Paul is still angry — at Kate, at life. He realizes he has come because he needs clarity in his life, he needs help.
Paul tells Gina he wants her to tell him what to do — how to feel about everything. He doesn’t know how he feels. He tells her he needs her help.
Gina offers him a drink. She says it’s fun not having therapy and they toast to friendship.
They move in and out of casual conversation and then they turn again to therapy talk. He tells her about April. He asks what does a good therapist do when a patient needs more than just talk? Gina connects the anger Paul feels to the anger he felt toward Alex and to anger he felt about his mother. And he tells her he does not want to go into therapy. They move back into his anger about his mother’s death and how it connects to his feelings and fears about his patients.
Paul asks what if he said he wanted to come to her for therapy. She asks if he can trust her. Gina agrees. They settle on the time.
And now Paul is back to see Gina, ostensibly to discuss the pending malpractice case. But it soon becomes clear that Paul wants more as he asks Gina what to do and how to feel, very much as Walter asked him.
The unspoken elephant in the room with Paul and Gina is the dual relationship they have. In fact it is even more complicated than that – they have been friends, colleagues, she has been his therapist and supervisor. And the lines between the roles become too easily blurred. As they did repeatedly in this session where she identifies him as a friend, shares a drink with him as a friend, talks about Alex with him as a colleague and supervisor, and responds to his deeper issues as a therapist.
At the very end, Paul finally asks Gina if she will see him in therapy and after perfunctorily questioning whether he can trust her, she agrees. Much as I believe that Paul does indeed need to be in therapy, it should not be with Gina. And Gina should not have agreed *unless* she is willing to make it clear that if they are to work together in therapy, the friendship must close and priority given not just now but in the future to the therapy relationship. But she didn’t. She established no expectations except that they settle on a time. This does not bode well for the therapy.