Over on my other site I have spoken about the Myths of Therapy especially that which is shown in television and film. A lot of themes in television and film tend to make comedy out of treatment, and as I have mentioned before, there is a major dissonance between what happens in therapy on-screen and what actually happens in therapy in real life. In terms of television, therapy is done pretty poorly overall, except in my opinion in the drama In Treatment which goes to show that therapy on TV can actually be done well. Gabriel Byrne plays the character of Dr Paul Weston who is conducting treatment from his practice which is based in his own home.
One of the only criticisms I have of this show in relation to it’s portrayal of therapy is the erotic fixation of patient Laura on her therapist Paul. It seems that this relationship focusses on the somewhat ‘cheap’ theme of patients falling in love with their therapists as a way to manage their own feelings about their life in general. I don’t believe that this is as prevalent in real therapy as it is often portrayed. In saying this, it is a minor criticism for a wonderful show, Byrne is completely immersed in his character, the pauses, the mannerisms, facial expressions and awkwardness are all what I would expect to see in a real therapy environment.
So in saying all of this, In Treatment is my pick for realism in psychology on TV, what is yours, is there anyone else who does it better, either on TV or in film?