Ep 073 – In Treatment on HBO

BeREAL, podcast

Welcome back to BeREAL! This week we just have the BeREAL team here, and Diana and Ednesha are discussing In Treatment on HBO.

Image of our NYC Psychotherapists discussing In Treatment on HBO. Image reads "BeREAL the podcast - episode 73 'In Treatment"

The two begin the episode by explaining the premise of In Treatment on HBO. They talk about how it used to feature a white male clinician and now it features a black female clinician. They go over the cast and their characters and compare them to situations they encounter daily in real life. They also note that the show takes place during COVID times, and the clinician sees her clients in her home. 


The first note they give the show is that it doesn’t depict a therapist who sets boundaries with her patients. They call her at unreasonable hours and she always responds to their beck and call. It also is set during COVID but hardly addresses the mask/vaccine question that many clinicians are asking themselves as they return to in person sessions. A good thing the show outlines, however, is a realistic depiction of the cost and payment methods of therapy. One patient struggles to afford her rates while another is seen pro bono due to legal reasons. Ednesha points out that this highlights an important quality therapists must have. They must be able to take money and believe that their work is worth the money they are given.


Diana also notes that the show speeds up treatment for a narrative purpose. The work that is accomplished in the show’s four weeks would take at least a year, if not more, in real time. One example of this is the character of Eladio is challenged to view himself beyond his bipolar disorder diagnosis. Having worked in a clinic, Ednesha is aware that clinicians are made to diagnose patients so that Medicaid can cover their session fees. However, she also notes that clients can then cling to those diagnoses when therapists care more about relationships than medical conditions. 


Diana also notes that In Treatment on HBO is a great example of why therapists should be in therapy. The therapist depicted lets her past flood into her sessions with patients. It also changes the relationship the therapist has with her patient. Clinicians should have their own therapist so this doesn’t happen, and they can remain an unbiased third party in the patient’s life. 


After a short break, they return to discuss another patient depicted in In Treatment on HBO. Colin is a white man who recently was released from prison for white collar crime. He comes into her home inebriated and angry. Ednesha says that that is the exact reason she would not hold sessions in her home. However, with COVID and Zoom, patients are slightly let into the lives of their therapists. They can see their living rooms or offices and hear background noise. Diana and Ednesha discuss how this has altered some relationships they have with clinicians. Lastly, they debunk the fantasy that you want your therapist to be your close friend. In reality, you want them to remain unbiased and outside your personal life so they can truly be told anything. 


Thank you for tuning into BeREAL this week. Be on the lookout for an all new episode next week. In the meantime, make sure to check out last week’s episode on Money Emotions

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