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In Treatment (2021)

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What it’s about:

In Treatment captures the intricate and sometimes messy side of human relationships and how they unfold in the therapist’s office. The series doesn’t shy away from depicting the complexities of the human psyche, which gives us a snapshot of how vulnerable it is to tell a stranger (even a professional) your problems and deepest secrets.

Names you might know:

If you love Orange Is the New Black, you’ll recognize Emmy-award-winning actor Uzo Aduba, who plays Dr. Brooke Taylor. Fans of A Star is Born, Hamilton, and In the Heights will recognize actor Anthony Ramos, who plays Taylor’s patient Eladio.

Why it’s worth your time:

If you enjoyed the HBO series In Treatment the first time around, or if you’ve always wondered what therapy is all about, you’ll love the revival of this popular show. Ten years after the series premiered, it returns for its fourth season, but this time there’s a new therapist on the block, Dr. Brooke Taylor.

As a psychologist, I watched the series to see how it approaches the realities of today’s clinical practices. When Brooke tells several patients about her father’s recent death, we see her personal struggles unfold, and her disclosure depicts the real-world struggle many therapists face as they process their own grief during the pandemic.

Brooke’s patients do a good job of showing some common fears and behaviors that arise in therapy. For instance, Brooke’s patient, Colin, insists on swearing throughout his session, merely as a way to provoke Dr. Taylor and test her boundaries. When Brooke refuses to write her patient, Eladio, a prescription for sleeping pills, he threatens to quit seeing her. These scenes highlight how therapy can unleash your deepest vulnerabilities and when this happens, defenses often surface. And at a time when many of us are struggling with anxiety, depression, and trauma, watching Brooke’s patients talk about their hardships can remind us that we’re not alone.

The takeaway:

A somewhat accurate portrayal of therapy, In Treatment seeks to dismantle therapy stereotypes. Instead of asking, “How does that make you feel?” or acting like a Freudian “blank slate,” therapist Brooke is talkative, confrontational, and engaging with her patients. Most importantly, In Treatment depicts the vital relationship between a therapist and patient, and the meaningful role it plays in fostering growth and change.

Watch it with:

In Treatment is a show that many people will relate to, especially since mental health concerns are at an all-time high. Watch it with your partner, friends, or close family members. Given the mature nature of the show, it may not be appropriate for kids under the age of 15. If you’ve experienced a recent loss or trauma, the show may trigger uncomfortable feelings and memories. That said, In Treatment may also be a prompt that gives you permission to finally open-up about your emotions.

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