LA Shrinks

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Wed­nes­day, 9.30pm, Arena ‘‘ Ev­ery­body’s f . . ked up in their own per­sonal way.’’ ‘‘ Why do you want Dad at the wed­ding? He’s an ass­hole.’’ Doesn’t sound like dia­logue from In Treat­ment, does it? That’s be­cause, as op­posed to Gabriel Byrne’s en­dur­ing and ex­cel­lent drama about the pro­fes­sional and per­sonal lives of a ther­a­pist, this is a re­al­ity ver­sion of the pro­fes­sional lives of prac­ti­tion­ers who live and work in Lost An­ge­les. State­ments such as ‘‘ ev­ery­one ex­pects ther­a­pists to have th­ese per­fect lives’’ and ‘‘ we’re hu­man be­ings’’ are just plain ridicu­lous. I sus­pect that if peo­ple in LA think ther­a­pists are any­thing but or­di­nary if skilled peo­ple, they re­ally have been watch­ing too much TV. And, of course, that goes to the way ther­apy is pre­sented on TV, a dis­cus­sion far too com­pli­cated to go into here. But my main reser­va­tion is that, by its very na­ture, psy­chother­apy is pri­vate and con­fi­den­tial. The ses­sions here are like Punch and Judy shows at a car­ni­val. Too much con­trived con­flict, too many value judg­ments (‘‘stop talk­ing that non­sense at once’’) and, in some cases, way too much Bo­tox. Only in LA.

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