The SH*T That Happens To Me : Introducing: Psychoanalyzing the Patient

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On Psychoanalyzing The Patient Podcast, we’ll take a peek behind the scenes, talking to the cast and crew about what it was like to create these darkly complicated characters. We’ll also play armchair psychologists, talking to experts in the field of psychology, uncovering the themes and motivations of the characters, speculating about their past, and plotting their fate.

Welcome to the first episode of Psychoanalyzing the Patient! Our hosts (Stacey Nye & Lindsay Jones) welcome Dr. Frank Summers to the show.

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The SH*T That Happens To Me
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Episode transcripts

Straw media. Hi and welcome topsychoanalyzing the patient podcast. Join me,
stacy and I and me Lindsay Jones, as we try to uncover each character's
dynamics by talking to experts in thefield of psychology, as well as members
of the cast and crew. Sodon't be late. Our session begins now.
All right, we're gonna talk aboutthe first episode of the patient,
but before we talk about the firstepisode of the patient, we have to
say we're literally about to tell youthe entire episode. So if you,
for some reason, have not watchedthe first episode of the patient yet,
please stop this podcast right now andgo watch it on Hulu and then come
back and hit play so that wewill not have spoiled any of it for
you. You have been warned.It opens on Alan, who is a
therapist played by Steve Carrell Um.He wakes up in a dimly lit based
it and discovers that his ankle ischained to a bed. He tries to
get free, he can't figure outwhere he is. He's yelling for help.
No one responds and while worth withhim, we start to flashback on
his life. He's a therapist.He sees patients Um. He has a
new patient that has recently come intohis practice, gene, played by Dom
Hall gleason, Um, who's sortof like this generally looking guy who seems
like he has problems. He won'ttake off his sunglasses, he's kind of
uncooperative as a patient goes. Hesays that his dad beat him up a
lot as a kid. Um,but we can't really seem to get to
what's going on with Jean. Um. So eventually Alan sort of tries to
inspire Jean to sort of be moreforthcoming, and that doesn't really seem to
work out all that well. Um. Meanwhile we learn more about Alan.
We realized through his interaction with hispatients that his wife has recently died.
We also see him briefly interact withhis son, and doesn't seem like it's
going very well. Um. Andfor the most part, uh Alan lives
a very solitary life as a therapistby himself. Um. We go back
to the basement and we discover thatin fact gene has locked him up in
this basement, Um, and thathe has locked him up there and tells
him first of all that his realname is not gene, it is Sam,
but in fact, in addition tothat being a big secret, the
real secret is is that SAM isin fact a serial killer and he believes
that he needs to have help forhis problems, and so he took Um
Alan's advice to really confront the problemhead on by kidnapping Alan, bringing him
to the basement and forcing him toprovide therapy for him in the hopes that
Alan can somehow make him feel better. Um We also find out that he
wanted specifically a Jewish therapist. Helooked for the three but Jew therapists and
he could find and he thought Alanwas the best one, and that's why
he's here and that is how weend the first episode of the patient.
So that was a remarkable moment forme when he says, you know,
I met with three different Jewish therapistsand I chose you, and then he
smiles like he's really proud of himself, and Steve Carrell's face is like,
oh, what, you know,because he's already locked up at this point.
You know, like Oh no,I don't feel too good about that.
You know, like it was essentiallya compliment, but you know,
like not the kind of compliment anyonewants right no, no, no one
ever wants to feel like you're theright person for me to kidnap and put
in a basement right right there.There was also, there were a couple
of interesting things that happened that Ijust wanted to, you know, chat
about. Two. So there wasthis U dream that Alan has right where
he wakes up and, Um,well, you don't know what's a dream
at first. He wakes up andhis wife is lying next to him and
she's holding her guitar, and thenyou hear this baby crying in the distance
and and he goes to check onthe baby and the baby's got this like
monster face. That was like totallycreepy. So what did you what do
you think that means? Any thoughtsabout that? No, I mean,
I really don't like I was justgrappling with the part where I feel he's
so traumatized for being in this situationthat he has no control over that.
Who knows what the dreams mean atthis point? The other thing that I
thought was interesting was just like hiskind of quiet life right like he's flossing
his teeth. He seems like itdoes a good job flossing his teeth and,
you know, making himself food andcutting up his fruit and putting like
foot cream on like Um, likethat's kind of I don't know, I
was just wondering about that. Likewhat did you think about that, Lindsay?
I mean, it definitely reinforces thepart where he is alone and lonely
and definitely seems like in a way, he has kind of retreated from his
himself a little bit. He seemsdefinitely like his entire demeanor feels very um
heavy, as if he is reallyholding a lot of stuff in about himself
and he doesn't seem to be atease with anything. He's just looks like
he's kind of going through the motionsa little bit. I have one other
thing to add, because I wastelling talking to my friend Stephie. Here's
a shout out to my friend Stephie, I watch all these shows with anyway.
She sent me a text yesterday thatsaid something like I kind of hate
it when they make the serial killerkind of attractive, and I just like
burst out laughing when I read that, like okay, like, I guess
we're not supposed to be attracted tothe serial killer, but, Um,
you know, and and I andI texted you yesterday and I said wait,
this Domino Gleeson is, you know, played one of the weasley twins
in all the Harry Potter films andUm, he's Brendan gleason's son. So
he's really, you know, Um, quite well known. Of course Steve
Carrell is, Um, so wellknown. Um. So it's going to
be a great show. Yeah,you wouldn't know that he wasn't American from
the show right. He's got notrace of his Irish accent at all.
None at all. Nothing. Sowhat do you think is going to happen
next? I mean, we knowwe watched the second episode right away,
but where do you think it's gonnago? Do you think he's gonna cure
him? I don't know. Imean I don't know. Can You cure
him? What? What does itcure mean? What is that? What
is that? I don't even know. There's I mean, on the one
hand you're like kind of rooting forSteve Garrel just to get free, but
then you're like what happens if heguests free? Like what, how do
we get out of this? SoI don't know. I have to say
I'm really worried for him. Yeah, I think that's a good question because,
like, how can this possibly end? You know, like he's not
gonna I'm gonna tell you right now, he's not going to cure him intense
sessions and so so someone has todie. That's my prediction. Someone has
to die and it's either going tobe Alan or SAM. All right,
well, it sounds like we needan expert here. Stacy, who is
our guest this week. Dr FrankSummers is a training and supervising analyst at
the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. Hehas authored several books and has published widely
in psychoanalytic journals. He holds severalhonors and distinctions for numerous distinguished professional organizations
around the country, including professor ofClinical Psychiatry and the behavioral sciences at Fineberg
School of Medicine at Northwestern University,where he was my clinical supervisor. One
of the things I've got to saythat I do want to say, just
to kind of lead in here,is because I know that you know that
you were my supervisor in in GraduateSchool, and I don't know if you
know this. You probably do,but you know you're a little intimidating back
then. You know, a fewyears ago that was. Do you know
that that you were a little intimidatingback then? Frank, I have heard
that said. Yes, you've heardthat. Okay, I never experienced myself
that way. Never quite believed it, but you're not the first person to
tell me that. Yeah, okay, well, but I'm so glad that
you know, Um, we're onthe other side of that now and I
we can just be colleagues. Soso I'm just gonna say welcome, Frank,
how are you? I'm just fine. Thank you, and thank you
so much for having me on theshow and inviting me. I'm really looking
forward to this. Thanks for beinghere. I'm totally not intimidated by you.
There's no reason to be. Okay, good, my children aren't.
I don't know anyone else ships Ihave a similar relationship with my children.
So I thought of you, frank, when Um, we came up with
this idea to Um do a podcaston this show, because I thought who
what what psychologist? What I mostwant to talk to about? How how
the psychologist is, you know,Um played here and the patient and the
whole process. So so I'm reallyexcited and I'm just gonna say, like,
what do you think? Of theshow. So are you watched the
first episode? Yeah, I did. It was actually watched the first two
as that was the second one also. But Um, sneak the head.
But Um, I really liked it. I thought it was very creative.
The idea is very creative. Ithink there are some, as you'll see,
I think, some flaws in it, but I think that concept is
creative. I think it's very dramatic. I think it's fascinating the interaction between
the two characters. Um, whoeverthought of the idea I think deserves a
lot of credit coming up with areal, UM, thoughtful, creative way
to kind of get two people tointeract to Um in ways that they would
not ever have been able to doin any other context. I don't think.
Yeah, so, Um, soI like to show. It's a
kind of show that pulled me inand I probably will watch all the episodes.
Oh good, thank you. Itcomes out. Yeah, I have
to say, watching it right away, the first thing that really occurred to
me was just like what a dailylife a therapist is like that, like
that when they it's flashes back tohis life at the big you know,
before before the scenario begins, andyou're sort of seeing this sort of like
collage of patients, this montage ofpatients that go by, and this is
probably because, Um, I'm nota therapist at all and I only understand
therapy from being a patient, whichis basically I walk into the office and
I talk all about myself and thenI leave and I think, wow,
that must have been really interesting forthe person who had to sit there with
me. But that actually it islike this sort of montage of people who
are coming in with their their things. Does it feel like that when you're
a therapist? Does it feel likeyou're just like in a wash of people
and there and their problems and itstarts to all blend together like that?
Is that? Is that how itis? And well, everything, I
would say yes, up until whenyou say they blend together, and to
me people don't Blod together so much. But the montage of people coming in,
that's what's fascinating about it. That'swhat I love about it. Everybody's
different. One thing you learn rightaway as a psychotherapist, and I think
I conveyed this to stacy, wouldchoose my student, so many years ago,
is that you first you realize thateverybody is different and everybody assumes the
way they are is the way theworld is. Everyone assumes, well,
of course this is how it isbecause that's how they were brought up,
that's all they know, right,but it's totally different from the next person
who walks in who says, well, of course this is how it is,
and it's totally different. Right,because whatever your experience was, that's
how you just think the world is. That's how you think a family is.
If you were beaten up, youthink every kid gets beaten up,
if you were treated with kid glovesand in a sensitivity, you assume that
that's how all parents are. Andso, Um, that's one of the
fascinating things about it. My impression, frank from this the therapy that Alan
is doing. It looks to melike he's doing some psychodynamics, I called
therapy. So he's not doing analysis. But Um, I loved the comment
he makes to who he thinks isgene at the time about gene not opening
up and how he feels a littlefrustrated, and so he wonders if Jane
feels that way too. He wasusing his counter transference to get, you
know, to make a like aninterpretation and and get gene to kind of
open up. What did you thinkabout that? That's interesting, because I
had a different take on it.I didn't like it really. So you
didn't like it. I didn't likeit because I felt he was angling to
get rid of the guy. That'show it sounded to me. Like he
was saying, you know, look, let's face it, this isn't working.
You know, you're not opening up, this is not working. I
feel frustrated. You feel frustrated.You know now the patient didn't let it
get there, but I thought thenext thing I expected out of his mouth
was saying, you know, maybethis just asn't working. That's how it
sounded to me. But what Ididn't like about it is that to me
it sounded too much like blaming thepatient. You know, it's like we're
not getting anywhere and it's your faultbecause you're not opening up, and that
I don't think is helpful to people. What I would have said, and
I wouldn't have said all that atone time like you did, because I
don't believe you should talk that muchat one time because the patient is too
much to respond to. But Icould see myself saying to this guy something
like you know, I noticed thatevery time we start to get to something
that feels that all emotional, youdeflect. If you notice that yourself,
you know this is in the contextof moving the process forward, not that
you're frustrating me or you make itdifficult, you know, because if you're
not getting anywhere, it's like haveyou noticed that? Because that's part of
the process. I have never hada patient who didn't defend against their feelings.
Ever, ever, the healthiest thesicket. You know, everybody wants
to get better, but nobody wantsto change right. Well, I do
think that. Actually, Jean didn'ttake it well and, you know,
says something like well, maybe I'mnot cut out for this and then basically
kidnaps the therapist. So well,maybe maybe they'll work better here. So
you you know, it's I thinkyou're right about the whole thing. So
when he said, you know,Um, maybe him that could up for
this, this is the kind ofthing you would expect convocation when most patients
would say something like that. Soyou're telling me I'm let a good candidate
for psychotherapy. You're telling me Ican't be helped. That's how most patients
would react to it. And,Um, you can sort of tell that
he's agitated, even though you can'tnecessarily understand why he's agitated like that.
That clearly hasn't been there. AndI guess this is probably my number one
question as a non therapist, whichis probably an incredibly stupid question, but
what is the difference? Can youassess the difference between a person who has
actual difficulties versus a person that's justreally annoyed? You know what I mean?
Like this's just like an annoying personversus like a person who actually is
is struggling with something like that.They have a personality that is Um,
aggressive or is difficult, versus,okay, I can see they're actually they're
actually dealing with something. How doyou how do you assess that? Well,
tell me what you mean by annoyingperson. I mean what's just an
annoying person? Like a person whois just, let's say, naturally defensive
or naturally Um uh, just notterribly outgoing. They're not very they don't
like to share their feelings. Therethat their personality is such that they Um,
they are not it's not a naturalconversation. You feel like you have
to drag information out of them Uversus a person who you can tell is
reticent because they are hesitant to share. In this case, they're hesitant to
share that, in fact, theyhave a compulsion to kill people. Um,
but I'm assuming that's not usually howit always goes that. But that
people that you you feel like they'reyou're sort of looking for the secret of
that person and you're trying to determinewhether that person is holding out because they're
afflicted in some way or just theydon't want to share it with you.
Yeah, yeah, I see whichyou mean. Well, the person you're
calling just annoying person is basically whatyou're what you're describing as a defensive structure.
Okay, they're characterologically defensive, iswhat you're saying. That there isn't.
There isn't such a clear distinction betweenthose two as you think there is.
Okay, Um, somebody who's justlike you say, they're characterologically overaggressive,
or they're they ascend people or whatever. They're defensive, but their defenses
are much more difficult to do withbecause their characterologically defending. Okay, the
other kind of person also uses theirdefenses, but they use them in a
more circumscribed way. Okay, that'swhat you're talking about. To protect themselves
against something then want other people toknow about or they're afraid about it themselves.
The other person is too, butit's just characterological. It's what they
do, what they're defending against isbasically a weakness in the sense of self.
Okay, so, Um, thedifference between the two isn't that one
is just annoying the differences. They'reboth defensive, they're both pathological, but
one is characterologically passed pathological and takesa lot longer to do with and sometimes
it's very difficult to do the usuallyis very difficult to do. That's actually
really helpful. Thank you that.That really illuminates that for me. Um,
yeah, I had another question aboutthis show that I found really sort
of unusual, which is that inin the practice of Alan Steve Correll's character,
he appears to be seeing patients inhis home and Um, that seems
I mean, obviously in the showit illustrates why that might be a bad
idea, which is that patients cancome back and find you at home.
But is that something that happens thatoften and is that actually a good idea?
Like, it doesn't seem like it'sa good idea and that's a really,
really good question. Um, it'snothing I would ever do, but
some people do do it. Itdoes happen. It's realistic, Um,
especially in New York. It isgeographically it's a geographical question. CHICAGO,
I don't know that. I knowa few people who have an office,
a regular office downtown, and thenthey have a part of their home that
sectioned off with a private entrance.Okay, and so, yeah, it's
their house, but the person neversees their house. They know where they
live, but Um, the consultingroom is separated off and as a private
entrance and exit. So they reallyaren't part of the living space. Um,
I don't like it. It's notsomething I would ever be comfortable with.
Okay, I've never done that.I've always kept it too Um,
completely be separate. Um, inNew York, and this is something I
mean I've never seen in Chicago.I have colleagues and good college smart people
who um use their living room asthey're consoling them. I mean people just
come in and you know it's becauseNew York, if you know what New
York rental prices are like. Um, they save themselves a lot of money.
I mean it's ridiculous. People paythousands of dollars for these little closet
spaces, you know, to seepatients. Um, so this is what
people do, but I could neverfeel comfortable that way because I feel like
it's too much of a boundary blurringbetween my private life and my professional life
and I really believe in keeping thosetwo things separate. Okay, Um,
I think that the most professional wayto help to deal with patients is to
have a separate space, separate place. They don't know where I live.
They can find out maybe, butI'm not going to tell them, you
know, and and to keep themof things separate so that it's very clear
what we're about. We're about helpingthem. We're about a professional relationship with
professional contract. We're not about forminga personal relationship, although, ironically,
if you really works well, sometimesthe relationship that develops with compatient and analysts
is about as close a relationship asyou can have because it's so intimate the
material that you discussed and who you'retelling it too. And very frequently patients
tell me things, or any therapist, things that they never tell anybody else,
often not even their spouts. Okay, and so in that way it's
very intimate. But for that veryreason it's important that it be kept separate
from my private life. Okay,they can tell me that because they know
it's provely on a professional basis.Okay, and they know I'm not going
to anything they tell me stays withinour relationship. I know no one else
is going to find out. Andpeople will ask. I'll often say now,
what if I tell you this?What if I tell you that?
You know, Um, and I'vehad some people who you know, our
public figures, you know, andthey're particularly concerned about their privacy. You
know, Um, and it's importantthat they trust me to know that no
one will ever know that they seeme. I mean, you know an
occasion I get the phone calls.People will say, Um, I just
want to talk to you about myfriend. I think it's important, important
information. The first thing I sayis anything you tell me, I will
tell the patient. Don't tell meanything you don't want me to tell them.
Okay, and that usually shortens theconversation a great deal. You know,
Um. But it's important that mypatient know that anything I hear from
anybody else, they will hear,Um, and I will only listen.
I'm not going to tell them it. have either of you ever googled the
patient? Like, do you everdo that in reverse, where you're like,
you get any person and you think, Oh, I should learn more
about them? I've never done thatand I never want to do that,
and I'll tell you why. Idon't even like to get information. Like
sometime I'll get a referral and someonesays, well, let me tell you
about the patient. I said,just tell me who it is, tell
me what they're looking for. That'sall I want to know, because I
want to hear from the patient.I don't want to get it on Google.
I don't want to hear it fromtheir relatives, I don't want to
hear from another therapist anything. Iwant everything, as much as possible,
that I know about the patient tocome from the patient and I want to
be able to respond to it asthough it's coming from the patient. They
start getting things from external sources,what am I going to do with it?
If I bring it in, I'mbringing in something that patient didn't bring
into me. Right, I'm introducinginto their analysistor therapy, which something I
don't ever right to do right.And if I don't bring it in.
I'm sitting at it. I'm holdingthe secret from the patient. I don't
keep secrets from the patients, right. So I don't want to hear stuff,
you know, and I'm never withGoogle anybody. You know. Um,
I can imagine a circumstance who Imight look at. I was really
concerned that somebody was a serial killeror something like that. Maybe then you
know where I think there's a crimethat could be committed or something, but
fortunately that has happened. It's youdone it. It's actually like an ethical
it's an ethical violation, you know, to to do that. Okay,
yeah, Um, I also wantedto ask. Okay, so at the
end of the episode we learned that, Um, that gene, whose real
name is Sam Um, that hehas a compulsion to kill people and he's
he's interested in stopping and obviously that'sa major revelation. and Um, Huh,
when you're in a therapy session wheresomething massive like that is sort of
dropped in the session, is thata place where you're like, okay,
I need to I need to completelyrethink how I've been dealing with this person
up to this point, or isit like, does it you, is
it? It usually is there sometimeswhen you're in a session and suddenly,
like a big piece of information willjust be revealed and suddenly it's like,
okay, I've got to completely startover because what I thought was going on
is not what's going on at all. Here. You have a way of
asking the best questions, you know. It really loved the righteous. One
of the most interesting parts about thattherapy and analysis. Um, yes,
there are cases. I haven't hadit too often, but I've had on
occasion. I've had times, notas dramatic as somebody telling me they're a
serial killer, but revelations because theywanted to wait, you know, until
they really trusted me, although Ididn't know this, until they reveal something,
often it's that they're gay. Okay, some people will hide that,
you know, for a long time. Not as frequently now, but over
the years I've definitely had that,you know, and after you they'll say,
yeah, actually, the real reasonI came was because I was afraid
I was gay. They never saidbefore. Okay, and Um, you
know, now I started thinking everythingdifferently. I started thinking about, oh,
that's the reason they came. Sothe presumed reason was, which not
the reason. So I have torethink that. You know, that was
just a camouflage, right, Um, and why are they so fearful of
acknowledging that their case? So thathappens. I had one, Um,
a really interesting case, which actuallywrote up in a paper, the professional
paper that was published. Um,it's a woman who was its waspy looking
as you'll ever find, you know, blonde, very skin you know,
very nice, sweet young lady.and Um, she said that her her
parents were from Argentina, but shewas born here, okay, and every
summer they would go to Argentina umfor summer vacations. and Um, the
that was a certain part of herlife was involved in that. Now,
I've been Argentina a couple of times. I happened to love when society.
In fact, my wife and Iactually expect thought about retiring there when point.
So it's not going to happen.And so when she said in Argentina,
I heard Buen aside. So Ijust assumed that every summer she had
been to Buenos Aires. So somehowwe have. We had a session in
which I said something about Buenoscieres andshe said, Oh, I've never been
to buen decides and it completely changedthe whole case because where they had one
was this this remote rural area,okay, and the real remote rural area
was where her parents were from andwhere she had spent her summers, and
it was a completely different culture fromthe one. I assumed that she had
been exposed to Buenoscieres and explained alot of things to me about her,
okay, and unexplained things that Iwas wrong about. Okay. So I
had to rethink a lot of thingsbecause, um, that the culture of
buenoscieds is so different from where shewas was like two different countries, okay,
and so what you've been exposed to, the influences on her were totally
different, and I felt totally embarrassed. You know, they had made this
assumption, okay, Um, andI had, as I sat there and
she's telling me this, I'm rethinkingthe whole therapy and her whole background and
what influences were under and it,quite frankly, was embarrassing but um,
very revealing. So yeah, sometimesthat that happens and that's exactly what you
have to do. You have torethink. The Kid. Somebody told me
they were a serial killer. Iwould rethink everything I heard from this person
everything. Yeah, I bet.Yeah, Um, I work in theater.
So, uh, when I Iwrite music for theater and for film,
and so when I go see amovie or I watch a play,
I sit around and I think aboutI just automatically, without even trying,
I judge. I judge the musicin the movie or I judge the music
in the playlet's the thing I do. Do you do? Either of you
do a thing? I know,I know you're watching a show about a
therapist and we can we can talkabout that in a second, because I'm
sure each of you have opinions aboutlike I would have done that differently.
You know what I mean, becauseyou're watching another person do your job.
But, like, are you everout in public and you see people and
you're like, Oh, you know, that person needs a therapist or like,
I bet their therapist isn't that goodbecause of the way they're behaving?
Like are you? Are you everjudging people based around how they would react
in your therapy? In the interestsof authenticity and self revelation, I do
do some of it, I haveto admit, and I don't feel I
feel guilty that I did that becauseyou don't know the whole story. You
know, because you don't know thewhole story, you don't know what really
happened in their therapy. And howwho am I to judge how good your
therapist is, your how or whatthey're about, you know, from just
some little incident on the street?Right, you don't really know, and
after reminding myself of that, Ireally try not to do that. Okay,
first of all, not to judgewhether someone needs a therapist or not.
Just for one thing, I'm seeingpatients all day long. Okay,
ten or twelve patients a day.Enough is enough. Right. When I
go out or I see a movie, I want to be assessing people.
You know, that's what I dofor a living. You know, I
want to be able to go topeople in a completely different way. So
I don't do it. I trynot to do it for that reason and
for the reason that I think it'svery cheap to judge things. You can't
judge from some of my patients whatthey might tell somebody else about me and
what they've done is not going toreflect what happens between me and that right,
and I could see someone else thinking, what the hell is this guy
doing, you know, just fromwhat he's hurt, you know. So,
Um, for that reason I reallytry not to do that, but
it's impossible to stay away from thatcompletely, at least for me. You
know, there's always the sense ofwhat is going on with this guy?
What's going on in his therapy,you know, but he may have been
much worse before. He wasn't there, you know. I mean what's funny
about that question is, I don'tknow if this probably happens to you.
Frank when people meet me and findout what I do, they go,
Oh, you're probably sack analyzing meright now, and I actually like hate
that comment because I'm like in thatmoment I'm not doing therapy, I'm like,
you know, at working out orat the you know, without with
friends or something like that. SoI'm trying not to psychoanalyze people when I'm
not working. So you don't psychowith people, and I agree. I
get that all the time, almostuniversally, when I tell people I'm a
Oh no, now I gotta Watchmyself. Oh my God, you know,
yeah, Um, and it worksanyway. Right like that, that
makes it sound like you guys havex Ray Vision or something, but you.
That's what people think. They kindof think of it that way,
like, Oh, yeah, Iwatch myself because you're gonna see inside my
mind somehow, like a like alike an ex ray, like some sort
of vision right. It doesn't workthat way, but people don't know that.
You know, they get immediately intimidated. And you know, when people
say, Oh, you're probably psychoanalyzingme right now, I say I am
probably not, because I do thatall day long and the last thing in
the world I want to do ispsychoanalize somebody at a party. You know,
any it's awesome. Yeah, youdon't want to necessarily say I could
not care less about you, butprobably you really couldn't, but I probably
do. I did look at theways in which, you know, this
therapist and the show responded to thingsand thought about how I might respond in
those situations. Like there was onething that that he said, Um,
although that might have been in thesecond episode, but Um, I mean
I did think about like, well, what would I do, because like
he's he's chained up right and andGene Sam comes in and Steve Carrell tries
all these different methods to get himto, you know, let him go
like he says, unlock this rightnow, you know. So he used
to tell him, you know,in a very like, you know,
a certive way, unlock this rightnow. And then he says, come
on, this isn't gonna work here, we have to do it at my
office. He tries all these differentways that don't work right, and so
I did think about like, likewhat would I do? What I would
I panic? What I scream?What I cry? What I you know,
what, what methods would I try? So and not that I came
up with anything better. I meanI think. I think this is you
know, and I probably would saysomething like there was that moment he goes,
I love this line. Oh you'regonna give me the silent treatment now.
That sounds that sounds pretty immature fora therapist. And Steve Carrell answers,
well, I'm no longer your therapist, I'm now your prisoner. Like
I might have said something like that. You know, I might have gotten
a little passive aggressive also. So, yeah, what do you think,
frank do you think you would haveresponded similarly? Um, you know,
it's how do we know how hereally responded? If we really got changed
up by a patient? You know, it's such an horrifying kind of experience.
But, Um, what I dothink is that the notion that what
trus patient doesn't notice, but twochain somebody up and say you have to
cure me, okay, is animpossibility. Okay, it's it's an oxymoron.
It's a contradiction in term. Youcannot, I always say. I
always say to my patients, youknow, or I say to my students,
you know, we have a ourtechnical piece of equipment is the door
with a one way lock. Okay, UM, nobody can get in,
but you can always get out,okay, because the patient has to be
free to come and go. Sonone of what's what I'm saying to them
is that everything I do here isbased on the premise that you come here
at your own free will. Okay, you want to be here, okay,
for some reasons. To me,maybe to figure out what reason,
but I'm basing everything on Matt Okay, and everything I do trying to figure
that out. Um. Now,I never thought of it from the other
point of view, the therapist,who can't get out right, but the
same applies. I mean the therapisthas to be free, Um, to
operate in whatever way he feels asbest for the patient. When you're chained
up, no matter who you are, you can't possibly be operated the way
you would if you were free.Okay. And furthermore, when it comes
to the point of he's saying,well, you know, I'm not going
to be your therapist, and hesays, well, then where does that
leave us, you know, andthen he decides he better be the therapist,
right, especially gene. Yeah,he had no choice. Jean says,
Um, you know, I'm gonnado it again. So therefore he
would has he would have to turnhim in, right. So now he's
stuck. What does he do?Right, but it's an impossibility because he's
now operating under the pressure that literallyright, you cure me, or else
it's a life or death. Okay. Um, you can't operate as the
therapist that way. You've got tobe free, to be able to think
and feel whatever you do and tohave that the ultimate pressure of life and
death. I knew h doesn't work. I don't even believe in you know,
sometimes companies will hire a therapist two, you know, work with their
clients and I think all they cando is doing assessment for them. Out
You can't do real therapy that waybecause the therapist is an agent of the
company and not on the side ofthe patients, are on the side of
the company. Well, this isan even more extreme version of that situation,
right. And so, Um,I would I know at one point
I would have said to him,this is impossible, we can't work,
I can't do your therapist. Well, I'm chained up. You know,
therapy is based on the premise thatwe are both here of our own free
will, and here we're not,you know. But you know what's kind
of interesting, though, is okay, like, yes, absolutely, I
want to make it clear that youshould never kidnap your therapist and chain them
up in order to force therapy.Right, like I want to make we
haven't made that disclaimer already. Iwant to take a moment now to make
sure that everyone understands. That's whatwe're all a favor up here. But
but at the same time, theway that dom all gleason plays Sam he
does seem to have a logical pointof view, which is like, I've
got a problem, it's really serious, and he even says the line,
which is I've got bigger problems thanmost of your other patients. Um.
And so he is. He istaking action, decisive, definitive action to
really address his problems. Now,it's definitely not the way to do it,
but he unlike other place, othertelevision shows and films, where serial
killers are sort of seen as thesemonsters who are somehow soulless or are somehow
like, you know, on autopilot. Um, he seems to have a
solid case as to why he woulddo the things he did. And,
Um, and he doesn't want tosay they sound reasonable, but they're close.
Well, he has a salad basisfor saying we've got to do something
different here. Okay, that's fine. He doesn't have a solid basis for
saying I have to change you upbecause it's actually in the real world.
That's totally counterproductive. That's not goingto get him his goal of getting cured.
It's quite the opposite. But hecould say, you know, I've
got worse problems in your patients.What you're doing here is a working you
know, we've got to do somethingdifferent. He could say that right,
which would be fine, because thatwas really good things going. And that's
where I go back to the commentthat the therapists made, which I think
was, in my view, ablunder to say you know, Um,
well, you know, you're you'reavoiding everything. That's why we're not getting
anywhere. You know, I thinkif the therapist had handled that differently in
the real world, the patient wouldn'thave locked him up. The patient would
have felt like maybe you need youneed to get somewhere. Okay, this
guy is addressing me, okay,not dismissing me. Okay, he wants
to understand me. He doesn't wantto dismiss me because I can't do it,
but I can't doing it. It'sall part of the process. Okay,
and we deal we'll deal with that. So if Alan hadn't confronted him,
he might not have been locked up. I don't think so. I
don't think you would have. Ithink I think the guy would respond it
differently if the analyst had said,you know, I can see that you're
hiding something here, and I thinkthat's really important, that you're devoiding feelings,
and so there's got to be somethinghere that you're really troubling. You
know. I wonder if you couldgive me an indication of what that might
be, or if you thought aboutthat yourself. You know, have you
thought about it yourself? Might bebetter, you know, and and engage
the process of reflection of what that'sgoing on. And of course the patient
knows exactly what, because he's aserial killing, you know, and I
think that that would have gone outin that way. I'm not going to
disagree with you frank but I amgoing to say that I think it was
inevitable that at some point he wouldhave done this. I mean not only
because it's a television show, butbecause I think this this guy is a
narcissist and it's all about him.And so Steve Correll or his therapist,
could have said anything that he wouldhave turned around and made it about him,
because his solution in the end is, you know, for him to
say, well, I wasn't ableto open up in your office, like
that's Bologny, you know, likeyou don't need to be like you don't
have your therapist locked in the basementto have him, you know, open
up to you. So I kindof think, I so I agree that,
you know, like Steve Carrell,probably could have been a little more
delicate, but I kind of thinkthat it was inevitable that it might have
happened this way anyway, because that'sthe way that's the patient's pathology. Yeah,
isn't it? Isn't it possible that, uh, the reason why he's
locked the therapist up is in orderto have control over that there, and
that also, like serial killers,I feel like, also maybe kill people
for that sense of control as well. Right, so it's it's kind of
logically follows. Well, he certainthat that would be it to achieve control.
But you see, there are betterand worse ways of handling the patients
avoidance, right, and I thinkif it had been handled differently, who
can say? I mean it's fiction, you know, the writer can write
anything we want, right, buta patient like that seen in the real
world, I think if you engagethem in showing your interested in understanding you
know what is so troubling to themthat they're avoiding it, that very frequently
people will open up to you andthey'll need the patients like that always need
to be in control. As hada lot of patients who need to be
in control. Luckily so far inMenim lock me up, but you know,
you talk about that, you talkabout them need to be in control,
control the therapy. They'll say thisis what we're gonna talk about and
this is how we're gonna do it, you know, and uh, talk
about that. You know. Itseems like it's important that you call the
shots here, you know, andwe talked about it, you know.
Um, and this guy, asmuch as he as he has killed people,
he's also said he wants to doit again. There's this guy.
He's obsessed with that. He goesto therapy instead, and that's an open
that means he's not acting out everythingmay he feels. I love that.
You just said so far no onehas locked me up, as if there's
still is still a shot at that. Um, I have a question.
Um. So, what did youthink about this idea that um he that
the the patient wanted to pick aJewish therapist. Was Thinking that Jewish Accountant.
It's like, I know, thisis whole Jewish thing. Yeah,
I guess you think that's just simplyit. I don't know. I thought
it was fascinating, but never wedidn't get any more material than that.
He just said I picked out threeJewish therapists and I picked out the best
one. I would Jewish, itwould me. I wouldn't think why only
Jewish doctors, Jewish th that wasa fascinating, uh little vignette and I
didn't know what to make of itother than he wants the best anythings.
Jews are the best. That mademe wonder. Is The patient Jewish?
You know, he didn't look.Yeah, yeah, Um, HM.
You know, many people feel likefel like Jewish doctors are the best.
I always are growing up the bestbecause I'm Jewish and every one of my
relatives were Jewish and Alwa, theJewish doctors. Um, and you know,
he wanted the best and his conceptthe Jews. Jews were the best,
are the best. She is afascinating thing for someone to say.
I've never had a patient say tome I was just looking for a Jewish
therapist. Yeah, of course I'vehad people. Yeah, no, I've
had people say asked me about my, you know, in more recent years,
my political views and and have thatbe part of you know, why
they would choose me or not.But Ye, so frank, was there
anything in particular else about the episodethat you wanted to be sure to Um,
talk about? Um, that's agood question. Um, the I
guess the main thing was the Um, the dramatic situation. He quits the
therapist skin by saying, Um,you know, you've got to care me
before I let you go, andthe therapist saying and saying, well,
you know, you gotta let mego before I can cure you, which
is true, okay, and thenthe patient says, well, but then
you turn me in, you haveto turn me in, and the therapist
says, only if I you sayyou're going to do it again. So
immediately he says, I'm going todo it again, you know. So
that traps the situation, that trapsthe therapist. So I thought it was
a blunder on the therapist part,but obviously a difficult one to see at
the moment right. But if youcould think of that, you know what
the therapist should have said. Everythingis better to see in hindsight. You
should have said, Um, listen, I don't have to turn you in.
You know. Um, you know, there's nothing. You know,
and and and just leave it atthat. Um, yeah, but with
the gates of the patient and openingand therefore got trapped and to a situation
that's basically impossible. You know,it's he's got to try to cure somebody
in a situation where it's impossible tocure them, and serial killers are notoriously
hired to cure anyway, right,but especially that they like, can you
curious the alier killer and like howlong does that take? I feel like
longer than that. Episodes. Yeah, yeah, right. I've I've never
heard of a case in which aserial killer was actually cured by therapy,
or anything else for that matter.You know, maybe there are cases,
but I've never heard of one.Um, because you know, what they're
doing is there. They're enacting,you know, whatever it is that's bothering
them, it gets enacted by killingsomebody, right, and so Um,
and to take them into therapy you'dhave to get them into a situation where
they'd be willing to deal with whateveris bothering them. That leads them to
do the shooting without doing the shooting. And maybe that's theoretically possible, but
in practical terms, Um, I'veseen a lot of you know, I
haven't seen myself stre killings, butI've read about them and I've seen portrayals
and documentaries and so on and uh, none of them seemed to me to
be Um at all amenable. Youknow anything like that, because there's so
narcissistically vulnerable that they have to kill, you know, that's the only way
they can resolve it. I rememberhearing seeing this one case in the documentary
for this guy, Um was askedwhy he killed his bus drive and he
said, well, I got onthe bus and the guy said you needed
token, he needed something, andI said no, I don't have him
or something, and he said,well, you have to get off the
bus. He said he didn't know. That's when he got executed. He
didn't know who he was dealing withand he shot him, he killed him.
You know now, somebody like thatis not curable, okay, Um,
because anything that said Oh indicative thatthere's anything that he has to do
or someone else tells him what todo. He's to kill me right right
that that's just not the curable situation, you know, and serial killers of
that, you know. So ifyou were Alan, if you personally were
Alan, and you were in thebasement, changed up to a bed and
Sam said to you, I'm notletting you leave this basement until you cure
me of being a serial killer,your first thought is probably I'm never leaving
the basement. That's right, andI would probably say that to him,
I would say that's an impossibility.I can't kill you what I'm locked up.
You can't happen. So, yeah, well, and your comment earlier,
frank yeah, your comment earlier abouteveryone wants to be better but no
one wants to change, is reallyrelevant here, because every time Steve Carrell
is going to say to him youhave to do maybe try it this way.
You know he's on to you knowhe wouldn't take his sunglasses off in
the beginning. He's certainly not unlockinghim. He says, promise me,
you're not going to do it,and the best thing he can say as
well, I'll try. You know, Um, he's going to have a
hard time taking any of the suggestions. In fact, I found myself wondering
if he just hadn't already killed someone. I don't know, but he's killed
several people apparently, but I meaneven since starting to see him starting that
promise. Yeah, it would takean absolutely heroic effort, okay, therapy,
a piece of therapeutic history, forsomebody to gain enough trust in somebody
like that. And they have.They have enough trust in you that you
could actually help them think about whatthey're doing rather than kill somebody and understand
what's wrong about it and not doit again. That would be heroic.
I would never say it's impossible,but it would be a heroic effort.
Would history. Wow, all right. Well, I think that sets us
up really well for the rest ofthe series then, because, yeah,
well, nine episodes ago at leastright, right, right, right to
be interesting. Yeah, well,frank thank you so much for coming on.
That was really that was really afun discussion and about a very dark
topic. Um. And it wasfun to kind of, you know,
because you were my teacher, tojust trade ideas about the way, the
way it could be done or shouldbe done or might have been done.
Um. So, yeah, thatwas really great. It was. This
was a lot of fun. Thankyou both so much. I appreciate the
invitation. I thank you for itand it's wonderful to see my former student
doing so well. It's so gratifyingto me to see her being so successful.
You know, aren't you sweet?Thank you. It's what they're talking
about. Celia killers could be sogratified. This is great. This is
bringing us all together. Yeah,well, thank you both very much.
So enjoyed me so much. Thankyou. So that was Dr Frank Summers
Training and supervising analysts at the ChicagoInstitute for Psychoanalysis. Um Man, I
learned a lot from him about this. This was really exciting and interesting.
Um and yeah, I don't I'malso feel like I feel like I was
here to witness some sort of personallike circle for you personally that you're sort
of like able to like the studentbecomes the master, kind of. I
don't know if that's exactly the rightmetaphor here, but you see where I'm
going with this. Well, Imean it could have been that, but
he, you know, told meI was wrong in the first ten minutes.
Okay, never mind, yeah,no, no, but no,
it was great. It was.It was it was very cool hearing his
his perspective on that. So wewere talking about Um one of the remarks
that Alan makes too. Um Samabout Um him opening up and I said,
well, I thought that was reallyinteresting. You know that he made
that comment. We used his countertransference to say I'm I'm feeling a little
frustrated. Maybe you're a little frustrated, frank. Frank was like, I
didn't like that comment at all.I think that's the whole reason why he
got kidnapped basically because he's too fragileand he went in too quick and blamed
the patient and I was like,Oh, okay, but other than that.
That's the true mark of a teacher, though, right, is the
person who's able to stand back andbe like Ah, there you go,
that was don't do it, don'tdo it that way, daisy, we
got to go back. Yeah,yeah, I mean, I think there
you go. That's a less andfor all of your therapists out there is
just be aware that if you confrontyour patient, it's possible you'll be locked
up in basement. I'm grateful tothe both of you indulging my neophyte questions
about therapy, since I don't understandany of it, and so, like
I will try to ask less embarrassingquestions as this show goes along, if
I can possibly figure it out.Frank loved your questions, Lindsay, yeah,
and wor no, no, don'tworry about it at all. And,
Um, it really kind of gavehim the opportunity to talk about,
you know, the things that heknows best. You know, like how
do you decide how many sessions aweek someone needs? How do you decide
any analysis. Who doesn't need analysis? But also, Um, you know,
basically when when you when you divein and confront the patient when you
don't. But I really appreciated likehis calm. It's about, you know,
people finding US thing, people findingout things about the therapist. You
know that Vignette in the beginning ofthe episode where the patient goes I'm really
sorry about your loss, Um andand the and the basic premise of the
whole show, which is that youreally can't. It's it's nearly impossible to
do therapy without that trust. Andnot only does the patient have to trust
you, but you know, youneed to be able to trust the trust
the patient. You know that thepatients that people like often don't tell you
everything, but you hope that they're, you know, being forthright enough that
you you've got something to work withand if you're being impinged in any way,
it's it's hard to it's hard tobe our most present, you know,
helpful selves if we're if we're afraidor angry or, you know,
locked up in a basement. Soyeah, I mean I think that's a
really interesting point. Is that,and it goes back again to my sort
of my experience of therapy, whichis that I come in and everything is
about me. But really it's it'sequally as important that the therapist feel comfortable
and safe in order for them tobe able to make make real progress.
Otherwise, if they don't, thenthat affects everything, right, because it's
it's a relationship. Therapy is arelationship, and so it might feel or
appear like it's a one sided relationship, and patients say that all the time
to me, like well, I'vetold you everything about me, I don't
know anything about you. But peopleknow things about me, and I don't
mean like well, they know thatyou know I like to wear blue.
They get to know like how I'mgoing to respond to them, they get
to know my personality. They know, they know me and they can they
know, they can learn to trusthow that I'm going to be open to
them and what they have to say. So, Um, and that's a
relationship and, as frank said,it's one of the most intimate relationships you
can have with a person. Soyeah, that's really true. Yeah,
and I mean like when you areyou ever surprised by how intimate things can
get? Are there, even afterall this time of being a therapist.
Are there are times where you're like, Whoa, I wasn't expecting this level
of intimacy? No, okay,yeah, no, I I I have
not been surprised. People tell meall kinds of things and I'm I'm extremely
appreciative and I never you know,you know, I don't take it for
granted. It's really amazing because Ithink we don't really think about it or
talk about it, but it's ahuge it's an it's it's a real sacrifice
for you, I think, tobe able to put yourself in that relationship
and really focus so deeply on theother person and that's something that maybe we
don't necessarily have in our lives.And and so, like, I guess
once you do that, once youmake the commitment to do that, then
you're kind of ready for anything.Yeah, well, and and so I'll
just like and I wonder if thiswill happen at all, but, you
know, just to turn the tablesfor a minute, like therapists and therapy.
Frank made a comment about that.Um, I once went to a
support group for a medical condition thatI have and, Um, I hated
every second of it and I hadI had, you know, we all
know. You know that I havea few control issues. But, Um,
I sat in that room and andhad not that I had never considered
this before, but had the suddenrevelation like, Oh, I asked my
patients to do this all the time, to basically like reveal everything. There
is a themselves to me, andnow I don't feel willing to do that,
you know, in this group ofpeople. So, Um, it's
a it's a big ask, youknow. And then patients give us this
like little delicate flower and we haveto really protect it, you know,
and hold it and be willing to, Um, not stomp on it.
So it's time to wrap up thisweek's session, but we'll see you next
week on the next session of psychoanalyzingthe patient. Bye, bye.