|Getting It Right - Page 9|
There's one other touch that should be mentioned about this program. All those sessions spent in Paul's office make it into a cloistered place, sheltering but narrow, the way focus can be narrow. And then from time to time, usually when Paul has said something especially observant, a dog barks in the distance. Even the bloggers have noticed the barking: what gives?
The directors and editors could let their camera linger on Paul's face or the patient's face, and let the silence reverberate—which they do plenty of times. Instead, they deliberately put in a far-off dog's bark, and, suddenly, the space in the room expands out into the neighborhood, into the world. We become aware that all this talk and understanding in a cloistered room isn't merely a private matter, a constriction, or a reduction, but an opening, a fanning out.
One of my favorite supervisors used to teach us that you could take any moment in a person's life, and it would all unfold: the whole life would be contained in any one, particular moment. "You have to see a world in a grain of sand," he said, paying tribute to William Blake's great poem. In this way, you might say, the creators and writers of In Treatment have seen eternity in the therapy hour.
Molly Layton, Ph.D., is a psychologist in private practice in the Chestnut Hill area of Philadelphia. For the past 25 years, she's written essays for the Psychotherapy Networker. Her short story "What Love Is" was selected in 2007 for the Writing Aloud series at the InterAct Theater. Contact: