Laura Gonzalez


5 Apr 2009

In treatment

The tapping of television into the mystery of the psychotherapy session, into what goes on behind closed doors in the consulting room, was something waiting to happen. TV bosses have funded explorations into the world of gangsters, undertakers and death, the medical body, forensics, mental powers and numerous other enigmatic professions. A while ago, HBO launched In Treatment, a drama starring Gabriel Byrne and focusing on the therapist-patient relation. I have not yet seen much of it (other than youtube’s gifts), as it is not aired in the UK, but the choice of actor delights me. I have a transference relation with Byrne, one that is conflictive, of love and aggression at the same time. He doesn’t remind me of my psychoanalyst in any way, yet he does. He has that listening face.

The show itself is about relationships, most and foremost, the therapeutic relationship. There are 5 patients per season, and we go through things with each of them, in the way an analyst may do and with the same draining effect. We experience the doctor’s countertransference, and his own need for therapy. For visual reasons, I suppose the writers have opted for patients not to lie on the couch, but rather get face-to-face therapy. The former may be a step too far and no matter how interesting the subject is, they have to make TV and rank in the ratings table… Still, I hope the complexity of the human mind, the tensions, the conflicts, the contradictions are portrayed as they are, with no regard for resolution à la House. Don’t get me wrong, I love House, especially in its similitude with that favourite of mine, Holmes. Its roundness, the fact that it answers every question about each patient’s illness satisfies me, although only for 5 minutes. Sex and the City characters, on the other hand, never got what they wanted and, if you could cope with it, the show actually had something to say to you, a delayed gratification which the film completely and utterly threw away. A shame; the Carries and Charlottes of this world, never get married or have kids, and fiction can do something to help us understand and live with that. I am looking forward to In Treatment just to see whether it goes House or SATC’s way. If it is the latter, I hope to be able to learn something about myself; if it is the former, well, we will still have Gabriel Byrne.

Posted in Blog, Peripheral thoughts, Psychoanalysis

3 Responses to “In treatment”

  1. Brian said:

    This is an excellent series and one I look forward to watching each week. I would suggest watching the first season first, if you can get your hands on them.


  2. Laura Gonzalez said:

    Yes, you are right. I am very much interested in the evolution of the series, so I’ll start Series 1, episode 1. It’s the best way!

  3. emilio said:

    Te va a gustar. Es guerra constante.
    Ríete tú del Mind Trainer.

    Y gabriel byrne, pues eso, lo tiene todo escrito en la cara.

    Como no puede ser de otra forma, yo soy fan de Laura.
    Ya me contarás.

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About Me

I am an artist and writer. My recent practice performance, film, dance, photography and text, and my work has been performed, exhibited and published in many venues in Europe and the US. I have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including the Museum for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Medical Museum in Copenhagen, College Arts Association and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. When I am not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with my camera or creating performance works as part of my Athenaeum Research Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I teach postgraduate students at Transart Institute.

I am currently immersed in an interdisciplinary project exploring knowledge and the body of the hysteric. In 2013, together with Child and Adolescent Mental Health practitioner Frances Davies, I co-edited the book ‘Madness, Women and the Power of Art’, to which I contributed a work authored with Eleanor Bowen. My book ‘Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces’ was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2016. In this text, investigates psychoanalytic approaches to making and understanding objects of seduction, including an examination of parallels between artistic and analytic practices, a study of Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as objects of desire, a disturbing encounter with Marcel Duchamp’s last work, and the creation of a psychoanalytically inspired Discourse of the Artefact, a framework enabling the circulation of questions and answers through a relational approach to artworks.