Many people around me have asked me what I think of the series In therapy. So, by force, I looked at her. You know, these 35 episodes broadcast on Arte and which bring us into the office of a shrink. Through five characters, a lost surgeon, a police officer, a lost teenager and a couple in the middle of a nervous breakdown, and as a bonus his supervisor, we discover what makes the work of a Parisian psychoanalyst, in the aftermath of the attacks of November 13, 2015.
The success of this series was immediate with four million views in the first week of airing. It is probably not unrelated to this other collective trauma that we are experiencing at the moment with the Covid. In therapy is a very good teaching of the fundamentals of psychoanalysis. As the episodes unfold, the Freudian concepts on dreams, slip-ups, resistance, screen memories, free association or transference and counter-transference. The “fiction” format stages, while distorting them, the essential realities of an analytical work such as psychic elaboration, which takes place at supersonic speed in the characters, and the interpretations, which the psychologist gives to. the submachine gun and without many nuances.
This series shows that, for a psychic work to be favorable, qualities are required in the shrink: presence, competence and ability to hold the frame. If the first two are very well embodied by the shrink of the series thanks to his empathy and his knowledge, he seems in trouble on the frame. For example, he talks about his own childhood and tells his dreams to his patients, he is overwhelmed by his emotions and projections towards them, his supervisor is also his analyst, his marriage therapist and his friend.
We are at a time when brief neurocognitive therapies and positive psychology seem to put psychoanalysis on the shelf of history. However, this series recalls this vital need to be welcomed and recognized as a unique person and not as a patient labeled with a pathology, in order to be able to express oneself. That aspiring to unity, we are beings of conflict and ambivalence.
It shows that finding the right words can be learned. That it takes a time that no one has mastered to overcome the horrors of a family history and free oneself from pathogenic links or false loyalties. Basically, the psychoanalyst makes one experience an embodied and rooted listening, without judgment, totally confidential and which guarantees not to be instrumentalized. So it turns out to the analysand that there are no perfect paths. There are only women and men on the way who courageously try to inhabit their present as well as possible.