Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In Treatment is a Great Show

In Treatment is a show on HBO. It is presently in its second season. I have not seen any of the first season and I simply happened upon the beginning of season two. Out of pure curiosity I watched one episode. As soon as it began I was intrigued.

Why? Each episode basically takes place in one room. Each episode involves people talking to each other. That's it. No special effects. No laugh track. No crazy sitcom scenarios. Often just two people sitting and talking. The show is completely character and dialogue driven. There is nothing else like it on television.

It feels real. Now, it is not a show for children. It is real and so at times the language is "real." The acting is superior. Gabriel Byrne plays a psychologist and each episode he either is treating a patient or he himself is talking with someone else. The same 5 characters reappear in a rotation.

Though the show has received abundant critical acclaim and I give it a big "thumbs up" it is not for everyone. It is somewhat slow and plodding (perhaps that is why I like it!). It is not necessarily "exciting." It is not always uplifting as sometimes episodes end and the patient's messy life is not all neatly cleaned up and fixed up (imagine that!). But it is a great show and if you can I recommend you check it out!

The other thing that intrigues me about it is how in our day and age psychologists and therapists have become the priests of our day. They are the ones who hear people's confessions. They are the ones that people turn to for guidance. People still have guilt. People still have to confess. People still are seeking absolution. I find myself watching how the psychologist answers and deals with some of the issues that are raised by the various patients and then ask myself "What would I have said? How would I have dealt with that?" It is interesting to consider. In most cases I would have had nothing to say or answer because I am not a therapist nor desire to be one. My tools are Confession and Absolution and at times guidance from a biblical perspective. However, as a pastor, I shy away from trying to be a counsellor when it takes me out of what I am trained to do. It is interesting to see where he goes with it.

However, a psychologist cannot and will not truly offer what is needed. A psychologist cannot offer Confession and Absolution. In most of the cases so far it seems the psychologist is merely affirming what the patient has done. A psychologist can be helpful I have no doubt. However, if one is seeking forgiveness - seek the Lord where He is to be found - in His Word and Sacraments in His Church.

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