Tag Archives: Incisive

The Art of Listening In HBO’s In Treatment…

12 May

Listening is truly a lost art.

In Treatment Dr Paul Weston's Hand Gestures

How often do you encounter people in life that you can tell are obviously not listening? It is the most common experience.

Sadly, it has become rare when someone actually listens to you and values what you have to say. 

In Treatment Talk To Me

In Treatment was a half an hour drama on HBO that starred Gabriel Byrne. The show was about the art of listening, psychotherapy, dysfunctions, neuroses, ethics, fears, self-sabotage, mental illness, relationships, conflict, trauma, pain, suffering, healing, resilience, etc.

Compassion and humanity are at the root of psychotherapy and In Treatment respectively. They speak about the deep need to be listened to without judgment. I have a great respect for psychology. It was one of my areas of study and I have intuitively known it is my vocation since childhood.

In treatment was even studied in universities at the time {I am not sure if it still is}. Counselling psychology students discussed in treatment in classes. Its pedagogical purpose was to teach students how to live their potential as psychologist and to help their clients heal.

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In Treatment is like a prism that reflects the spectrum of humanity.

It can be Shakespearean in its dramatic storylines, intimate revelations and profound intellectual discussions.

{Side note: this is Paul’s wave machine in the introduction}.

It is a cerebral show that dives deep into the Alice in wonderland rabbit hole of the psyche. In treatment relies heavily on the art of acting. Gabriel and the rest of the cast really shine in this thirty-minute drama. The skilled actors play off the script, each other, emotions and body language. They have no special effects to rely on- just their acting skills. {Side note: Gabriel won a golden globe for his performance. Many other actors and the show itself were nominated for numerous awards}.

Gabriel’s character is the compassionate Dr.Paul Weston.

He is the wounded healer, secret keeper, listener, teacher and psychologist.

In Treatment He's Listening

Psychotherapy is based on trust and vulnerability- spiritual and emotional nakedness. There is a strong emotional connection between Paul and all of his patients. First, he has to earn their trust and convince them to trust him and open up.

He must analyze their issues beneath the masks they wear.

He has to discern the truth from lies, distortions and projections.

All of his patients have complex problems and dysfunctional patterns of behaviour.

Some are based on the complexities of being in a relationship and sharing a life with someone despite conflicting personalities or desires. With Jake and Amy, Paul is a mediator between them. He uses conflict resolution, helps them clarify their real issues/emotions and helps them decide on their course of action.

Others are more individual problems with roots in childhood.

Regardless of how the trauma manifests itself, what is evident is that Paul is responsible for his patients.

In some cases, he is the only person that his patients have to rely on. 

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In treatment examines many themes. One is the issue of transference.

Transference can happen in the therapeutic process. The psychologist has to maintain their boundaries and respect their professional code of ethics.

How do you treat a patient that thinks they are in love with you?

What if they insist on their declarations of love?

What if they play mind games and employ manipulation?

How do navigate that?

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Intergenerational trauma is another topic that is examined in the show.

Alex is not even aware of the impact of how his father murdered his grandfather traumatized him. He is also not conscious of how his childhood and his father’s toxic masculinity traumatized him.

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How do you deal with the emotional impact of listening to people’s problems all day?

Many psychologists go to their own psychologist for therapy and to consult about their patients. Paul goes to Gina for this purpose. Their relationship is quite strained but he desperately needs that outlet.

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Some quotes from this video stood out to me in particular…

“It is hard to see so many people in pain and not be able to do anything to help them in some way.” -Paul

“Maybe helping is easier than feeling the pain.” -Laura

I can attest to this feeling of helplessness. It is very painful for me to see or know that someone is in pain without being able to do anything to ease their suffering.

Laura’s observation has some merit. Sometimes it is easier to help than feel. Sometimes it just hurts too much.

“We are not Gods, we can’t save anybody.” -Gina

Gina’s statement is true.

We cannot save anybody.

We can only help them to save themselves.

“It is possible to live in a world where people panic, where people let each other down, where they disappoint each other but still help each other out.” -Paul

I think this is the most realistic observation.

It is still possible to help each other despite our flaws and limitations.

Paul asks Alex where he wants his therapy to lead him. He answers painfully, “some place where I feel less shitty about myself.”

There is something in Blair Underwood’s voice when he says “some place where I feel less shitty about myself.” We can all relate to this sentiment.

“I thought that is what we are on the earth for- to help each other- to step up to the plate when somebody needs us.” -Paul

I have to agree with Paul.

I think it is noble to derive your life’s purpose from altruism and compassion.

Finding meaning in helping others is something I can deeply relate to.

“There are other places where you can feel safe and here in this room is one of those places.” -Paul

The therapist’s office is like a sanctuary from the chaos of the world.

Paul really wants to help his patients find their own answers to enlighten themselves, empower themselves and solve their problems.

With Sophie, Paul wanted her to have her own epiphanies.

In this scene, Sophie has empowered herself enough to confront her father on his abandonment and absence as a father.

Paul’s role is not to be the judge but to guide them to reconnect and re-establish their relationship. The journey is painful but worthwhile.

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Paul’s observations/analysis is incisive.

He really gets to the root of his patient’s suffering.

{It reminds me of Robin Williams’ character the psychologist Sean McGuire in Goodwill Hunting}.

His patients always challenge him and often test his boundaries.

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It should be noted that Paul has his own problems to contend with.

I think it is vital to observe that psychologists are human and imperfect. They have to deal with their own life and its challenges while trying to help others heal and figure out their life’s labyrinth.

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Happy birthday to Gabriel Byrne today!!!

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Further Research

Gabriel Byrnehttps://www.byrneholics.com/

Gabriel Byrne’s Internet Movie Database Page

In TreatmentIn Treatment’s Internet Movie Database Page

In Treatment’s HBO Page

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Have you watched In Treatment?

What did you think?

You can watch it on HBO’s website {for a price}.

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Rest in peace to Irrfan Khan who recently died {April 29th, 2020}.

He brilliantly played Sunil in the third season.

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Peace & Compassion,

-V.

Reflection for today…Potential -Doris Lessing

26 Mar

“Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.” 
Doris Lessing

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Society is not a level playing field.

Equal opportunities are mostly urban legends.

Spoken word poets and hip hop artists often speak about social inequalities and injustice through social commentary.

Some hip hop artists educate, enlighten/uplift consciousness and inspire.

Stic Man & M-1 are Dead Prez: My favourite hip hop artists/activists/revolutionaries

Tupac Shakur was a brilliant poet/artist/activist/revolutionary

This poetic narrative storytelling made me fall in love with hip hop because it gave a voice to the voiceless.

It was the poetry of the streets.

tupac-shakur-quotes-sayings-about-yourself-community-wise

Many will not like the social commentary.

It is so incisive and critical but it has to be because the living conditions are full of suffering and injustice.

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It should be noted that conscious hip hop and punk music have many parallels.

They both fight against the status quo.

They both subvert the dominant paradigm.

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Black ice is such a gifted poet and spoken word artist.

He shoots from the hip and his poems go straight to your heart and mind.

In his poem Imagine, he meditates on social inequality and how different life would be if equal opportunities actually existed.

He proposes to “put love where the hate is.”

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Please enjoy his poem Imagine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kVT89O6cLo

What happens in neighbourhoods where the self-esteem has been overshadowed by the decay and the children no longer play the way they used to?

Where young boys choose to follow figures that had no father figures…

Whatever happened to that we shall overcome shit?…

Cold winters are sheltered by crack houses instead of recreational centers that they claim to not have the paper to keep open for operation…

What’s a young boy to do when he doesn’t want to do wrong but there’s a lock on the right door?

When he has the heart of a soldier, the aggression of a prizefighter but no one’s taught him what to fight for…

Young Tupac was one of many boys without fathers {as Black Ice says}.
However, the absence of his father was eclipsed by his mother’s fierce love.
Afeni {a former Black Panther} passed on infinite wisdom to her son so it isn’t true that “no one taught him what to fight for.”
“My mother taught me three things: respect, knowledge, search for knowledge.
It’s an eternal journey.” -Tupac.

I included this caption of Tupac because he had “the heart of a soldier and aggression of a prize fighter”- not to mention the mind of a revolutionary leader..
 
In the end, Tupac defined manhood for himself and became quite the revolutionary man.

I would have loved to see Tupac become a father…

See, most of our families are fatherless and quite poor so we miss out on meals as well as kisses and hugs.

Photo Courtesy of: http://zunlee.com/

You’ve got the audacity to cut the funding for the facilities that keep us off the streets then ask us why we sell drugs.

Imagine if we put down our dices and guns, picked up our daughters and sons and put a little love right there where the hate is…

Imagine if these little inner-city kids had the same type of schools that these rich kids have way out there in the sticks…”

Black Ice

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Imagine we lived in a world where there was no suffering, injustice/oppression, “third world” class distinction or any class distinction whatsoever.

This is the world that I want to live in…

Art by BANKSY

Peace & Namaste.

{More posts about poverty/social inequality/injustice, sociology, spoken word poetry, Tupac, Dead Prez, Black Ice and hip hop coming up in the future…}

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For more information…

Dorris Lessing…http://www.dorislessing.org/

Black Ice…https://twitter.com/BLACKICETHEPOET

Tupac…http://www.2pac.com/

The Tupac Shakur foundation…http://www.tasf.org/

Dead Prez…http://deadprezblog.wordpress.com/blog/

Tupac’s Legend

Tupac Amaru Shakur was an inspiration to millions.

While  2Pac was most famous for his rap career,  he was also a gifted actor, poet and thoughtful while outspoken advocate for the poor and the overlooked in America. During his life, he produced an immense amount of artistic work, which included studio albums, major Hollywood feature films, and published works.  He was most prolific in the music industry, selling over 75 million albums. 2Pac’s unapologetic lyrics were relevant, important, and reflective of the hard lives led by many. His music earned attention and respect through a poetic style that embraced street vocabulary while being innovative. Today, 2Pac is still considered by many to be one of the biggest influences on modern hip-hop.

2Pac’s career has earned him six Grammy nominations and three MTV Video Music Award nominations. In 1997, Shakur was honored by the American Music Awards as the Favorite Hip Hop Artist.

Born on June 16 1971 in New York City, Shakur’s parents were both members of the Black Panther Party whose militant style and provocative ideologies for civil rights would come to influence 2Pac’s music. At an early age, Tuapc’s love for performance and the arts began to show, as he began acting at age 13 and later enrolled in the Baltimore School of the Arts before dropping out at 17. Shakur broke into the music business with rap group Digital Underground as a back-up dancer and roadie. Eventually Shakur released his first solo album in ’91, 2pacalypse Now. 2Pac’s music career began to grow as his second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z included two top 20 pop chart tracks: I Get Around and Keep Ya Head Up.

Shakur’s legal battles began after he established his rap career. In the early nineties Shakur faced a wrongful death suit which settled out of court, accusations of assaulting police officers where charges were ultimately dropped, and even an incident where Shakur sustained five gunshot wounds from shooter Dexter Isaac. In 1995 2Pac was sentenced one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half years in prison for sexual abuse. However, not even prison could slow the success of Shakur’s career.

While incarcerated 2Pac’s latest album at the time, Me Against the World, was number one in the pop charts and would later go double platinum. Shakur became the first artist to reach number one in the pop charts while serving a prison sentence. Making the most of his time in jail, 2Pac became a passionate reader. Among his favorites were the works of Niccolò Machiavelli, an Italian Renaissance writer whose works were in part the foundation for western political science. Shakur’s appreciation of his work inspired the nickname: Makaveli.

After serving only eight months of his sentence, 2Pac was out on parole thanks to a 1.4 million dollar bond paid by Suge Knight, CEO of Death Row Records. Now signed with Death Row Records, Shakur went on to create All Eyez on Me, which featured hits How Do You Want It and California Love.

2Pac’s life was cut short in September of 1996 when Shakur became the victim of a drive-by shooting while his car waited on a red light. While Shakur survived the surgery that followed he was pronounced dead almost a week after the attack.

Even today, 2Pac’s influence is wide-spread. From the Library of Congress where his song Dear Mama was added in 2010 to the National Registry, to artists like 11 time Grammy winner Eminem who in an interview with MTV said:

“He made you feel like you knew him. I think that , honestly, Tupac was the greatest songwriter that ever lived. He made it seem so easy. The emotion was there, and feeling, and everything he was trying to describe. You saw a picture that he was trying to paint.”

2Pac leaves a legacy of honesty and passion in his songs. Respected by many,  2Pac has become an inspiration for artists and a standard in rap music.”

-Copied & Pasted from: http://www.2pac.com/legend/

The Tupac Shakur Foundation

“MISSION

Our mission is to provide training and support for students who aspire to enhance their creative talents. Each and every child desires freedom to creatively express themselves. We provide an environment that encourages freedom of expression, serves as a resource for families, and empowers via education.

ABOUT

The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation (TASF) is home to the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts, just outside of Atlanta in Stone Mountain, Georgia. TASF was founded in 1997 originally as the Shakur Family Foundation by Afeni Shakur, mother of multi-talented Tupac Amaru Shakur. Since its inception TASF has offered performing arts camps, essay competitions, youth book clubs, visual arts workshops, community development projects, and scholarships to students pursuing undergraduate degrees.

On June 11, 2005 the TASF opened the Center! The Center is dedicated to providing youth and the community with educational programs in the arts. It is a fact that early arts education improves school grades, as well as offers invaluable life lessons while building self-esteem and confidence. For nearly 15 years, the Foundation’s programs have served youth of all social and economic backgrounds, giving countless young people the courage to get off the streets and learn vital skills that have the potential to positively impact their communities. The Center is open to the public and hosts several noteworthy events throughout the year.

MORE ABOUT TUPAC

Tupac Amaru Shakur dealt with great obstacles such as homelessness, hunger, and pain, amongst other situations during his youth. Performing arts provided the hope that would seed the expression that would one day influence generations worldwide.

Tupac accomplished a lot before his murder at the age of 25. At an early age, he wrote and organized family productions, casting himself as the lead and his older cousins in supporting roles. Tupac formally trained at the 127th Street Ensemble and Baltimore School for the Arts. At the age of twelve, he experienced his first formal stage role as the character “Travis” in the stage play ‘Raisin In the Sun’ at the prestigious Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

Tupac was eventually cast in several feature films and recorded several chart topping albums. In fact, he released the first ever double hip-hop CD.   Today, years after his physical departure, he is the second highest selling Hip-Hop artist of all time. His gift- his words and creative talent- continues to inspire others around the world!

-Copied & Pasted from: http://www.tasf.org/the-foundation/about-tasf/

Tupac Sends You Peace…