Tag Archives: Lying

Psychoanalysis As Archaeology in Penny Dreadful

14 May

Dedicated to O…

Freud famously described psychoanalysis as archaeology, the unearthing of meaning layered deep beneath an “expanse of ruins.

In television and movies it’s closer to a detective story.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/28/arts/television/28stan.html

Penny Dreadful Dr Seward & Vanessa Ives

In their first meeting, Vanessa Ives {Eva Green} and Dr.Seward {Patti LuPone} explore the intimate relationship between {potential} patient and psychologist.

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This brilliant scene from Penny Dreadful illustrates how a alienist/psychologist/therapist/psychiatrist excavates the truth through words, gestures/body language, actions, etc. Although it is the first time that Vanessa Ives and Dr.Seward meet, the alienist sets her boundaries. Since it is a preliminary consultation, she has to assess if Vanessa will be her patient {“if I take your case”}. 

Vanessa’s gestures are psychoanalyzed {why are you scratching your hand? Why were you doing that?}. Vanessa replies shyly that she had an itch. Dr.Seward says “no, you didn’t” with conviction. To Dr.Seward, the scratching of the hand is not as it appears; it connotes nervousness/anxiety. Every gesture speaks volumes to the alienist/psychologist/psychiatrist

Vanessa sees Dr.Seward’s observations as a challenge. She says, “this is a challenge. You’ll see if I am worthy of study.” Her astute observations about Dr.Seward’s criteria are accurate. Through prelimiary psychoanalysis, the therapist is trying to assess if Vanessa is worthy of her time, energy and talents. Is she worth having as a patient?

Dr.Seward warns Vanessa, “I am not your friend or your priest or your husband. I am your doctor. You come to me to get better because you are ill- no other reason. Do you understand that?” She sets her professional boundaries clearly. The purpose of therapy is to heal Vanessa of her illness.

Dr.Seward’s compassion shines through despite her tough demeanor. She asks Vanessa, do you understand that you are ill- not bad, not unworthy- just ill? Depression often tricks a person into thinking that they are unworthy. It tells many lies. The therapist must convince the patient of their depressed state instead of internalizing a depressed identity.

She resassures Vanessa that there are “no emotions unwelcome in this room.” Vanessa is encouraged to release her emotions because it is cathartic to do so. Dr.Seward is also communicating to Vanessa that she will not be judged. She is free to speak and express herself as necessary. She also warns her, “if this process doesn’t appeal to you, the door is there.” It almost sounds like she is testing Vanessa or interrogating her at times.

The turning point is when Vanessa takes control of the narrative. She says with a smile, “you don’t want me to leave…because I scratch my hand. You find that telling…those phobias that interest you.” She assures the doctor that she might interest her as a patient. Vanessa notes that Dr.Seward doesn’t need the ten shillings but she does need interesting people to collect. Dr.Seward disagree with her by saying that she takes patients on to cure them. Vanessa asks, what the difference is between collecting and curing?

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This scene is when Dr.Seward really showcases her talents as the skilled alienist. She ends her analsysis with the metaphor of the ouroboros. {The snake eating its tail is a symbol of infinity}. In essence, Dr.Seward is telling Vanessa that she is trapped in an endless cycle of unhappiness as she constantly tortures herself.

12 Monkeys End At The Beginning

The ouroboros from the 12 Monkeys television series from Syfy

Dr. Seward (to Vanessa Ives):

“I already know what’s wrong with you.

You’re unhappy. You’re isolated.

You think you’re the cause of this unhappiness and are unworthy of affection so you’ve few friends.

Recently you lost something you think very important- your lover, your faith, your family, or all three.

You blame yourself for this, so it makes you neurotic and you don’t sleep and don’t eat anything healthy anyway.

You used to take care of your appearance, but you’ve lost interest in that, so you avoid mirrors.

Sunlight bothers you, so you avoid that too, about which you’re guilty because you think it’s unhealthy and even immoral not to like the sun.

You’re not a woman of convention or you wouldn’t be here, but you like to pretend you are so people don’t notice you.

But you sometimes like that as well, and can dress to draw the eye. But then you think the men who look at you are fools, or worse, to be taken in by such an obvious outward show.

So, instead you’re drawn to dark, complicated, impossible men, assuring your own unhappiness and isolation because, after all, you’re happiest alone.

But not even then because you can’t stop thinking about what you’ve lost, again, for which you blame yourself.

So the cycle goes on, the snake eating its own tail.”

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I highly recommend watching Penny Dreadful.

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These scenes convey the brilliant acting of Eva Green, Patti LuPone and the work of the creative teams behind Penny Dreadful. It also highlights the emancipating insight that one can gain from psychotherapy. I have been in psychotherapy and it is one of the best decisions I have made. The internal work is so challenging and often painful but it is worth it in terms of healing, personal development, self-discovery, growth, etc. I highly recommend it.

The key is being ready to open yourself up to examine your memory palace/the locked rooms in your mind and finding the right alienist/psychologist/therapist for you.

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P.s. I plan to do posts about the television shows Penny Dreadful; 12 Monkeys; the alienist; etc.

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Further Research…

Penny DreadfulPenny Dreadful’s Internet Movie Database Page

Eva Green..Eva Green’s Internet Movie Database Page

Patti LuPonePatti LuPone’s Internet Movie Database Page

12 Monkeys12 Monkey’s Internet Movie Database Page

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Peace & Psychoanalytic Love,

V.

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…Freedom From Toxicity -George Michael

7 May

George Michael {Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou} had the voice and heart of an angel.

{He often donated anonymously to numerous charities and humanitarian organizations}.

He remains one of my favourite singers/artists.

George Michael With Guitar

His song freedom was a push back against his record label Sony {at the time}.

Freedom Video CollageGeorge Michael Freedom I Don't Belong To You & You Don't Belong To Me

The song freedom can also represent freedom from toxicity, lies, manipulation, deceit, betrayal, selfishness, toxic situations, patterns of behaviour, thoughts, emotions, toxic strangers/family/friends/acquaintances/romantic entanglements.

How do you determine if a person or situation is toxic?

The toxicity lies in how damaging the person or situation is to yourself and your life.

Often their toxicity is like a contagion that infects your life as well.

The question you must ask yourself is:

does a person/situation contribute to your life?

Do they fuel your personal development/spiritual growth or do they inhibit it?

A toxic situation or person robs you of your time energy/vitality, peace, self-esteem, sanity, strength, love, etc.

Time and distance enlighten you about the toxicity of the situation or person.   

You can see the toxic web that you were entangled in.

The truth emancipates you.

Now I am free from that highly toxic person and the toxic energy he secretly brought into my life.

I wasn’t conscious of the toxic situation that he forced me into until much later. His toxic energy and behaviour were poisoning me.

At the time, I didn’t know.

I was asleep.

My intuition kept telling me something was wrong so I finally listened and it led me to the truth.

{I am so grateful that I listened to my inner wisdom}.

When the truth came to light, everything changed and I empowered myself.

As soon as I ripped his mask off and saw him for who he was {a narcissist, traitor/serial cheater, pathological liar & energy thief/psychic vampireamongst other things},

I ran as fast as I could}.

I am focused on detoxing further and healing. 

I have to keep the lessons present so that the next time toxicity enters into my life, I detox it with conviction.

Meanwhile, I am singing freedom to myself…

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Please enjoy Freedom by George Michael…

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FREEDOM! ’90 LYRICS

[Chorus]
I won’t let you down
I will not give you up

Gotta have some faith in the sound
It’s the one good thing that I’ve got
I won’t let you down
So please don’t give me up
Because I would really, really love to stick around

[Verse 1]
Heaven knows I was just a young boy
Didn’t know what I wanted to be
I was every little hungry schoolgirl’s pride and joy
And I guess it was enough for me

To win the race, a prettier face
Brand new clothes and a big fat place
On your rock and roll TV
But today the way I play the game is not the same, no way
Think I’m gonna get me some happy

[Pre-Chorus]
I think there’s something you should know
I think it’s time I told you so
There’s something deep inside of me
There’s someone else I’ve got to be
Take back your picture in a frame

Take back your singing in the rain
I just hope you understand
Sometimes the clothes do not make the man

[Chorus]
All we have to do now
Is take these lies and make them true somehow
All we have to see
Is that I don’t belong to you
And you don’t belong to me
Freedom
I won’t let you down, freedom
I will not give you up, freedom
Gotta have some faith in the sound
You got to give what you take
It’s the one good thing that I’ve got, freedom
I won’t let you down, freedom
So please don’t give me up, freedom
Cause I would really, really love to stick around

[Verse 2]
Heaven knows we sure had some fun, boy
What a kick, just a buddy and me
We had every big-shot goodtime band on the run, boy
We were living in a fantasy

We won the race, got out of the place
Went back home, got a brand new face for the boys on MTV

But today the way I play the game has got to change oh yeah
Now I’m gonna get myself happy

[Pre-Chorus]
I think there’s something you should know
I think it’s time I stopped the show
There’s something deep inside of me
There’s someone I forgot to be
Take back your picture in a frame
Don’t think that I’ll be back again
I just hope you understand
Sometimes the clothes do not make the man

[Chorus]
All we have to do now
Is take these lies and make them true somehow
All we have to see
Is that I don’t belong to you
And you don’t belong to me
Freedom
I won’t let you down, freedom
I will not give you up, freedom
Gotta have some faith in the sound
You got to give what you take
It’s the one good thing that I’ve got, freedom
I won’t let you down, freedom
So please don’t give me up, freedom
Cause I would really, really love to stick around

[Bridge]
Well it looks like the road to heaven
But it feels like the road to hell

When I knew which side my bread was buttered
I took the knife as well

Posing for another picture
Everybody’s got to sell
But when you shake your ass
They notice fast
And some mistakes were built to last

That’s what you get
I say that’s what you get
That’s what you get for changing your mind

And after all this time
I just hope you understand
Sometimes the clothes do not make the man

[Chorus]
All we have to do now
Is take these lies and make them true somehow
All we have to see
Is that I don’t belong to you
And you don’t belong to me
Freedom
I won’t let you down, freedom
I will not give you up, freedom
Gotta have some faith in the sound
You got to give what you take
It’s the one good thing that I’ve got, freedom
I won’t let you down, freedom
So please don’t give me up, freedom
Cause I would really, really love to stick around

[Outro]
I’ll hold on to my freedom
May not be what you want from me
Just the way it’s got to be
Lose the face now
I’ve got to live.”

 

Copied & Pasted from: https://genius.com/George-michael-freedom-90-lyrics

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Further Research…

George Michaelhttps://www.georgemichael.com/

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Peace & Freedom,

-V.

Reflection for today…The Horrors of Social Intercourse -Larry David

13 Apr

 “What’s uncomfortable is that people never tell one another the truth, in a way.

The truth is so uncomfortable for people because we’re not used to it.

You can’t have social intercourse by being truthful.

It doesn’t work. That’s why we’re all liars.

But you can on TV, so that’s why some people are uncomfortable.”

Larry David

Larry David says that social events are death…

Larry David relishes in honesty…

In this clip Larry discusses tricky social situations.

He questions social conventions with a fusion of comedy and honesty.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ky8yzS4VZY

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Do you agree with Larry’s thesis of social intercourse?

Do you think that we complicate ourselves too much by following these archaic social conventions?

Is it ironic that Larry David follows and enforces so many of his own rules yet he is a social assassin?

What coping mechanisms do you rely on in awkward social situations?

Do you want to be a “social assassin” like Larry David in Curb?

Leon is just as honest as Larry is…

What do you think would happen if there was more honesty in social interactions?

Would it be a disaster?

Or would it be pure joy and freedom?

Is “I have nothing more to contribute” your new exit line?

Is Larry David your comedic hero?

The Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus proudly wearing his Larry David t-shirt…

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For more information on Curb Your Enthusiasm…

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0264235/

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Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…Promises -Cormac McCarthy

2 Jul

“If you break the little promises then you’ll break the big ones.”

Cormac McCarthy

{From The Road}

Art by: quentinlars.deviantart.com


Peace & Namaste…