POTENTIAL SPACE: BLAIR J. DAVIS, Psy.D.
EXPLORING "IN TREATMENT" IN ISRAEL AND THE U.S.
Like the myths did for the Greeks, television presents us with depictions of personal and cultural psychic experience. To explore this process, on June 26, 2010, the C. G. Jung Institute presented "The Case of "In Treatment": Is What We See What We Get? Cultural Complex, TV Drama, and the Unconscious." The all-day seminar examined the concept of cultural complexes, including their manifestations and healing potentials in individual psychotherapy.
Tackling subjects such as the national identity of Israel; military culture; gender and sexuality; father-son relationships; and intergenerational wounding related to the Holocaust and to the oppression of African-Americans, presenters drew from parallel segments of the Israeli and American versions of "In Treatment," focusing on several specific characters. As the stories unfolded, participants used the characters" therapeutic relationships as a jumping-off point to discussing broader cultural and therapeutic issues.
For example, in a powerful moment in one of the U.S. episodes, the pilot's father confronts the therapist, accusing him of being responsible for the pilot's death. The conscious message here pertains to the hazards of examining our shadow side, of making ourselves vulnerable to emotion and self-doubt. It furthermore raises questions about the utility of denial and repression for surviving harrowing tasks, such as flying a bomber plane. On a more unconscious level, this clip spoke to the complexities of Black-White power relations, both in American culture and in the therapy relationship.
An enthusiastic audience of about 75 people attended the workshop on the Berkeley campus, which was moderated by Lynn Alicia Franco, MSW, LCSW, Jungian analyst. Panelists included Yael Moses, MS, MFT, psychotherapist; Sam Kimbles, PhD, Jungian analyst; Sarah Treem, MA., playwright and screenwriter; and Gavriel Moses PhD, professor of film studies, University of California, Berkeley. Y. Moses and Kimbles examined how the pilot's unfolding narrative is depicted in Israel and the U.S., and questioned how well particular cultural complexes translate to different cultures. Treem, one of the translators and writers of the U.S. version, addressed the subjects of theme, language, and character as they relate to culture. G. Moses discussed the integrity and rules of dramatic structure and their compatibility with those of the therapeutic narrative. Relevant highlights of a filmed interview with Hagai Levy, creator, director and producer of the series, were also shown. The event was presented in two parts: a morning session open to the general public and a clinically oriented afternoon session for psychotherapists. Afternoon participants received CEU credit, and all got much food for thought.
Blair J. Davis, Psy.D.
IMPULSE Staff Writer