#145 – A Psychoanalyst’s View of HBO’s “In Treatment”



You’ll recall from last week’s episode that Fern W Cohen, PhD, is a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist in private practice in New York City. Both of us have been fascinated by the fictional depiction of psychotherapy in HBO’s cable television series, “In Treatment.” Dr. Cohen graciously agreed to come back on to Shrink Rap Radio to discuss the series with me. Dr. Fern Cohen has long been committed to conveying in everyday language what the psychoanalytic process is about and how it works. She is the author of the 2007 book, From Both Sides of The Couch: Reflections of A Psychoanalyst, Daughter, Tennis Player, and Other Selves… A graduate of Radcliffe College, Dr. Cohen earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology from New York University and completed her analytic training at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis as well as the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR) of which she is a member. When she is not playing tennis, hanging out with her grandchildren or mastering music for two pianos, she is practicing psychoanalysis in New York City.



  1. Marc Kessler
    Posted March 30, 2008 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    I agree with your view of In Treatment. I think it is the best depiction of therapy that I have ever seen.

    A couple of points, first Mitchell is referred to in one or two of Paul’s sessions with Gina, so perhaps the “Institute” was Interpersonal.

    Second, having served on a licensing board, I am less optimistic than Dr. Cohen about the influence of training on therapist acting out. Unfortunately, the data don’t support the hope that more training will protect the therapist.
    Supervision may not protect either, but perhaps it might help to head off counter-transference acting out.

    Thanks for the thoughtful discussion.

    Marc Kessler, Ph.D.
    Professor Emeritus
    University of Vermont

  2. honeyrococo
    Posted April 3, 2008 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Hi! No time to write, just to say “Great Show”, (although I am already through with the free episodes and have no access to the new ones, alas)

    Also to mention that it is always disturbing to remember that I sound like a 12 year old when I speak!

    And finally, to wonder if that person whose letter you read said “Slash fiction” instead of “Flash fiction”? I at least have heard of Slash fiction which is where people write romantic / erotic sexual stories wherein fictional characters from popular fiction are re-cast into stories foregrounding same-sex relationships. Some popular ones are, for example, stories of the romantic / erotic love between Kirk and Spock, or Scully and Seven of Nine, or Buffy and Willow, or Mulder and Skinner, etc. The “Slash” is the “/” that is usually placed between these names e.g. “Kirk/Spock” or “K/S” …You can find examples online as there are lots of Fan Fiction sites that feature/publish these stories. I first learned of this in the book “NASA/TREK: Popular Science and Sex in America” by Constance Penley…


    She used to teach (and maybe she still does?” in the Film & Media Studies program at UC Santa Barbara.

    More soon!

  3. honeyrococo
    Posted April 3, 2008 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    To clarify, I meant that I was through with the free episodes of “In Treatment” — not (hopefully) with the free episodes of “Shrink Rap Radio”! Oops!

  4. honeyrococo
    Posted April 3, 2008 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Oh…I guess there is something called “Flash Fiction” too — that is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_fiction

    So I hope the original writer won’t be bothered that I took the discussion somewhere else entirely! Alas!

  5. ACT
    Posted April 28, 2008 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Great show! I haven’t been able to watch ‘In Treatment’ yet, but do have a few waiting for me on Tivo. I can’t wait to watch!

    PS – You and Dr. Cohen make a great podcasting team – you should definitely do more shows together! 🙂

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