“Manipulative” is a throw away description that never tells the whole story. Piper may be manipulative, but really she’s desperate for love (and scared of it). Wily ways to get what she wants, even out and out lies, might seem the best way to go. Especially since openness doesn’t work so well with her mom and dad. In the first 5 episodes of Orange Is The New Black’s Season 3; we see the emotional costs of Piper’s hurt. Piper (Taylor Schilling) tries to be tough but she’s far from it. As Season 3 begins, Piper is struggling with whether or not...

We’re being led astray in The Truth, just like the people in Wayward Pines. The big reveal seems far from the real story. Otherwise, why was Dr. Jenkins (Toby Jones) AKA David Pilcher in Seattle telling Ethan’s boss (who wanted to call it off), “It’s been done, Adam. Nothing for you to worry about.” Why did Ethan (Matt Dillan) ask, just before he crashed, “Who is David Pilcher?” I seriously wonder if this town is a place that wayward people are sent when they ask too many questions, know too much, or have gone over some line somewhere. Or maybe M. Night...

Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon), Secret Service agent, apparently made a mistake and let someone suspicious go. Apparently, 621 people died. This weighs heavily on his conscience. Other mistakes weigh heavily, too. Such as having an affair with his partner, Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino) and hurting his wife and son. Yet, as four episodes of M. Night Shyamalan’s disturbingly strange world of Wayward Pines unfold, we begin to wonder if it’s all a hallucination in Ethan Burke’s mind - or something else. We can expect a surprise ending from Shyamalan. But, from my vantage point as a psychoanalyst, let’s take it as...

We’re left to wonder: what will become of Don Draper (Jon Hamm)? As Coca Cola’s hilltop jingle ends 7 seasons of Mad Men – we have questions that don’t have answers. Has Don changed? Or, is he just the quintessential ad man - a man who escapes into his stories because they’re better than his personal reality? Don’s early trauma has had some devastating effects.  If Don has changed, there’d be some very specific signs. First, though, to understand how he’d change, the crushing effects of his childhood trauma must be highlighted: Don doesn’t trust love He was neglected, abused, and abandoned....

We’re all still talking about Mad Men. And, yes, I agree - the characters often hit close to home with many of life’s painful realities. Yet, I have to say that the tongue in cheek jingle at Mad Men’s finale was a bit too disturbing. Leaving Sally (Kiernan Shipka) doing dishes in the kitchen with a dying mother and no father walking through the door is almost unbearably sad. We’re faced with the fact that one cry, a few encounter groups in an Esalen kind of therapy, just aren't enough to change the effects of Don's (Jon Hamm) traumatic childhood. His children are left to repeat...

Dr. Rice didn’t get Hannah at all. Season 2, It’s Back, leaves Hannah obsessively counting in 8’s. She needs a different kind of help. If Hannah was in therapy with me, I’d listen closely to her conflicting and ever-shifting feelings; her “I need your help. No, I’m fine.” “I’m sad. No, I’m not.” This is the torment behind OCD. When something feels one way, doubt sets in; or the feeling is flatly denied. Hannah doesn’t like to need anything, especially when she does: At lunch with her parents, before they insist she see Dr. Rice (Bob Balaban), Hannah (Lena Dunham) taps her...

Mad Men’s finale takes Don Draper (Jon Hamm) to the ultimate darkness of the soul, only to end up … Where? It seems a tragic cosmic joke to leave the Draper – Francis family the only ones with loose ends. Don might be back on his game, conjuring up the world’s greatest Coca Cola ad. But, why would he write a jingle about the real thing instead of doing it? It starts with two very difficult phone calls. First, Don talks to Sally (Kiernan Shipka). He’s jolted back into reality when convinced Betty’s (January Jones) dying of lung cancer: “What?! I’m...

  Hannah needs help. But Dr. Rice’s failure leaves her alone to manage feelings that are confusing, hated, and at odds with what she believes is normal. She doesn’t have any methods but counting 8’s to get troubling thoughts out of her head. And, then in Season 2, Episode 9, On All Fours, there’s the Q-tip … At the beginning of On All Fours, Hannah’s (Lena Dunham) in an elevator on her way to meet her publisher. She’s pulling and prodding at herself – poking her ear in series of 8’s. Her counting is going full force. She’s obviously very anxious. She must...

Don Draper’s (Jon Hamm) at a crossroad. He seems to be on the run again, but it’s not that simple. He’s searching for something. Trying to put together the pieces of Dick, the boy he left behind - pieces that include his mistakes. While he’s roaming the Milk and Honey Route in Season 7, Episode 13, there’s tragedy brewing back home for the Draper-Francis family. Betty is dying. As Betty faces death, Don faces what’s interfered with living. He wakes up to a dream: A cop pulls him over, “We’ve been looking for you. Knew we’d catch up to you eventually.” It’s...

Have you ever wondered what’s on a psychologist’s “don’t do” list for a session with a patient? Go to Season 2, episode 8, “It’s Back”, and re-watch Hannah’s (Lena Dunham) consultation with Dr. Rice (Bob Balaban). I know this is a comedy. But, there’s absolutely nothing funny about Hannah’s recurrence of OCD symptoms, her counting 8’s, and the torment she’s trying to fight off. As a psychologist who takes very seriously the close listening and sensitive responses my work requires, I found Dr. Rice’s behavior cringe-worthy. Here’s what went wrong: 1.  Don’t Be Detached And Cold An anxious Hannah sits across from...