Listen to 'In Therapy' with Susie Orbach: 5 episodes (15 minutes each)
"Psychotherapist Susie Orbach explores the private relationship between therapist and patient. We join Susie in her consulting room, where she meets a different client each day.
All of the clients are played by actors, but these are not scripted scenes. Each client profile has been carefully constructed by therapist Susie, director Ian Rickson (former artistic director at the Royal Court, and director of the highly acclaimed 'Jerusalem') and radio producer Kevin Dawson. The client profiles have been given to the actors who have learnt about their characters lives, backgrounds, and individual reason for seeking therapy. The scenes have then been improvised and recorded on hidden microphones at Susie's surgery."
What needs to be said, of course, is that Susie presents her own unique and sophisticated style and brand of therapy, an amalgamation of modern relational psychoanalysis (rooted deeply in the British independent tradition of psychoanalysis), feminism and a cultural critique of the objectification of the body. She doesn't attempt a left-brain definition of the discipline, but tries to evoke the atmosphere and feeling of the therapeutic space she creates. This works very well via the radio and the particular setup of this series (improvisation with actors). The basic format is obviously inspired by the TV series 'In Treatment' by HBO some years ago, which in turn was based on Israeli TV series, with a daily episode of a therapy session).
The disadvantage of Susie bringing the listener into her own consulting room, without any general remarks about the diverse field of therapy, is of course that the uninformed listener begins to assume that this IS what all therapy is. The reality is that some other therapists and therapies would respond to the same clients very differently. Once the series is finished, I'll try to discuss what kind of impression we might get from the particular style that Susie is presenting, and its advantages and disadvantages.