What can depictions of psychotherapy on screen teach us about ourselves?

 In Eavesdropping, a selection of contributions from internationally-based film consultants, practicing psychotherapists and interdisciplinary scholars investigate the curious dynamics that occur when films and television programmes attempt to portray the psychotherapist, and the complexities of psychotherapy, for popular audiences.

 The book evaluates the potential mismatch between the onscreen psychotherapist, whose raison d’être is to entertain and engage global audiences, and the professional, real-life counterpart, who becomes intimately involved with the dramas of their patients.  While several contributors conclude that actual psychotherapy, and the way psychotherapists and their clients grapple with notions of fantasy and reality, would make a rather poor show, Eavesdropping demonstrates the importance of psychotherapy and psychotherapists on-screen in assisting us to wrestle with the discomfort – and humour - of our lives.

 Offering a unique insight into perceptions of psychotherapy, Eavesdropping will be essential and insightful reading for analytical psychologists, psychoanalysts, academics and students of depth psychology, film and television studies, media studies and literature, as well as filmmakers.

chapter |12 pages


part I|51 pages

Erotic transference

chapter 2|23 pages

Challenging Freud on the Realities of Erotic Transference with Fictional Case Study

The Sopranos (1999–2007) and In Treatment (2008–2010)

chapter 3|13 pages

The Real Psychotherapist

An impossibility for film

part II|62 pages

The psychoanalytic approach

chapter 4|14 pages


Ecstasy, therapy, and the animal

chapter 5|13 pages

‘A Conversation between Enlightened Friends’

The mutual reassurances of the arts and sciences in Freud (1984)

chapter 7|20 pages

The Bad Psychoanalyst

Watching the success of failure

part III|55 pages

A contest of wills

chapter 8|15 pages

Shrink-Wrapped Television

Simulated therapy, disclosure, and the lure of ‘plausible doubt’

chapter 11|14 pages

Romance or Psychotherapy?