Countertransference | a short film

Countertransference Poster by j.kiley ’17

One of the more bizarre comedy’s on psychotherapy. Inappropriate behavior leads to a strange . dark humor. The therapist really is deranged who pushes the boundary limits beyond anything ever expected. Dry . dark humor. A client gets into therapy to seek help in understanding their life and all things in it. This therapist is so bizarre . it goes beyond the limits which create one with an unusual comic sense . will find the humor and sexuality beyond the pale . yet inside laughing funny. Be brave. Take a step toward the inner sanctum of a totally off the wall way of being a psychotherapist. One step away from stepping off the edge of her professional ethics into a pile of insane proclamations of ridiculous yet bizarre ideas of treatment methods no therapist in the right mind would ever consider doing. I’m delighted with all the fucked up therapists I have seen since I was a teenager were never hanging in mid-air the way the one does in ‘Countertransference.’

But then my first psychiatrist fucked up on my psyche meds [they were the wrong prescription] and taking them caused me to OD . days later he is the one who had the nervous breakdown along with hospitalization. I was only a teenager and didn’t know what psyche meds did then and when it turned out he gave me speed . not a tranquilizer . it does make a difference when I was just trying to calm down and took too many pills because they were not working.

My boss sent me the hospital after I returned to work and had a mini-meltdown. My stomach was pumped and I was sent to my sister and brother-in-law’s place for the night while in a deep state of withdrawal and depression. It was better than going home and I Serendipitously discovered W.C. Fields late that night. I started laughing hysterically. My depression lifted. So from further experience [I’ve seen many therapists since that day and few were the special ones]. I would say no one would ever do countertransference under such extreme circumstances. Wacky. One crazy short film. Not meant for younger children or those below teenage years. – j.kiley

Countertransference | Madeleine Olnek

Rating . . . R (Dark Comedy . Sexuality . Live Action)
Length . . . 15m 6s

Directed By Madeleine Olnek
Made In USA

I’ve yet to see Madeleine Olnek’s first Sundance kissed short Hold Up, but if it’s even a shadow of the comedy Countertransference is, then no explanations are necessary as to why Olnek is racking up festival awards and screening selections like they’re going out of style.

Countertransference, as I know from my boozy stint as a psychology undergrad, results when a therapist transfers their unconscious feelings to a patient. I highly recommend daily sessions with HBO’s In Treatment if you’re in need of a visual reference. However in the skillful hands of Olnek, it’s a means by which sheepish and assertively challenged New Yorker Carla Carthrop is trapped in a less than ideal job at a junk store . where loyal service will be rewarded with a step down to the basement and with a therapist who’s techniques for confronting unconscious suicidal tendencies or transference could be called questionable to say the least.

I’m often cynical about comedy shorts. Even allowing for taste or cultural differences, most filmmakers out there are too quick to jump to the defense of not ‘getting it’ when the laughs fail to materialize instead of looking to a weak script and even weaker gags. However Olnek’s chops as a playwright are evident from the painful awkwardness of Countertransference’s situations and perfectly exploits the power imbalance present in all worker/boss, patient/therapist relationships that even the brave and bold find difficult to transcend. Did I laugh? Yes, often and hard. If you find yourself lacking even the hint of a smile throughout Countertransference’s 15 minute running time, I suggest you seek some professional help.