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.

3 thoughts on “Countertransference | a short film

  1. it was indeed pretty funny take on power dynamics. one thing i liked was that the “patient” wasn’t thoroughly lacking a spine, but rather it was only after a continued onslaught that her resistance failed. i suppose the only negative critique i would have is that it does play off the cultural bias against therapist and therapy. i know quite a few people who would say “and that’s why i don’t go to therapy,” or some variation of that. i would agree that the pool of good therapists is smaller than it should be, but i am grateful for my current therapist and some of those in the past, but not all of them. i have had some real losers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree there are some good psychotherapists out there. Finally, I have discovered a great person to be my psychotherapist. He is probably the best I have ever worked with so far as I am able to evaluate. The character who was the client was strong and fought off the false suggestions of a demented mind. The therapist over-analyzed without any evidence to suggest she had a clue what she was talking about. I am a believer in therapy. Everyone should try. My reasons for therapy for myself is to go deep inside of myself and release the demons and to discover who the real me is past all the BS I experienced. I am happy we both have good people to work with. I can’t imagine my life without a good therapist. It just wouldn’t be the same.

      Liked by 2 people

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