Posted Oct 12, 2010 @ 8:12 PM
I'm still skeptical that we are being given Dr. Feelbad -- allegedly strict Freudian, but in reality, sheer charlatan -- followed by Dr. Goodwitch. Is that the Mad Men way?
Dr. Edna is still a psychiatrist (not a psychologist or therapist) trained by the medical profession in the 30's or 40's. She is part of a profession that made its living blaming virtually every psychological or psychiatric malady on bad mothers -- not simply "bad mothering", but very specifically, the women themselves -- and would continue to do so for the next few decades. And in doing so, usually went far beyond what Freud, Jung, Adler, Erikson or other giants of the field would have endorsed.
We may hope that Sally is seeing someone with a genius for transcending the mores of her times and training, akin to Dr. Spock's, but I'm not yet convinced.
Betty asked her a direct question that deserved a direct answer: "Can't I talk to you?", and that answer was, "No. Because I can't help you. It would be like your going to see Sally's pediatrician. You wouldn't. A good psychiatrist for adults can listen and help you in ways that I can't." With the follow-up question, "Have you ever considered seeing a psychiatrist?" Which would have led to a very different conversation.
Sally she allowed to say, of Betty, "She doesn't care about the truth" -- a fascinating statement, right or wrong -- without asking why Sally thought so, what Sally meant by that, if Sally cared about the truth, and how that was different from Betty, or anyone else. Instead, she gave Sally the bromide that Betty suffers "stresses", and when Betty is angry with her, that Sally isn't bad or doing anything wrong.
That's a little general. I don't think she should be asking Sally to see Betty's point of view, or to ignore the possibility -- even the likelihood -- that Betty is over-reacting. I appreciate that she is giving Sally that understanding to hang onto. But a girl as bright as Sally can handle a lot more than that. Even the toothbrushing anecdote might have prompted Dr. Edna to ask, "Why do you think your mother didn't believe you?" Odds are, Sally has lied before about having brushed her teeth (who didn't?), and while it would be easier for Betty to just say, "So get to bed," she didn't. The fact is that one of the "stresses" in Betty's life is raising a child who is willful (good girl!) and acts out, has weird imaginings and steals from Grandpa, lies when she thinks she has to, isn't where she said she'd be, and thinks her mom is mean. A kid with a mind of her own, Don's gift of reading people and already some of his ability to keep his own secrets and act unilaterally. (And -- a failure of the writing for a character with whom we've spent so much time -- hasn't been shown to love anything of her own.)
Finally, I'm most skeptical because I'm not seeing what Dr. Edna is seeing when she says that Sally has made remarkable progress. The Sally I believe in is not the Sally who asked to have dinner with Betty and Henry, nor the Sally who tells Dr. Edna she is at once just fine and plenty angry about doing what Betty wants. The Sally I believe in is the one who has a secret assignation with Glen after school every day.