‘Sopranos’ on the Couch


In “Analyze This” (by Deborah A. Lott, Aug. 2), Dr. Glen Gabbard calls “The Sopranos” “the most accurate representation of psychoanalysis” he’s ever seen. Though the staff of “The Sopranos” should be commended for tackling this difficult subject, if their Dr. Melfi is the best model of psychoanalysis, that does not speak well for the scriptwriters.

In my view, Judd Hirsch’s portrayal of the therapist in “Ordinary People” is not only a more accurate and memorable image of an ethical and responsible therapist but reveals that it is consistent with professional psychoanalytic skill to convey human connection and caring while maintaining appropriate professional boundaries.

It is unfortunate that the article concludes with the idea that a successful therapy for Tony Soprano, namely leaving the mob, would end the show. It is the function of good therapy to help the patient contemplate options other than those of acting out of rage by hurting other people. Such enactments are not only destructive to others but ultimately affect the patient’s own self-esteem and well-being. There could be many complex and interesting issues explored from that perspective.



California Institute for Clinical

Social Work, Los Angeles