Dr. Mefli - Good therapist? What was her deal?

#1
So this is a forum to discuss what you think about Dr. Melfi as a Psychologist/Psychiatrist, and as a person in general (i dont want to focus on Dr Melfi dropping Tony as a patient at the end because that's been covered so many other places, rather I'd like to focus on her up until that moment)

I've seen a few therapists in my lifetime, but none like Dr. Melfi
Still she seemed like a realistic depiction of a therapist, however personally I would never want a therapist like her. She seemed very aggressive/passive aggressive.

I feel like she wasn't a good therapist for Tony and he could have gotten a lot more benefit from a different type of therapist.
(I think they did that on purpose though, as part of the cynical outlook the show had in general concerning social services, and people in general)


I've thought so much about how Tony talks about wanting to be like Gary Cooper, the strong and silent type, and how he should have been encouraged. After all it is a good goal to strive for. Why did that aspiration have to be challenged? IMHO, a therapist shouldn't judge their patients aspirations and ideals, they should be there to help the person reach those goals. Tony should have been encouraged and been comforted that through therapy he could receive help to truly become the kind of person he felt he should be.
In other words if I were his therapist I would try and help him become the strong and silent man, THROUGH therapy, after all being strong and silent is about being emotionally healthy and confident, and those are goals for any person to achieve.

Anyway mostly the feedback on Dr Melfi as a Therapist has been positive (except when she "dropped" Tony when he needed her most), and personally I mostly disagree, she was very smart but was she a good therapist, or good for Tony anyway?

Re: Dr. Mefli - Good therapist? What was her deal?

#2
She was a terrible!. First of all, she had a patient who presented with pretty clear signs of Antisocial Personality Disorder, yet she did so little research on the condition as to be unaware of the well-publicised study which ultimately led her to drop him as a patient, which had been published many years before she had first taken him on.

Secondly, the most effective form of treatment for panic disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy, not psychotherapy, although it can be used in conjunction with CBT. Melfi waited years before even suggesting CBT and dropped the suggestion very quickly, although psychotherapy had not significantly improved the condition, because of her need to keep her therapeutic relationship with Tony.

She was far too personally invested in him, and committed a major transgression by revealing his name at the dinner party. Every shrink at that table deserved to be professionally sanctioned.

Re: Dr. Mefli - Good therapist? What was her deal?

#3
SacredPropane wrote:She was a terrible!. First of all, she had a patient who presented with pretty clear signs of Antisocial Personality Disorder, yet she did so little research on the condition as to be unaware of the well-publicised study which ultimately led her to drop him as a patient, which had been published many years before she had first taken him on.

Secondly, the most effective form of treatment for panic disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy, not psychotherapy, although it can be used in conjunction with CBT. Melfi waited years before even suggesting CBT and dropped the suggestion very quickly, although psychotherapy had not significantly improved the condition, because of her need to keep her therapeutic relationship with Tony.

She was far too personally invested in him, and committed a major transgression by revealing his name at the dinner party. Every shrink at that table deserved to be professionally sanctioned.


HAH! i agree totally! well put. i dont hold it against the show because imho the writers did that on purpose, i think that the show was trying to create a very skeptical view of the world, social services in particular, the people we rely on most to "care" for us. I should start another thread on the Father Phil. That was another character.

Re: Dr. Mefli - Good therapist? What was her deal?

#4
She was a typical shrink, IMO. A shrink is a fraud by definition anyway and she was a typical shrink. I really hated that character and couldn't see the reason for keeping it as part of the story after the first season.

One point that is made over and over is that Tony gets no help from his "therapy". He quits taking the drugs, ignores her nonsensical suggestions, and leaves therapy repeatedly, only to come back hoping to get something out of it.

Good therapist? Is there such a thing?

Re: Dr. Mefli - Good therapist? What was her deal?

#5
Sonny Tatts wrote:She was a typical shrink, IMO. A shrink is a fraud by definition anyway and she was a typical shrink. I really hated that character and couldn't see the reason for keeping it as part of the story after the first season.

One point that is made over and over is that Tony gets no help from his "therapy". He quits taking the drugs, ignores her nonsensical suggestions, and leaves therapy repeatedly, only to come back hoping to get something out of it.

Good therapist? Is there such a thing?


i gotta agree, but i gotta say i thought it was an essential part of what the sopranos show was all about. i definately wouldnt have removed any of those scenes from the show. what they did was allow us into the mind of tony. and that was what the show was all about. she did help him time to time. she was full of herself tho, but still, lorraine braccos acting was great. also she was correct alot of times about what was going on. she could tell what was going on in his life based on his words, and he would get mad, but tony was smart, but emotional. tony wanted to control his emotions. really tony liked the therapy, he got to vent and talk, and we liked hearing him vent and talk about stuff. idk thats how i feel anyway. i think some therapy can be good, when you have someone whose down to earth. anyway people like dr melfi dont exist anymore in real life. she wasnt a therapist she was a psychiatrist and these days they talk to u a few minutes and give u a prescription for meds and your out the door, u wanna talk, u talk to a therapist. you dont see one person for both. and all the pyschoanalysis, most therapist/clinical social workers dont do all the psycho analysis, fruedian stuff about dreams and w/e. tony was right tho about the whole thing being just a jerk off. it kinda helped him deal with his feelings about giving up tony b. but it didnt really help since in the end he didnt give up his cousin, and that was very poor judgement.

Re: Dr. Mefli - Good therapist? What was her deal?

#6
tunafish wrote:i gotta agree, but i gotta say i thought it was an essential part of what the sopranos show was all about. i definately wouldnt have removed any of those scenes from the show. what they did was allow us into the mind of tony. and that was what the show was all about. she did help him time to time. she was full of herself tho, but still, lorraine braccos acting was great. also she was correct alot of times about what was going on. she could tell what was going on in his life based on his words, and he would get mad, but tony was smart, but emotional. tony wanted to control his emotions. really tony liked the therapy, he got to vent and talk, and we liked hearing him vent and talk about stuff. idk thats how i feel anyway. i think some therapy can be good, when you have someone whose down to earth. anyway people like dr melfi dont exist anymore in real life. she wasnt a therapist she was a psychiatrist and these days they talk to u a few minutes and give u a prescription for meds and your out the door, u wanna talk, u talk to a therapist. you dont see one person for both. and all the pyschoanalysis, most therapist/clinical social workers dont do all the psycho analysis, fruedian stuff about dreams and w/e. tony was right tho about the whole thing being just a jerk off. it kinda helped him deal with his feelings about giving up tony b. but it didnt really help since in the end he didnt give up his cousin, and that was very poor judgement.


I agree on the part about not seeing one doctor for both I see a psychologist for my "talk therapy" for my OCD, and psychiatrist for my medication. The psychiatrist for the most part is a bore, the "therapist" has actual personality.
Your both very angry.
Yeah you must have been at the top of your fucking class. ~ Tony and Dr. Melfi
I lost my fucking shoe! ~ Paulie

Re: Dr. Mefli - Good therapist? What was her deal?

#7
My opinion of Melfi as therapist is mixed. At some points I thought she was good and at some points I didn't. I always thought though that she genuinely wanted to help Tony. I think she tried to make him realize that the criminal life he leads is bad for him and is what causing him the depression and panic attacks, but she never explicitly stated it. Maybe that was her flaw - she wasn't completely honest with him. She never told him about her attraction to him either. I remember in one episode, she suggested the idea of "getting out", as in from the criminal life, but it was very brief and she dropped it very quickly.

I think that Melfi was very attached to Tony on some level, and wanted to continue the therapy because of her attachment to him. I can't figure out exactly why she was attached to Tony, or what she saw in him that made her want to keep him as a patient. Because from a professional stand-point she should have realized a long time ago that she is not the right therapist for him. But I think she truly believed she was the right therapist for him and that he can change.

I also want to comment on the therapy scenes. I think they were very very good, at some points they were the highlight of the episode for me. The interaction between them was very realistic and insightful. And I also think the therapy scenes were very important to the show and to the character of Tony, as they let the viewer deep into his mind and showed us how complex the character really is.

Re: Dr. Mefli - Good therapist? What was her deal?

#8
She was OK but I think she should've been more encouraging to Tony, and the writing on her character got really sloppy in the last season with suddenly acting totally unprofessional and sarcastic and suddenly getting rid of Tony when he needs her the most(and her claims about him being more "manipulative" ring false since he doesn't come across that way at all, at least not at that point) I also hated that Chase and the writers decided it would be a good idea for her to get raped and then have the rapist completely get away with it, that whole thing didn't really seem to serve any purpose whatsoever and honestly came across as somewhat misogynist.
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