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The Shrink Next Door — Apple TV+ Teaches An Important Lesson

image credit: Apple TV+

Starring Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd (among others), the Apple TV+ original show The Shrink Next Door explores an atypical relationship spanning multiple decades between a psychiatrist and his patient. It teaches an important lesson on relationship boundaries.

Marty (played by Will Ferrell) is struggling to cope with grief and anxiety attacks following the loss of his parents. He is nudged by his sister to seek therapy that will help him keep his anxiety-driven symptoms under control, while fully accepting and tackling his demons. Upon meeting Dr. Ike (played by Paul Rudd), he is skeptical at first to open up and admit what is wrong in his life but is later convinced by Ike’s unconventional methods that he may be able to turn his life around.

***SPOILERS BELOW***

How it all began

Slowly, but surely, Dr. Ike gives Marty the confidence he needs to stand up for himself and own his ground. As the show progresses, Marty is trapped deep in Ike’s web of delusion. Disguising himself as a psychiatrist who truly cares about his patients’ wellbeing, Ike is abusing and exploiting his power once he realizes just how wealthy Marty is.

Marty celebrates a Bar-mitzvah as a grown man, cuts ties with his sister, hires Ike to work at his fabric business, and opens a Foundation because of Ike. Unbeknownst to him, Ike finds plenty of ways to spend and take credit for Marty’s money. He even convinces Marty to renovate his Hamptons villa and chop down a treasured family tree of high sentimental value to buy the adjacent property as well.

Marty believes he owes his life to Dr. Ike, and for that — he’s willing to pay any price.

How much is too much?

Every relationship needs boundaries. Friends, siblings, parents, romantic partners — there’s a fine line between acting out of the concern and claiming to know what’s best for you.

In my opinion, you know what’s best for you. Sure, until you’re in your late teens, your parents know what’s best for you for the most part. They help direct you towards having the best life you could have and they come from a place of “learning from our mistakes”. But, who should make all the important decisions about your life? Who should control your career? Who should decide how to spend your money? Not your parents, friends, and surely not your therapist.

Guidance is allowed and welcomed. But overstepping boundaries can be a dangerous thing. Your relationship with your therapist shouldn’t pour into your day-to-day life.

Why are boundaries important?

It’s almost terrifying how easily Marty is convinced that Ikes recommendations stem from the goodness of his heart. It’s easy to be trusting and it’s difficult to say no, especially to people in a position of power.

What power does Ike have here? He is seemingly singlehandedly responsible for turning around Marty’s life. He is charming and manipulative. Not only does this allow Ike to be in charge of Marty’s finances, but it also perpetuates a toxic relationship that cannot end until Marty realizes for himself that in an attempt to use therapy to gain control over his life, he’s lost all control thanks to his therapist.

Boundaries are important to ensure you don’t lose your true self. Good boundaries build strong relationships. These relationships are positively stimulating and they don’t hold you back.

“Stop asking why they keep doing it and start asking why you keep allowing it” — Charles J. Orlando

What have I learned from The Shrink Next Door?

  1. Get help if/when you need it - battling anxiety and grief is not something you need to go through alone!
  2. Always be conscious of your boundaries. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut and re-evaluate your relationships.
  3. “Bad” people can belong to “good” professions — it just becomes something for them to hide behind.
  4. Keep track of your own goals. Write them down, tell them to a friend, or keep them handy on your Notes app. Remind yourself what’s important to you and how you want to live your life.

Overall, a great show with impressive acting and good takeaway lessons to learn from.

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Meghana Murthy

Meghana Murthy

Data Science | Octane | New York City | Books | Piano | Music