NOTHING, not even her starring role as a victimized patient in this week's TV movie "Betrayal of Trust," could ever sour Judith Light on the benefits of psychotherapy.
After undergoing years of therapy, Light plays a woman who is sexually abused by her internationally reknowned psychiatrist in the NBC movie, based on a true story and airing at 8 p.m. Monday on Channel 5.
"This is a story of real treachery," says Light, longtime star of sitcoms like "Who's the Boss' and the current "Phe nom" (7:30 p.m. Tuesdays on Channel 2). "The relationship of a therapist and patient is sacrosanct and betrayal is profound and can have far-reaching consequences."
Light has never in her own therapy encountered anything remotely like what her newest movie shows happening to singer and songwriter Barbara Noel, repeatedly drugged by Chicago therapist Jules Masserman (played in the movie by Judd Hirsch).
"My experiences in therapy have been completely different," she says. "I've learned there always was a real self inside of me, not a self adapted to the world around me, but a real me that was able to be solid no matter what happened outside. That self was the heart of me. Therapy got me in touch with the real me that is generous and loving and kind and powerful and successful - and I think everyone can be that way ultimately."
Light spent time with the real-life Barbara Noel and read her book "You Must Be Dreaming" while filming "Betrayal."
"She inspired me," says Light. "I saw that she initially perceived herself as a victim, but eventually she became the little guy standing up to the big guy. She had a terrible experience, but she did not stay a victim. I would encourage anyone to get therapy, but we as patients also have to pay attention to what is going on while we're there."
The actual Barbara Noel eventually won a civil settlement from Masserman and saw - him censured by the American Psychiatric Association, a group he once served as president. The real-life Judith Light, mean while, uses what she's learned in therapy to guide her career.
"I choose my projects very carefully," says the 44-year-old actress. "I choose them because I feel there is something about the person I'm playing that I want to communicate to people. …