Is Dr. Julia Batiz Inspired by an Actual Psychiatrist? Is Triad Project Real?

Image Credit: Mayra Ortiz/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘Triptych’ follows the story of a set of triplets who discover that they were intentionally separated at birth for being a part of an experiment. As they dive into the reasons behind their separation and the true nature of the experiment, they are assisted by a psychiatrist who had one of the triplets as her patient. This doctor, named Julia Batiz, is revealed to have her own secrets along the way. The story packs so many twists and turns that one can’t help but wonder about the psychiatrist’s intentions. Because the show is based on a true story, it makes us wonder if Dr. Batiz is also inspired by a real-life person. Here’s what you should know.

Dr. Julia Batiz is Inspired by a Real-Life Doctor

‘Triptych’ is based on the true story of three American triplets, but it follows the story from a fictional lens, which means the story of Rebecca, Aleida, and Tamara looks very different than what happened in real life. Consequentially, one cannot pinpoint whether a certain character is based on a real person. However, comparing the true and the fictional story, we can say that Dr. Julia Batiz’s character is inspired by Dr. Peter Neubauer, the real-life doctor who was revealed to have been experimenting on the American triplets.

Image Credits: New York Times

Dr. Neubauer was born in Krems, Austria, and came to New York in 1941. This detail is also used in ‘Triptych’ where Julia identifies a certain doctor in a photo as Austrian, as opposed to being German, which is what the others initially believed. Dr. Neubauer was an accomplished personality in his field. He was trained at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and was a co-editor of a study published at Yale that talked about child therapy. He was reported to have trained under Sigmund Freud’s daughter and was a member of the board for the Sigmund Freud Archives.

In 1951, he became the director of the Child Development Centre of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services in Manhattan. This is where he started working on the research of nature versus nurture, for which he reached out to adoption agencies to separate twins and triplets at birth and place them in different social hierarchies to study the effect of the surrounding in which they are brought up. The adopted children were visited by research scientists for the first decade or so, and later, it is speculated, an eye was kept on them from far, keeping track of the professional lines they chose and how they were doing in their personal lives.

It wasn’t until Lawrence Wright wrote an article in the New Yorker in 1995 that the reality of the experimenting came to light. Before this, the parents of the twins and triplets who had been separately adopted weren’t usually aware of the fact that their children had brothers and sisters. Despite the decades-long studies on the subject, the results of the experiment were never published. Neubauer died in 2008 at the age of 94, never publicly speaking about the hows and whys of his work.

The research, with papers and notes on the subjects, have been left to Yale University, where they will remain sealed till 2065, which is the estimated year by which the people affected by the experiments will no longer be in the world and the revelations will not affect their lives. However, in the making of the documentary, ‘Three Identical Strangers’, the filmmakers succeeded in getting thousands of pages worth of study, most of which was redacted, and it was given to the triplets whose story serves as an inspiration for ‘Triptych’. Talking about Neubauer, Shafran revealed that the doctor didn’t seem to have any remorse about his actions. “If anything, he reinforced his position. We were subjects, and it was a study. [But] you don’t do a study with human experimentation,” Shafran said.

The Triad Project: Fiction Inspired by Real Controversial Experiments

Image Credits: Mayra Ortiz/Netflix

Considering that ‘Triptych’ takes a fictional approach to tell its story, there is a good chance that the Triad Project is not real. However, considering the work of Dr. Neubauer and the morally questionable experiments that take place in secret, one cannot completely reject the possibility that such a project might be real after all. When the case of the triplets— Edward Galland, David Kellman, and Robert Shafran— came out, even their adoptive parents were shocked to find out that they had brothers. They confronted the adoption agency about keeping it a secret from them and they were told that the reason was that a set of triplets was usually difficult to get adopted. The parents weren’t satisfied with the answer, and eventually, they got to the truth.

It is not revealed what this study was titled, but it is said to have involved many more twins and triplets. One of the organizations which had funded Dr. Neubauer’s study was the Jewish Board which has since expressed regret over the fact that such an experiment was allowed to happen. They said that they do “not endorse the Neubauer study, and we deeply regret that it took place. For many years, The Jewish Board has been, and will continue to be, committed to providing people who were involved with the Neubauer study access to their records in a timely and transparent manner.”

While the triplets received more than 10,000 pages of the study, Robert Kellman expressed his anger and dissatisfaction over the people who knew what was happening and didn’t do anything about it. “Those who were studying us saw there was a problem happening. And they could have helped. That’s the thing we’re most angry about. They could have helped . . . and didn’t.” Talking about their story, Tim Wardle who directed the documentary ‘Three Identical Strangers’ said: “There are people living in New York City now, practicing psychiatrists, who were heavily involved in setting [the study] up. They refused to talk to [the filmmakers] even when we had the proof they were involved in it.”

Read More: Are Aleida, Rebecca, and Tamara Based on Real Triplets? Where are They Now?