Mental Illness on the Screen

Psychiatric TimesPsychiatric Times Vol 24 No 8
Volume 24
Issue 8

Dr. Harvey Roy Greenberg briefly discusses the inaccuracies of psychiatry in today's movies and television shows.

I find absolutely no evidence that the portrayal of psychiatry in movies or on television has become substantively more accurate (Mental Illness on the Screen: No More Snake Pit, Psychiatric Times, April 2007, page 1). Gross distortions and downright errors still abound (eg, using propranolol as a "forgetting pill" in the courtroom on Boston Legal). No ethical practitioner would want a patient to watch A Beautiful Mind and think that the movie's portrayal of electroconvulsive therapy or insulin therapy was accurate. The Sopranos' Dr. Melfi is often held forth as a role model, but her "treatment" of the series' mobster antihero is riddled with egregious mistakes, and she intermittently betrays a startling lack of empathy.

I'm not acquainted with Dr Wolz's or Dr Zur's work in "cinema therapy," but I am generally dubious of such enterprises. Film and television drama is mainly crafted to tell a good story and to make money, not to educate a viewer on diagnoses, psychodynamics, or the management of mutual funds. Psychoanalytic criticism, among other critical strategies, does have a recognized place in the interpretation of cinema. Beyond this, one ventures onto very slippery ground indeed.

Related Videos
“What we’re striving to do is conquer the unmet needs that are still here with treating ADHD, especially from a medication standpoint.”
© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.