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Psychiatric Conditions That Cartoon Characters Are Portraying

Watching your child’s favorite cartoon can be a form of bonding. But do you know that some cartoon characters may demonstrate some hidden mental disorders?  

Child psychologists are very keen on how young children are exposed to TV shows. They are imposing that TV shows, including cartoons, need to be screened and allowed to be shown at a very early age.  


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This entry was posted in Films.

Alcoholism: From Real To Reel Moments



Alcohol is a common sight in any social gathering. Taken for the first time can release any inhibitions such as if a person is shy, it can help him initiate or maintain communication. Too much alcohol, on the other hand, can alter one’s cognitive processes, changes mood, and behavior, and can be a cause of violent conflicts.

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This entry was posted in Films.

When Scripts Lie: How Media Wrongfully Portrays Counseling

Since details about counseling are shown in the cinemas and on your television screens, it might be the truth, right? Wrong!




Onscreen Therapists – Not Your Average Characters

There might’ve been the possibility that you’ve seen therapists shown on your screen a couple of times and more often than not, what you see is mostly misrepresentation of what real-life therapists are. Pop culture’s notion of what happens during treatment sessions is mainly based on what they wanted therapists to be – fictional – rather than being authentically faithful to its source. Unfortunately, most high-quality flicks show inaccurate depictions of counseling.


“Therapy is intended to be a place to carefully and safely start to turn toward whatever it is you’ve got.” Molly Bowman, MS, LPC said. So when movie and television scripts exaggerate or use their privilege to show an unreliable rendering of an essential medical profession, it is the audience’s duty as their viewers to pinpoint what’s real from what’s not efficiently. After all, it’s just television. But if television can influence the viewer’s perspective, representation should be close to the truth.




Fallacies Versus Accuracies

Below are frequent inaccuracies and errors that are shown in films and the reality behind them.


Fallacy #1: Therapists Fix Problems

Fictional counselors or therapists that you see in movies and on TV mostly provide all the answers to their clients. Even the infamous Dr. Phil who is not fictional at all offers advice and gives lectures on air. People should understand that “therapy is a lot of work and this is important to keep in mind before starting. It’s imperative to understand this so that you can set realistic expectations for yourself.”


Accuracy: Real-life therapists provide guidance and support and let their clients figure out the answers and best solutions to their predicaments. From time to time, if warranted and on certain occasions, therapists might provide suggestions on altering a particular behavior by giving activities in between sessions. This type of method is more of a directive than advice because it allows the person to explore their capabilities and inner knowledge to address their grievances and dilemmas. “While many therapists are qualified to treat common challenges such as anxiety or depression, if you are interested in working with a specialist to address a specific challenge, you should consider looking out-of-network.” Stacy Donn Cristo, LMHC said.


Fallacy #2: Therapists Are Bad At Keeping Secrets

There’s always that one therapist in a specific show that spills out all the details about a particular client to a friend or other people. And sometimes, they are even one of the antagonists of the story.


Accuracy: Therapists are sworn to secrecy by their profession and are obligated to maintain strict confidentiality at all times. Whatever conversations or experiences you’ve shared with your therapist will never be shared with anyone without your permission. However, there are always certain exceptions to the rule, especially when imminent danger or threat is looming. Usually, before the session begins, your therapist will inform you about the terms and conditions of your relationship.


Fallacy #3: Therapists Often Form Romantic Relationships With Their Patients

Vulnerability and dependency of a person who is always seeking the help of his or her therapist is somehow a written plot device for the two characters involved. Sometimes, it gives this bad impression that real-life therapists can be predatory and will take advantage of their client’s susceptibility.


Accuracy: “The foundation of therapy is based on the relationship you build with your therapist. When seeking someone out it’s important you feel comfortable with them.” says Elana Schechtman-Gil LMFT, But ethically, having sexual contact or forming relationships with people who seek professional advice is inadmissible. Dual relationships created between the patient and therapist is harmful and can be ineffective to the overall treatment.




Always remember that the majority of whatever you see on television or in movies about counseling is mostly counterfactual. Real-life therapists are bound by their profession to practice within the scope of their responsibility. Expectations and goals are first laid out before the therapeutic process begins to create a trusting and efficient relationship between the patient and the therapist.


This entry was posted in Films.

Psychiatrist Warns: Widespread Media Stigmatization Negatively Affects Mental Health




In the eventuality of a preposterous deed of random chaos or violence, a lot of people seem to be inclined to brand the perpetrator a “lunatic” or, the more popular one, “crazy.” Granting the antagonist may be experiencing mental problems, immediately assigning the said brands creates a massive disservice to people who suffer and live with mental illness on a daily basis.


Reality is, anybody who has mental health problems is more likely to be the victim rather than what the media illustrates them to be–the perpetrator of cold-blooded violence. Daisy Chow, LPC, NCC once said, “Just because I’m in therapy it doesn’t mean that I am crazy. No one is going to invalidate your problems.” Therefore, labeling a violent crook “crazy” spreads malicious and dangerous stereotype that deceives the complicated connection between mental illness and criminality is trash. This controversial link only alarms most psychiatrists or people who are in the medical field dealing with mental conditions.


The Deceptive Stigmatization

Media is a powerful and influential source of information that teaches us new things about individuals with whom we do not interact routinely. This continuous flow of visibility exhibited on people’s television screens provides incessant social telltales about the behavior and nature of specific groups of people, which includes those who should be scorned or praised. “The rise and growing significance of social media has caused an influx of mental health concerns, such as low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. Now is the time to start paying attention to how social media is influencing your life choices and mental health.” That is according to Brie Shelly, MS, LMHC, RYT.


The portrayals of people suffering from mental health issues often distort toward either trivialization or stigmatization. Consequently, the majority of media outlets —including social media, newspapers, films, televisions, and magazines – have been thoroughly criticized for propagating inaccurate characterizations and negative stereotypes of those who struggle with mental health conditions. Thus, the stigmatization of mental illness happens.





Media Stigmatization

Based on an article published in the Journal of Health Communication, some of the common stigmatizations that are currently being provocatively and unabashedly shown by the media are the following:


  1. People With Schizophrenia Are Dangerous And Must Be Isolated

When people realize that one has schizophrenia, the first notion that usually comes to mind is a person with a severe mental disorder who is disruptive and should be isolated from society. This idea is probably the most defamatory stigmatizations of a mental health problem in media, usually being given antagonistic roles. Eminently, schizophrenic characters are mostly presented as killers, slashers, or homicidal maniacs, either in film or television.


  1. Problematic Focus

Rather than framing the behavior and indifference of the mental health issue as a societal concern, media mostly accounts its focus on the person. For this reason, consumers of media content usually blame mentally ill people for whatever perceived wrongdoing instead of setting their attention on the factors that caused the condition to surface. This type of thinking is worrisome for it misconstrues the audience’s perception and also increases the chances of prejudice and discrimination by society.


  1. Overgeneralization

Not one mental disorder is similar to another, which is why there are categories and classifications. However, the media seems to have abused its power to narrate psychological health problems wherein a majority of storytelling revolves around the overgeneralization of mental illness portrayals. This part is where everyone who is mentally incapacitated is to be portrayed precisely like the other. Not everyone who has depressive disorders is prone to suicide, same as not everyone with schizophrenia hallucinates.




According to Deborah Serani, PsyD, “Misinformation about mental illness shames and discriminates those suffering with depression from getting professional help.” Sadly, media portrayals have discounted the reality that a lot of people who have mental illness are also audiences who see themselves being negatively portrayed either in the big or small screen. When people who struggle with a specific mental health condition only want to be understood and cared for, media has managed to alienate them from societal acceptance. Though there are portrayals that are getting closer to its source, a lot is yet to be done to achieve positive representation.


This entry was posted in Films.

PTSD On Reel


Society often linked post-traumatic stress disorder to military veterans who had seen the atrocities of war and its gruesome collateral damage. While this is true, post-traumatic stress disorder is not exclusive to military personnel. In fact, it can affect anyone who had encountered a terrifying event. Also, the experience of terror is a subjective incident significant to the person that’s why post-traumatic stress disorder is highly probable for war veterans but not all of them develop such condition. According to Colleen Cira, PsyD., a psychologist “PTSD comes from some type of traumatic event. ”Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is defined as a mental health condition usually terrifying event through witnessing or experiencing the situation. Symptoms will include the following: severe anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

The statistics show that PTSD can happen to anyone. It is common. Studies show that 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women had experienced at least one trauma in their lives. Women are likely to encounter child sexual abuse and sexual assault while men will most likely experience accidents, physical assault, disaster, combat or witnessing of death or injury. Whether you are dealing with PTSD or you know someone who is suffering from this disorder, it is wise to take note that having PTSD is not a sign of weakness. Moreover, some significant factors will increase the chances of developing PTSD. Examples of these are jobs, mental health problems, lack of support system, substances abuse and early childhood trauma.

“It identifies and addresses traumatic experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural coping capacity, and, as a result, have created traumatic symptoms, such as flashbacks or anxiety, or harmful coping strategies, such as isolating behavior and self-medication with alcohol or drugs.” –Dr. Romas Buivydas, PhD, LMHC

Post-traumatic stress disorder is the subject of literature and movies. Many movies are dedicated to the disorder. Some films on PTSD show the reality of the disorder while others sensationalized the situation to make it more interesting for the audience. PTSD films started as early as the 1970s with the release of the following movies:

The Deer Hunter


It is a heart-wrenching movie about four friends from a small town in Pennsylvania who decided to enlist and fight in the Vietnam War. Three of the main protagonist was captured and tortured in the prisoners of war camp. It is a story of how they thrived and survived a dangerous environment as well as their lives after their escape. This is an award-winning movie, which garnered five Academy Awards. The cast is also stellar with Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, and Christopher Walken.

Coming Home

The plot of the story started in California with Bob Hyde as the main character. He is a captain in the US Marine Corps and was deployed in Vietnam. His wife was left behind and began to volunteer at the local veterans hospital where she met a paraplegic soldier from Vietnam. The paraplegic soldier and Mr. Hyde’s wife develop a friendship that resulted in the transformation of her views about the war. By the time her husband returns, wounded and suffering from PTSD. The soldier from the hospital and Mrs. Hyde is already having an affair.

Born on the Fourth of July


The film was directed and co-written by Oliver Stone. The story follows the life of Ron Kovic, a US marine sergeant who served two tours in Vietnam. On the first one, he came home wounded; however, on the second tour, he went back home paralyzed from the chest down. The movie showcased his struggle with the changes in him physically, emotionally and mentally as well as on how to transition back into regular life. He had difficulty connecting with his family and friends and showed signs of PTSD. He also turned to vices for relief; later in his life, he found meaning in joining a group of Vietnam Veterans against the war.

“PTSD is a response to trauma that can make individuals feel scared, hopeless, or horrified for at least one month following the trauma.” –Rob Cole, LMHC

This entry was posted in Films.

The Unsettling and Problematic Depiction of Societal Controversies in “13 Reasons Why”

More like, 13 reasons why not.


Before you go any further, this article contains discussions that are related to self-harm, suicide, and sexual assault.


“13 Reasons Why”, a movie about a teenager who committed suicide and has elaborated 13 reasons why she did it, has become a rather controversial and surprisingly popular show on Netflix. While its ambitions of re-structuring cultural and social sensitivity specifically on matters concerning sexual assault and harassment, bullying, and mental disorder, it somehow has managed to do so but in a problematic, non-conforming manner. As John M. Grohol, Psy.D. explains, “Sexual abuse can take many forms, but it always includes a component of unwanted sexual activity forced on the victim. That activity can, and most often does, involve direct contact with the victim, but may also be forcing the victim to watch the perpetrator engage in a sexual activity on their own, or inappropriately show their genitals.”




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This entry was posted in Films.

Beethoven’s Music And Mental Health

When people think of musical genius, one of the most common answers is Ludwig Van Beethoven.  Up to this day, his compositions live on and continue to be played. He is also one of the most famous and powerful composers of all time. People might not precisely identify the songs regarding its details but rest assured that when they hear it, they would be amazed that it was Beethoven who composed the symphony.  He showed musical inclinations as a child and was taught by his father Johann Van Beethoven and Christian Gottlob Neefe who was also a composer and conductor. While many considered him a musical genius, some experts believe that Ludwig Van Beethoven suffered from bipolar disorder as well as substance abuse from alcoholic beverages later on in his life.


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Understanding The Creativity Behind Mental Illness

The world has a fascination for masterpieces, arts, and creativity; however, there is an association between mental illness and creativity. Oftentimes, the artists and musicians have an unusual creative process. Some thrive in the use of substances to fuel their minds with exciting ideas and out of this world output.

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Movie Therapy Redefines Modern Mental Health Treatment




For binge-watchers out there who are in dire need of mental health treatment, here’s a treat for you: movie therapy.


You read it right. Movie therapy also known as cinema or film therapy is a type of mental health treatment modality that allows its audience to seek self-awareness and positive life alterations through watching different media-related contents. As Birgit Wolz, PhD., MFT explains it, “Cinema therapy can be a powerful catalyst for healing and growth for anybody who is open to learning how movies affect us and to watching certain films with conscious awareness. Cinema therapy allows us to use the effect of imagery, plot, music, etc. in films on our psyche for insight, inspiration, emotional release or relief and natural change.” Therapists believe that movie therapy does have a series of psychological health benefits, assuming that watching a film enables examination of stressors and issues in the relationship, work, and life more personal, palatable and relevant.


Without further hubbub, here are some of the reasons why movie therapy is redefining the era of mental health treatments.




Movie Therapy Complements Other Psychotherapies

To say that movie therapy alone can relieve a person of his or her misery is far-reaching. In certain circumstances, depending on the illness of the person, primary psychological treatments are often combined with another type of therapeutic modality to make it more effective.


More so, therapists will adequately assess their patient’s condition first before opting for movie therapy as the primary treatment modality. This sense of productivity and awareness can aid in the progression of conventional counseling sessions.


Movie Therapy Is A Self-Induced Intervention

People watch movies or television shows mainly for enjoyment or as a form of pastime. But personally, people choose specific movie genres that they relate to especially those that reflect their aspirations, situations, and struggles. And the good news is, this content is currently available on a lot of platforms and devices that can easily be accessed and be rendered by Internet streaming, free library, or rental kiosks. You don’t have to look that far.


Aside from that, you don’t have to wait for the next psychotherapy session to gain some clarity and insight on your situation. “The idea is to choose movies with themes that mirror your current problem or situation. For example, if you or a loved has a substance abuse problem, he suggests Clean and Sober or When a Man Loves a Woman, or if you are coping with the loss — or serious illness — of a loved one, he may suggest Steel Magnolias or Beaches.” Gary Solomon, Ph.D., MPH, MSW said. There are tons of movie characters that are carrying similar burdens that you may find a connection with. Though your therapist will undoubtedly have a couple of film suggestions regarding your condition, you still can freely choose which shows resonate with you and learn from their challenges while taking notes of the resolutions.




Movie Therapy Facilitates Mental and Physical Breakthroughs

According to Shainna Ali Ph.D., LMHC, “A good movie prompts us to think. Aspects such as gaps in time and underdeveloped characters could be the foundation for film critique, or opportunities for your own truth.” Discovering the thoughts and emotions that you never knew existed is one of the goals of movie therapy. There are certain feelings that you have repressed or ignored for so long that when elaborately portrayed in a movie, create a healing process by opening doors to the subjugated psyche. After seeing yourself and your life played by the protagonist, sentiments that you’ve tried to subdue will resurface and can freely cross the unbearable threshold.


Movie therapy helps people realize that emotions must be felt and expressed rather than be restrained for all eternity. Sometimes, people who do not cry over death or loss will find themselves bawling their eyes out over Marley and Me.


Movie Therapy Offers Impassioned Expression

In a chaotic, stressful world, watching movies is a form of escapism – to distract oneself from the disturbing reality that one currently faces. Being mentally and emotionally engaged in your chosen film for the sake of getting your mind off of negativity is psychologically therapeutic. Even if it’s only for a limited moment, the time provided to set your mind at ease and be relaxed is soothing and rejuvenating to have you re-engage with real-life events.


With everything that’s going on in the world today, people are becoming less and less expressive of their thoughts and feelings and end up bottling up their emotions. And because not a lot of people are comfortable with the idea of opening up to some stranger, movie therapy is ideal for exploring psychological problems and eventually finding resolve in the privacy of one’s home.


This entry was posted in Films.

Top Movies Which Can Help You Cope With Depression

Any type of mental health disorder can sometimes be debilitating or isolating. However, there are various movies out there which capture the realities of these illnesses. If you are battling the blues of depression, watching a film you can relate to might provide a therapeutic distraction. Here are the top movies which can help you get through the hard times of depression.


Anomalisa (2015)

Experts believe that people who are the happiest on the outside are empty on the inside. Anomalisa shows the story of Michael Stone, a famous author of motivational books tackling corporate efficiency and reliable customer support. Despite helping people live happier lives, Stone was proven to be clinically depressed. He felt alienated from the world and angry with himself for bearing all of these negative emotions.

“Loneliness is an epidemic, We’re the most socially connected society, yet so many people experience extreme loneliness.” psychologist Amy Sullivan, PsyD.  said. The movie was successful in demonstrating the existential difficulties of an individual living with depression.

Inside Out (2015)

Inside Out is an animated movie which tackles how a person’s emotions work. According to its most loyal viewers, this movie lifted them since it made them laugh and cry at the same time. It also showed the importance of having both sadness and joy in their lives.


Cake (2014)

Cake is a movie starring Jennifer Aniston. Here, her main character, Claire, struggled with depression and anxiety after losing her son in a vehicular accident. Due to this traumatic experience, she also developed chronic pain. The bulk of the story revolved around her grief and hopelessness in her recovery process. It supports Ben Martin, Psy.D. statement when he says, “A stressful change in life patterns can trigger a depressive episode. Such stressful events may include a serious loss, a difficult relationship, trauma, or financial problems.”

Interiors (1978)

Interiors spoke volumes when it comes to showing the reality of depression. The film did not only shed light on the effects of mental illnesses to the patients, but it also tackled how mental illness affects the people around them.

In the movie, the character of the mother was suffering from dementia and depression. On the other hand, the character of the father developed a severe and undeserved resentment towards his wife. He felt that she was only a burden to their family in her current state. Upon knowing this, the mother attempted to commit suicide, and the unhealthy cycle of resentment and sadness dragged on until it affected their daughter.

Interiors is an honest, eye-opening, and authentic look at how seriously and sensitively we should treat depression.


The Hours (2002)

The Hours depicted three women from three different areas, with all of them suffering from depression. Other movies stress on traumatic events being the primary cause of acquiring this mental health disorder. However, this movie shows that people who are loved and cared for can also feel out of control.

The film also went through the rebuilding phase in the lives of these people. What makes this movie stand out is its ability to show a non-traditional view of depression and mental illness.

Even up to now, there is still a lot of false information and negative stigma on mental health. Hence, it is critical for movies like this to bring awareness about this sensitive topic to their viewers. “Depression is more than an emotion or a state of mind, it is really a process. It is a combination of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.” Robert Allison, MA, LPC said.

This entry was posted in Films.