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A trove of film reviews with a psychiatric perspective

On December 8th covering

Films and TV often present mental health and treatment issues. As a rule, this is done with cringe-inducing incompetence. My general theory about this is that there are a lot of people in Hollywood who are angry with their therapists.

Roland Atkinson, a Professor of Psychiatry at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, has decided to do something about this. His web site has reviews of over 500 films, with an emphasis on the handling of mental health and treatment issues. I have browsed the collection, and his reviews are thoughtful, interesting, and sometimes surprising. I recommend a visit.

About “working through”

On November 6th covering ,

A few thoughts on the title of the blog: “working through”. I have snagged the domain, and I will be moving to at some point have moved from Typepad to This is a happy development, and it is much better than the dozens of unavailable domains I tried.

You may recognize the term, which comes from Freud’s 1914 essay Read more »

Tha anti-jump muscles, con’t

On November 5th covering

Further reflection on the “anti-jump muscles” cartoon discussed below:

This is a very Freudian cartoon, in the idea that part of the person has an inhibitory function. This is also a core notion in neurology. Freud was not, as some people imagine, a psychiatrist. He was a neurologist, and a good one, according to Oliver Sacks. Read more »

It’s hard to mingle in this line of work

On November 4th

There’s a paradox in clinical practice. I get to know people very well, but they can never be my friends. This bothered me at first, but it doesn’t so much any more. If there were any way of being friends, then the work we do together would become unbearable, and therefore impossible. It’s a sacrifice we mutually make to make it possible to do something useful. It’s a loss I’ve accepted.

The work entails the most personal conversations imaginable. I have to be emotionally present and available — when I’m not, the work goes all to hell very quickly. Read more »

The anti-jump muscles

On November 3rd covering

There is a cartoon by the late B. Kliban that I think of often. It’s tragically unavailable, so I will have to describe it for you. The title is “the anti-jump muscles”. The first panel, labeled “tensed”, shows a man standing. The second panel, labeled “relaxed”, shows the man leaping into the air . . . OK, it’s funnier when you see the cartoon.

But this is how the mind really works. Read more »