Who doesn't like watching movies? Every week, we all look forward to a typical Sunday afternoon movie with great food and your family. Films inspire, encourage, educate, and entertain us. What we don't realize is that they may also be to blame for the myths that have formed in our minds. A lot of real-life procedures are portrayed in films in ways that are entirely different from what they are. Client
-Therapist relationships being one of them. Dramatization leads to multiple distortions and inaccuracies in the movie.
This may appear to be a minor concern when we examine it in terms of “yeah, who actually considers what they watch in movies to be real life?” However, what we watch has a significant influence on our unconscious, and we associate a certain behaviour with how it is shown in films. As a Mental Health Advocate, it is critical for me to dispel these stereotypes and clarify the air about what therapy is and how it works.
The “wrongs” of therapy shown in different shows/movies
We've all seen the popular Bollywood film "Dear Zindagi," which shows a scene between a therapist and a client. During the sessions, Jehangir, the therapist, and Kaira, the patient, are portrayed to be rather casual. It is unrealistic to expect your therapist to accompany you for a run or play on the beach as shown in the film. Without a doubt, the film de-stigmatizes mental health and emotional well-being, but it also generates a different picture of treatment in the minds of the viewers. Therapy is not as easy and quick a process as shown in the film, it takes time and effort from both the client and the therapist to see progress.
Another such show, “Family Man Season 2,” is seen by millions across the world and is praised for its plot but not so highly by therapists. It is accountable for projecting an inaccurate and deceptive image of treatment and therapists here are striving to make mental health more acceptable.
Srikant, the primary character, is plainly uneasy with the thought of another stranger (a therapist) entering their lives to address their issues. This is correctly represented, as it is often noticed in India with regard to how people feel troubled by the concept of treatment. Despite the fact that the problem begins in the first communication scene between the therapist and the client, the programme depicts the therapist asking direct and intimate questions to the pair, making the main character uncomfortable and disturbed. In real life therapy, the first few sessions are utilized by the therapist to establish rapport and get to know the client better before delving deeply into the difficulties, and are not as intrusive as depicted.
In the next moments, Srikant departs from the room, clearly the personal questions coming at him made him uncomfortable. When asked by the receptionist, about the fee to be taken by the couple, the therapist increases the amount by a few thousands showing his emotion of anger and irritation towards the couple. This scenario creates a vivid and horrifying image of therapy. Therapists do not raise their rates based on how upset they are with their clients or other personal relationships. In fact, therapists are trained to not let their emotions be a deciding factor. Therapists are non-judgmental. In reality, therapists are service givers and place their client’s needs as the center of session goals; and it’s also true that some psychologists offer lower-cost treatments or pro-bono to people who cannot afford counselling.
In another scenario, the therapist prevents the client from speaking and instead gives her counsel. Therapists do not provide clients answers to select from; rather, they assist and empower clients to make life decisions. Overall, therapy is a good and effective treatment procedure.
Although it is admirable that the filmmakers chose to depict counselling as a solution for issues in marriages or between couples, the representation creates a lot of confusion regarding treatment.
In reality, Therapy:
Helps Relieve distress
Improve self image and self esteem
Guides you on the right path
Improves quality of life
In conclusion, this can be avoided if therapy is not shown in films for comedic purposes and to be sure of showing the correct facts about therapy. Also, we as audiences need to be aware of the dramatization that takes place due to the cinematic approach, making it different from the real world.
About the Author
Content Writing Intern at EduPsych
Urjja is a psychology enthusiast who wants to be a part of the shift in destigmatizing perceptions about mental health and mental health practitioners. She aspires to be a clinical psychologist in the future and is striving to achieve this goal. Reading, travelling, adventure sports, and drawing are among her other hobbies.