movies

22 July

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Yesterday I finally had the courage to see 22 July. In Norway that day will never be the same. It’s our 9/11, our tragedy. Norway is a small country, so we were all directly or indirectly touched by Anders Behring Breivik’s mass murder of 77 innocent people the 22th of July. Seeing the movie was hard, but necessary. I remember how surprised I was by the reactions after the attack. How the trial focused on our core values, democracy and not giving in to fear and love. I remember how people gathered in our cities, showing their respect with roses that littered the streets. News headlines from other countries also reflected the surprise: Where was the outrage ? We were suffering, but we didn’t respond with bullets or hate.

Fear is dangerous. Maybe I’m a bit naive, but the answer is not to monitor everyone to be more secure. Crimes does occur and we must always try to minimize it. I have worked with trauma through my career, and know the pain sufferers and survivors endure. But the solution is not to become overly suspicious. Some countries are closing their borders after terror attacks, to protect their own people. But we are all humans, and by having a court system where we defend people who’s committed crimes we condone, we feel stronger. Revenge seldom helps, but trying to move on and focusing on what’s important, can. This doesn’t mean that feelings of hate and rage aren’t valid. We must be allowed to feel grief and the unfairness of meaningless acts from a person like Breivik. Healing is being able to feel different emotions at the same time and realize that it’s okay. We can feel strong and weak at the same time, love and hate. But how we act on those feelings, is what matters.

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Manchester by the sea

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I have just watched “Manchester by the sea”. Instead of writing what it`s about, I have included the trailer so you can see for yourself.

http://www.imdb.com/videoembed/vi967947801
The movie was good. It almost made me cry several time, and even the old man sitting next to me seemed like he was moved by the story. How can you not be? The main theme as I see it, is living with guilt. We all know how terrible guilt is. It can lead to havoc in our lives, because unprocessed, you can`t focus on what you have and give it your all. I will not spoil the movie by writing about the end, but I found the ending led to more questions than answers. When I think back that is one of the things that made the movie watchable: The characters were believable and complex. There was no good or bad, just a mix of different emotions in one messed-up man.

We all make mistakes. And in this movie, the small ones have huge consequences. Just thinking about it makes me shudder. There is such a thin line between happiness and devastation. The worst thing is that you never see it coming. And if you had a chance to do things differently, you might do something else that turns your life around. Being reminded of how fragile life is, luckily makes us think about what we do with our lives and appreciate what we have more. For some, movies like these might be a reminder of what was lost and never can come back. I must admit that I started to think about people I have lost, but that is a part of the process. You can not ignore reality. You can not ignore the fact that life can be horrible. But you can decide how you spend your next day. What you say to people. If you smile to a stranger. If you tell your brother that you are sorry for something you have done.

In Manchester by the sea, some things could not be undone. But he could move on. And he tried it as best as he could.

The sound of sliding doors

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At the moment I am listening to several audiobooks at once. Most of them relate to the same theme: Parallel universes. Some might have seen the movie “sliding doors” and if you are like me, it is interesting to philosophize about how life would have been if we made different choices. I am often stuck in my past, trying to fix my mistakes until my head aces. It is almost like ice-cream melting and dripping on the floor: The sweetness blended with the dirt on the floor. The bitter-sweetness of it all, is tiresome. I am really trying hard not to let this effect me, and to trust the universe. In my heart of hearts, I do believe that everything will make sense in the end. That I will find the right door, finding my faith at the other side. In fact, this dream has been with me since I made my first song as a teenager. The lyric goes like this:

“This is magic. What we search for now. Love is the ingredient to the things we search for. In the dark of the night, we will find it. It will lie on the floor, like an open door. And then I see this magic thing. I will pick it up with no regret at all. The magic thing that is you”

Are you my mystical, magical object? Have I found the key that will open the right doors? Am I finally able to get out of the labyrinth my mind has created?

I think you are.

 

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The sound of angry trolls 

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We love trolls in Norway. You will find miniature versions of them in every tourist shop and we have many fairytales where they are the main characters. We even had small keychains with trolls, with blue, green or red hair. I had one of those, and loved it. 

When I started working as a psychologist, I had a client who was around 10 when I saw him. He had anger issues, and we used play therapy to work on them. He was very gifted and creative, so it was a joy for the both of us to manage emotions in a non-threatening way. One of the things we did, was to make a drawing of his inner raging child. He had an aptitude for painting, and when he came back for his next session he had made his ‘angry troll’ in red colors. It was a symbalization of all the frustration he felt, but didn’t know how to express.

One of my favorite Norwegian movies is ‘Trolljegerne’. It is a funny portrayal of some troll hunters that try to kill dangerous trolls that lurk around in the forest. The humor combined with an unusual plot, gives the movie an unmistakable edge. If you haven’t seen it, I do recommend it.

So, what is this fuss about the trolls about? I think much of the charm I combining mythological scary creatures with something that can be really cute. Trolls are big and angry, but we have transformed them and made them our pets. In the movie, they are portrayed as stupid, but dangerous. If you keep out of their way, they will not attack. But you shouldn’t be fooled either. Because they are hunters, ready to strike if anyone invades their territories. 

Humans can be like that too. We all have good and bad sides, and on most days we are able to keep our inner trolls satisfied. But if somebody comes to close and trigger our weak spots, we go into fight mode. 

For now I want to think about the cute trolls, but I am mindful that they can easily become beasts like the gremlings did when they touched water.  

 http://www.filmweb.no

 troll hunters 

The reader

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Bernhard Schlink

quoteI’m not frightened. I’m not frightened of anything. The more I suffer, the more I love. Danger will only increase my love. It will sharpen it, forgive its vice. I will be the only angel you need. You will leave life even more beautiful than you entered it. Heaven will take you back and look at you and say: Only one thing can make a soul complete and that thing is love.”

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― Bernhard SchlinkThe Reader

DVD Review – Dangerous Minds (1995)

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After reading this post about the movie “Dangerous Minds” I will without doubt see the movie one more time. When I saw it the first time, I probably did not understand the implications and importance of it, and I did not even know it was based on a true stories. I have been very interested in true, inspirational stories the last two years, since it gives me so much energy to read them. Maybe that is the way I survive as a psychologist, hearing tough stories all the time? Somehow, I need to counteract it with good, to feel more balanced inside.

DVD Review – Dangerous Minds (1995).

What are your plans for the weekend?

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Now I am starting on my last two days of the holiday I had. Mostly I have been scrapbooking, reading and written a bit on my blog. I have been with Mr. Nice Guy, and yesterday I was with my family. I had a bike tour and today I`ve been with my father today. We have talked about his adoption, which we never have done before. I also tried to ask him a bit about childhood memories, but he couldn`t remember anything specific.

Tomorrow is the last dayh with mr Nice Guy and on sunday I will probably scrapbook and read some more. What are your plans for the weekend? Do you have any book or movie recommendations for me?

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Movies about all the mental illnesses (from anxiety to personality disorder)

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– submitted by Ruth Levine, MD, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston

This summary was derived from several of the articles listed in the resource list, from the suggestions of our ADMSEP colleagues, and from our own personal experience. We have not personally reviewed all of the movies on the list, and suggest you view any film before choosing it for teaching purposes.


Axis I Disorders

Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders Bipolar Disorder/Mania
Copycat (panic/agoraphobia) Mr. Jones
As good as it gets (OCD) Network
The touching tree (Childhood OCD) Seven Percent Solution
Fourth of July (PTSD) Captain Newman, MD
The Deer Hunter (PTSD) Sophieís Choice
Ordinary People (PTSD) Sheís So Lovely
Depression Psychosis
Ordinary People Shine
Faithful I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
The Seventh Veil Clean Shaven
The Shrike Through a Glass Darkly
Itís a Wonderful Life (Adjustment disorder) An Angel at my Table
The Wrong Man (Adjustment disorder) Personal
Dissociative Disorders Man Facing Southwest
The Three Faces of Eve Madness of King George (Psychosis due to Porphyria)
Sybil Conspiracy Theory
Delirium
The Singing Detective
Substance Abuse
The Long Weekend (etoh) The Days of Wine and Roses (etoh)
Barfly (etoh) Basketball Diaries (opiates)
Kids (hallucinogens, rave scenes, etc.) Loosing Isaiah (crack)
Reefer Madness Under the Volcano
Long Day’s Journey into Night Ironweed
The Man with the Golden Arm (heroin) A Hatful of Rain (heroin)
Synanon (drug treatment) The Boost (cocaine)
The 7 Percent Solution (cocaine induced mania) Iím Dancing as Fast as I can (substance induced organic mental disorder)
Eating Disorders
The Best Little Girl in the World (made for TV)-Anorexia Kateís Secret (made for TV)-Bulemia

Axis II Disorders

Personality Pathology
Cluster A Cluster B
Remains of the Day- Schizoid PD Borderline PD
Taxi Driver-Schizotypal PD Fatal Attraction
The Caine Mutiny- Paranoid PD Play Misty for Me
The Treasure of Sierra Madre -Paranoid PD Frances
After Hours
Cluster C Looking for Mr. Goodbar
Zelig-Avoidant PD
Sophieís Choice-Dependent PD Histrionic PD
The Odd Couple-OCPD Bullets over Broadway
Gone with the Wind
A Streetcare Named Desire
Antisocial PD
A Clockwork Orange
Narcissism Obsession
All that Jazz Taxi Driver
Stardust Memories Single White Female
Zelig The King of Comedy
Jerry Maguire Triumph of Will
Alfie
Shampoo Mental Retardation
American Gigolo Charly
Citizen Kane Best Boy
Lawrence of Arabia Bill
Patton Bill, On His Own

Miscellaneous Issues

Family Early Adult Issues
Ordinary People Awakenings
The Field The Graduate
Kramer vs Kramer Spanking the Monkey
Diary of a Mad Housewife
Betrayal Latency and Adolescent Issues
Whoís Afraid of Virginia Woolfe Stand by Me
The Stone Boy Smooth Talk
The Great Santini
Doctor/Patient Relationship Boundary Violations
The Doctor The Prince of Tides
Mr. Jones
Idealized “Dr. Marvelous” Psychotherapy
Spellbound Suddenly Last Summer
The Snake Pit Captain Newman, MD
The Three Faces of Eve Ordinary People
Good Will Hunting

Steve Hyler directs an APA course on this topic, and
would be a good person to check with.
For more details, you can call me (409) 747-1351. Hope to see you in Maine!

Ruth Levine
University of Texas Medical Branch


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summary was derived from several of the articles listed in the resource list, from the suggestions of our ADMSEP colleagues, and from our own personal experience. We have not personally reviewed all of the movies on the list, and suggest you view any

The sound of empty life

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The sound of feeling empty is silent

For me, emotions have meaning. Me and my mother loved watching sappy movies together, and that must have been when I learned how life CAN be: Full of tragedy. But it can also be get better, at the end. I learned: No matter how bad and sad it is, it will eventually work out fine. Maybe that`s why I never have run away from love, because I would rather hurt than not feel anything at all. I have sought emotions actively, and now I am so lucky I get to work with it, every day as a psychologist. I get touched by how people fight, I get a bit mad when I hear how unfair someone has been treated (but containing it, like psychologists must do) and feel energetic at the end of the day. I cheer and yell inside when someone accomplish a change they wanted. This change can be finally saying the unsaid, crying in front om someone they think will hate them, or feeling depression lifting, just a bit.

 

Kill Bill vol.1 (2003) Quentin Tarantino
Change is not the hard part, once you start it`s possible to do a lot.
But first: Wiggle your big toe.

 

Even if it might feel small to them, it`s big if you think about it. It`s like one of my supervisors said when I was at the neurorehabilitation clinic: Even if wiggling a little toe, can sound like a small thing, it’s really amazing, because it means the hard work led to something that wasn`t before. It’s a step in the right direction, and that memory can never be taken from you. I feel that way, every time my patient do something new; If they choose not to overeat, if they open their mouth to say they are afraid, if the stop drinking one of 4 days. It doesn`t mean that everything will be good, but it means it is potential there, and potential means hope. Hope is the most wonderful thing, if no one believed the “impossible” where would we be today?

 

I am not afraid of emotions. Of course there can be too much of it at times, but if someone shout at me over the phone, I rather try to see it from that persons side (is it easier to be mad than to show vulnerability?) than to run and hide. People seeking help, are doing just that. They want something to change, and I can help them if they want to. The have already taken the first step, they are tired of running and hiding and want to face whatever ghosts they tried to leave behind. When they finally do, they are heroes, each and every one of them. My job is to understand the hardship of this struggle, and try to give them the best veapons available.

I have to let them go their way, but I can show them what I think. I can say it is okay to try even if it`s scary. I can encourage and share the pain with them, because I know personally that it`s worth it.

The thoughts so far remind me of one of my favorite movies; The bothersome man.
It’s about a man “doomed” to live in a place where no feelings exist, no good ones and no bad ones either. ( http://politfilm.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/the-bothersome-man) This turns out to be a nightmare, and honestly, I do agree. If I didn`t feel how good it can be to have a cup of tea after a busy day, what`s the point? I actually feel symptahy for people who because of some reason or another, simply are numb, and don`t have any feelings. A lot of people getting medication worry about this, and sometimes I really can see the argument. If we get better and better at removing all bad emotions, will the good be removed too? Will we stop caring for the world at all? Be completely indifferent?

If we never got “mirrored” when we feel anger, sadness or other feelings, we can develop holes that are harder to heal than bruises on the outside. Without feelings, there is no fuel. No fuel that propel us towards the goal of a better world.

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Climbing is meaningful, even if it hurts in the beginning

http://phil-blogs.blogspot.no/2010/01/bothersome-man.html

The sound of memory loss

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Patients with amnesia usually know who they are, but they have problems storing new memories. You wouldn’t realise this from the movies. Films like The Bourne Identity show us the opposite pattern — characters who have forgotten who they are, but who have no trouble with their everyday memory. This mismatch has led to criticism of Hollywood, most notably by Sallie Baxendale in her entertaining BMJ paper published in 2004. “Most amnesic conditions in films bear little relation to reality,” she wrote.

 

However, a psychologist and a neurologist in Switzerland have made the case in a new book chapter (from Literary Medicine: Brain Disease and Doctors in Novels, Theater, and Film) that while Hollywood and many novels certainly present a distorted view of a typical amnesiac, there are in fact many historical real-life cases of amnesia that are just as outlandish, or more so, as those found in fiction. Moreover, these authors — Sebastian Dieguez and Jean-Marie Annoni — argue that fictional portrayals of memory and amnesia are a useful scientific resource for understanding people’s conception of memory, and they point out that fictional portrayals can feedback and influence the manifestation of memory disorders in real life.

 Cases of real memory loss. On point for the truth, thereby illustrating that dissociation is a real phenomena.

There has been a lot of controversy when it comes to memory loss, that often portray itself in movies too good to be true. Consider the Hollywood obsession with characters like Jason Bourne who have forgotten who they are. It’s true that dissociative fugue states of this kind are rare, but Dieguez and Annoni argue they 3bd9c35d1d8209471f5075b287836650do exist, they are little understood, and they are often bizarre. One of the most incredible real-life stories involves the “living dead” — 10 French soldiers who returned from the First Wold War with no recollection of their identities. One of the 10, who called himself Anthelme Mangin (but knew nothing else of his past) was claimed by over 300 families after his case was publicised. “Despite extensive testing and innumerable court-ordered expert appraisals,” write Dieguez and Annoni, “Mangin’s real identity … would never be officially recognised.”

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Two personalities in one, not remembering each other

Another favoured Hollywood plot device (also mentioned in Baxendale’s critique) involves an amnesiac character suddenly rediscovering their life’s memories after being exposed to a particularly familiar or emotional object or situation. For example, Baxendale cites the 1950 film The Woman With No Name, in which the trigger for the eponymous character is a wood pannelled door. Such sudden surges of memory may seem preposterous, but Dieguez and Annoni highlight two real-life casesdocumented by Federica Lucchelli and her colleagues in Italy. One amnesiac man recovered all his life’s memories while lying on an operating table, presumably because it transported him back 25 years earlier to a previous operation. Another amnesiac man enjoyed a surge of restored memory on a tennis court when a poor shot reminded him of an error he’d made years earlier.

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erasing personal memories is possible

Lastly, let’s look at the fictional form of amnesia in which a person’s memory is wiped clean each night. This is what happens to Drew Barrymore’s character in 50 First Dates, and it happens to the main character in S.J. Watson’s hit novel Before I Go To Sleep. It’s tempting to dismiss such portrayals as factually inaccurate — memory simply doesn’t work that way. But here we have an excellent example of how fictional portrayals of brain disorder can influence real-life manifestations of symptoms. In 2010, researchers led by Christine Smith reported the case of a female car-crash victim known as FL, who said her memory was erased each night. The researchers tricked FL into thinking they were testing her on material learned the same day, but which she’d actually learned the day before, and this revealed that her nightly amnesia was psychogenic. That is, it had psychological rather than neurological causes. Smith’s team think FL was probably influenced by that Drew Barrymore film.

Dieguez and Annoni’s book chapter certainly gave me pause for thought. I’ve been researching misconceptions about brain disorders for a book I’m writing and I’ve uncovered a lot of material about factual inaccuracies. Their perspective has made me strive for a less dogmatic view of the subject. As they write, “the view that literary amnesia is clinically inaccurate or far-fetched is at best too simplistic, and at worst misguided.” Rather than judging the clinical accuracy of fictional amnesia portrayals, they say “we should ask instead what are the uses of amnesia in literature and how do authors and readers conceive of memory and its disorders. As such, cases of literary amnesia become valuable data, just like real-life cases but for different reasons.”