psych cinema

"There is a persistent sense that cinema imitates the movement of the mind, that there is a correspondence (however elusive) to be discovered between psyche and cinema. "
– Vicky Lebeau, author of Psychoanalysis and Cinema: The Play of Shadows

"As cooperative endeavors, both psychiatry and the cinema strive to cut through the seemingly random content of everyday life and reveal the secrets of the human character. Movies have become the great storehouse for the images that populate the unconscious, the chosen territory of psychoanalytic psychiatry. Both movies and psychiatry have had as their prime focus human thought, emotions, behavior, and, above all, human motivation."
– Glen Gabbard, author of Psychiatry and the Cinema

For over two decades psychiatry residents and attendings at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and now the Harvard Longwood program have taken time out of clinical endeavor to enjoy and wrestle with the psychologically-charged aspects of film. The proud tradition has included exploration of a wide array of dramatic genre, including the forensic darkness of Frailty and Capturing the Friedmans, some recent indy favorites, Breaking Away, and some "instant" cult-classics: Rushmore, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Donnie Darko. The discussants this year are, in short, stellar; they reflect the proud diversity of interest and treatment philosophy within the residency. Most of psych cinema is done at an attendings home with food, drink and laughter. Special sessions have ventured beyond our homes and into a church to listen for the pathology of composers set to organ music, the Museum of Fine Arts to look at the life of VanGogh, and into the Cooldidge Corner Theatre for current showings of films.

Please contact Nicole Doghor MD PGY4, Claire Twark MD PGY3, or Katharine Joo MD PGY3 with any questions.