Friday, October 26, 2007

pretty young psychiatrists

I have the television on right now, tuned to the American Movie Classics channel. Monsterfest is going on right now, so AMC is playing horror/suspense movies for the last ten days of October. At this hour, Gothika is on. If you haven't seen it, the film is about a psychiatrist (played by the beautiful Halle Berry) who finds herself to be a patient at the very hospital where she works, accused of murdering her husband. While in the hospital, she experiences what appear to be visions of a young girl whom Berry learns had died four years earlier.

The media can be an important source of information, whether it be distilled through news programs, fictional books, movies, or TV shows. However, the media often shows those who suffer from mental illness in an unreleastic light. Countless films have portayed persons with schizophrenia as little more than psycho killers who enjoy indulging their "fantasies." I won't go into it here, but much has been said and written about accuracy in the media's portrayal of mental illness.

I bring up this all up because Gothika has two glaring problems.
  1. Berry's character winds up a patient in the hospital where she worked. This would never happen in real life. If a mental health worker (psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, psychiatric nurse, or other professional) were to have a breakdown severe enough to require inpatient care, she would not be hospitalized in her place of employment. There are too many ethical issues for that to happen, beyond the fact that the persons treating her would know her personally.
  2. In my years of working in the psychiatric field, I have never seen a psychiatrist as beautiful as Berry. Never. I'm not saying she isn't out there. I'm just saying I haven't seen her.

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