Celluloid Couches, Cinematic Clients

Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in the Movies

Edited by Jerrold R. Brandell

Subjects: Psychoanalysis, Popular Culture, Film Studies
Series: SUNY series in Psychoanalysis and Culture
Paperback : 9780791460825, 260 pages, April 2004
Hardcover : 9780791460818, 260 pages, April 2004

Table of contents

List of Illustrations


Jerrold R. Brandell

1. Kids on the Couch: Hollywood's Vision of Child and Adolescent Treatment
Jerrold R. Brandell

2. The Interracial Treatment Relationship in the Cold War Period: Pressure Point in Analysis
Andrea Slane

3. Women in Psychotherapy on Film: Shades of Scarlett Conquering
Marilyn Charles

4. Psychotherapy as Oppression? The Institutional Edifice
Janet Walker

5. Woody Allen and Freud
Alain J. -J. Cohen

6. Freud at the Movies, 1907–1925: From the Piazza Colonna and Hammerstein's Roofgarden to The Secrets of a Soul
Sanford Gifford

7. Talk Therapy: The Representation of Insight in the Cinema
Shoshana Ringel

8. Imagining Desire and Imaging the Real: A Love Story
Barbara J. Socor

9. Translating Psychotherapy Narratives from Literature onto Film: An Interview with Theodore Isaac Rubin
Jerrold R. Brandell

List of Contributors


Looks at how therapy and the "talking cure" have been portrayed in the movies.


Consisting of contributions from psychoanalysts and therapists, as well as authors in such fields as literature and cinema studies, Celluloid Couches, Cinematic Clients explores how therapy and therapists have been portrayed in the movies over the last seventy-five years. From the 1926 silent film Secrets of a Soul, to Hitchcock's 1946 classic Spellbound, to the recent Girl, Interrupted, the contributors look at how moviemakers view therapy and the "talking cure" and examine important themes and controversies in the process.

Very often, cinematic efforts to portray the treatment process in psychoanalysis or psychotherapy are idiosyncratic, misleading, distorted, or even pathological. Yet this collection is not nearly as interested in denouncing such portrayals as in examining those films that offer us the opportunity to explore themes and issues from a vantage point outside our usual reference frame. Rather than focusing on what screenwriters and directors got wrong, each contributor asks instead what might be learned from the movies about professional selves and the nature of the therapeutic endeavor.

Jerrold R. Brandell is Professor and Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the School of Social Work at Wayne State University. He is the author of Of Mice and Metaphors: Therapeutic Storytelling with Children and editor of four books, including Theory and Practice in Clinical Social Work.