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- It's so hard, can we skip to the good part?
Navigating Uncertainty: Insights on Embracing the Unpredictable Author: Bhoomi Shah Editor: Jasmeen Kaur Don't we all want to skip to the part where things are as we had hoped and dreamed them to be: beautiful and perfect? We want our relationships to be just as excellent as they were when we first met our partner. We wish for our careers turn out to be exactly like we had imagined them to be when we first chose them, the one that gives us financial stability, prestige, and success. We look forward to our family always being happy and content. We function in a way that we mostly know what is coming next in our life. However, very recently, the unexpected did happen. We went through a pandemic, and our lives changed overnight. Ever since that time, uncertainty has been all around us. Yet as human beings, we desire security and stability. We want to feel safe and have a sense of control over our lives and well-being. Fear and unpredictability can leave one feeling stressed and helpless. It can drain you emotionally and trap you in a downward spiral of endless “what-ifs” and worst-case scenarios about what tomorrow may bring and make us anxious about the present as well. I have a question for you here: do you like being surprised on birthdays, anniversaries, or weddings with surprise gifts, proposals, or promotions? I love to get surprise gifts on my birthday. There is an element of unpredictability involved in these surprise gifts; however, why is it that we embrace this happily and not the other uncertainties in our lives? By now, you know I’m writing about unpredictability, something that changes suddenly and sometimes without good reason. We got by the unpredictability of the pandemic by acknowledging that this is now unavoidable and learned to take action over things we could control. We became overwhelmed with emotions of fear, sadness, loneliness, etc., but we allowed ourselves to experience these emotions and took the courage to ask for help wherever required. Opportunities arose from the unexpected, we learned to adapt, overcame challenges, and became more resilient than ever. This incident let us experience the discomfort of uncertainty, and we came out of it as stronger individuals despite the losses and challenges faced. Oscar Wilde once said that if you know exactly what you want to be in life, a teacher, grocer, soldier, a judge, you will become it, and that is your punishment. Actually, not knowing what you want to be, reinventing yourself every morning, not being a noun but being a verb, moving in life, and not being fixed in life is a privilege. If you let your perception of how tomorrow should be, dictate your behavior, you will never grow as a person. But if you leave yourself open to experience despite what tomorrow looks like, you will learn and grow. I’m, however, not saying that we should not plan how our future should be and spend every penny of our hard-earned money in the present, but we should live in the present and stop worrying about what will happen tomorrow. Try and let tomorrow surprise you. In the face of uncertainty, instead of telling that things will be back to normal pretty soon, what if we say that the future might look different, but that's okay. When you planned an intricate function, and there was an abrupt change in the weather, instead of saying, “All my plans are ruined, we can try and say that plans change, and I can adapt. All I need is a tarp.” When you feel like an event is never going to end, try and remind yourself that no season lasts forever, and this, too, shall pass. Things without a structure are the most beautiful structures in this world. Haven't you seen water? Do you know what's so special about water? If you try to hold it, it will slip away from your hands. But when kept at bay and free, water can hold a marvellous and humongous ship together. Let your mind be free from the worries of the life to come or of tomorrow and see the wonders it does to make you feel happy right here, right now. The world may burn into ashes someday, or the galaxy might come pouring down on us. Irrespective of any catastrophe that hits us, our heart always finds a way to reach the things we love. I've heard how wounds of the heart are what makes it prettier. Thus go through life with a big heart, embrace all the difficulties, uncertainties, and unpredictability that come your way, and let these experiences shape you into a better human being. Live one day at a time. When things get overwhelming because of all the unpredictability, take rest. Find your moments of peace in the chaos. Know that even when you get to the good part, there will always be something you didn’t see coming, so savour the present moment. I wish that in this sea of unpredictability, you find your anchor in music, in a person, or a book and find yourselves to be always sane.
- Monica and David Movie Review
Author: Arnab Ghosh Writer: Jasmeen Kaur “Monica and David” is a 2009 documentary made by Alexandra Codina. It focuses on the lives of Monica and David, two individuals with Down syndrome. The film primarily revolves around their wedding and post-marriage life, providing insight into their journey and the challenges they face. The documentary highlights the progress made in recent years regarding the quality of life for individuals with Down syndrome. It emphasizes that while in the past, the life expectancy for people with Down syndrome was significantly shorter, today, with specific programs designed to support them, they can lead fulfilling and well-adjusted lives. This progress is a testament to the importance of inclusivity and support for individuals with developmental disabilities. The film delves into Monica and David's personal stories, including their childhood experiences and the abandonment they faced from their fathers. It sheds light on the heartbreaking reality that society often stigmatizes children with developmental disabilities, with David's mother even being encouraged to put him up for adoption when he was born. These stories highlight the societal biases and challenges that individuals with Down syndrome and their families must overcome. Throughout the documentary, the audience is immersed in the couple's wedding preparations and the ceremony itself. These moments are interspersed with interviews featuring Monica, David, and their parents. The film showcases the couple's daily lives, emphasizing their desire to lead normal lives as much as possible. It highlights their interactions with friends, their individual quirks, and even their banter about sex, challenging misconceptions that people with Down syndrome lack sexual emotions or needs. The documentary also explores the support system surrounding Monica and David. It introduces their parents and provides insight into the difficulties they have faced and continue to face in raising children with Down syndrome. It touches upon their fears for their children's well-being and independence in a world that may not always treat them with understanding and respect. One of the documentary's central themes is the portrayal of individuals with Down syndrome in a unique light, showcasing their ability to express emotions, love, and family bonds that are often overlooked or underestimated. The film underscores the belief that, deep down, we are all the same, with shared desires for love, companionship, and a sense of belonging. Monica and David's love story serves as a poignant example of this universality, demonstrating their understanding, care, and support for one another. The documentary depicts the intimacy and commitment that Monica and David share, challenging preconceived notions and stereotypes about people with Down syndrome. It portrays their understanding of marriage, their discussions about family, and their dedication to helping each other through difficult times. The film also highlights their pursuit of jobs to enhance their sense of independence. Overall, "Monica and David" presents a genuine and heartwarming portrayal of love and marriage in an unconventional setting. It celebrates the unique bond between two people with Down syndrome, proving that their experiences and emotions are no different from those of anyone else. In conclusion, I would like to say that the film set out to capture the essence of love in an unusual place and manages to find it plenty and deliver a truly beautiful tale of two people in love.
- Representation of Mental Health in BTS Music
Author: Kavya Suresh Writer: Jasmeen Kaur, Arnab Ghosh “Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all”- Bill Clinton Expressing oneself with the desire to pass on an empowering message can take place in a variety of ways and music is just one of them. But music is a creative art form in which a singer uses lyrics to manifest a message that has a strong social impact. Music not only entertains but also teaches us about certain convictions which makes it inextricably linked to human existence. Because every song can be played only for a short duration, music is thought to be the easiest delivery medium for conveying emotional content. Over the years, many artists have made references to mental illnesses in their songs. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Bangtan Sonyeondan also known as BTS, a world famous 7-member south korean boy band puts a lot of thought into their albums which include the concept, nomenclature, lyrics, art, choreography, music videos, and much more! Saying they put “thought” into their albums, on the other hand, is merely the tip of the iceberg. Behind the deep lyrics of BTS's music, there is a lot of psychology at work. Honesty is an absolute necessity when it comes to mental wellness and for a massively influential group like BTS, harnessing the power of transparency has only strengthened them. They have done so by asking being authentic to themselves, through their actions outside of music such as addressing the UN, their various philanthropic endeavours etc. Having said that, this boy band has always made it a point to use their music to inspire, influence, and break down the stigma surrounding mental health. Someone suffering from a mental illness may feel an emotional weight that takes their life over but having a voice advocate for ways to break the stigma that stops many from seeking help is undoubtedly a wonderful feeling. To better grasp this, let's look at how mental health is represented in some of their songs and the underlying meaning of the lyrics. To begin, if we look at some of the recurring themes in BTS songs, one of the most prominent is “Youth” and the hardships that the young generation faces. This theme is represented in not one, but multiple songs like 'N.O.’, ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Whalien 52' among others in which BTS made it a point to discuss the pressures faced by the young generation to be perfect and listen to their parents while letting go of their dream, the alienation they face, their fear of tomorrow being the same as it has always been with no improvement and the fear of being left behind when everyone else pursues their ambition. When something doesn't go our way, we tend to blame ourselves. Self-blaming creates a vicious circle of loathing and self-hatred. It will only exacerbate our feelings; but, changing our perspective may assist us in developing strategies to get out of this stifling circumstance. In light of the recent pandemic that hit us, a lot of discussion surrounding this topic is on the rise and to be able to connect to a song that gives hope and motivation is a good feeling to experience. Another important theme that has been adequately addressed in several of their songs is the value of self-love and self-acceptance. But before we talk about the lyrics, do we all really know why self-love and self-acceptance are important? I personally think loving ourself and accepting the way we are is the best way to break all the barriers imposed on our happiness. Feeling these emotions to the brim will help us focus on the positives rather than the negatives of everything and enjoy living to the fullest. In 2018, we witnessed the release of “Magic Shop,” a song inspired by a psychodramatic technique called ‘Magic Shop’ first given by J.L. Moreno in 1948, which involves trading one's worries and negative feelings for a happy attitude. This song advocated the theme of how melancholy fades away when you seek love within yourself. The artist compares it to building a 'Magic Shop' inside your heart, where you can find consolation during difficult moments, such as episodes of sadness. One of the band members Jin also released a solo named ‘Epiphany’ in the Love Yourself album the same year. This song also focussed on the same theme about how loving oneself is all that matters in this world. “I'm fine” was another track in the same album that talks about the realisation that one is more than capable of pulling themselves out of any situation and being the hero in their own life. The above-mentioned songs were able to emphasise the significance of resilience and being able to rely on oneself rather than others. The last song ‘Answer: Love Myself” from the BTSs album Love Yourself: Answer also had a similar hue to it. It was the best song to conclude both the album and the Love Yourself trilogy series that included two other albums: Love yourself: Her and Love Yourself: Tear. The song upheld the notion of finally having the strength to realise that the only solution to stop all suffering has always been to love oneself. Excessive criticism and hate towards the self can lead to problems in maintaining a good self-esteem. BTS through this album encourages people to shift their perspective on being lenient towards others while being extremely harsh and critical of themselves. Self-love empowers us to make decisions for our benefit, be vocal of our views and establish healthy boundaries in life and when we refuse to love ourselves, we disconnect from the energy that sustains life. All the songs in the album express that, regardless of the mistakes one has made in their life, their past, present, and future all contribute to who they are. Accept all aspects of oneself and learn to grow from them. The year 2019 saw the release of BTS's record-breaking album Map of the Soul: 7 (MOTS:7), a celebration of self-awareness, love, and authenticity that blew the globe off its feet. When BTS announced that one of their latest albums would be titled MOTS: 7, no one expected it to be based on Carl Jung's long-standing psychoanalytical theory that states: "we all have four different archetypes that make up our personality: the persona, the shadow, the anima and animus, and the self or ego." The album is based on Dr Murray Stein's book ‘Jung's Map of the Soul: An Introduction’, which summarises all of Carl Jung's beliefs. The album's prologue had three songs - Persona, Shadow and Ego which were an illustration of the various masks we wear in our daily lives. Humans are social beings and so we put on masks and act in a certain manner in specific settings to fit in. Being a sociable animal includes the want to get along with others, to form a large network of support, and belong to a community that fosters your needs. The way a person displays themselves to the world is critical to their function and social standing as a social being and this is more prevalent in some societies than others. But isn’t it difficult to be in a situation where we are forced to alter our persona just to receive the acceptance of others? It's painful that the norms of the society that we are pressed to abide by focus only on socially desirable aspects of personality thereby compelling us to put on a facade. One of the other songs from MOT:7 was ‘Zero O'clock’, a song about the transient aspect of life. This song conveys the message that neither happiness nor grief will last forever. Everyone experiences difficult periods when there is no light at the end of the tunnel. These times, however, will not persist forever. Every day, as the clock strikes 12, a new day begins, and all the sorrows and pains of the previous day are forgotten and a new day always provides new hope, a fresh start, and the opportunity to strive for happiness. BTS's lyrics suggest that nothing lasts forever and that after this song stops, another will begin to play. One can hope for a better future while accepting that bad days are a part of life's cycle, however, one should not give in to sadness. Following the 2020 pandemic, BTS released another album BE in the midst of the uncertain times. "Blue and Grey," a song from the album, expresses their grief during the Covid-19 pandemic. The album as a whole takes the listener on a journey from despair and sadness to acceptance and hope. BTS addresses the blues of isolation and abandonment and how all of the colours in their lives have faded to Blue and Grey. The song discusses people's depression and how it has the power to turn a once joyful person into someone unrecognisable. Through the song we also understand that feeling different sensations in our mind is completely fine and being aware of them is a good start to feeling better. However to overcome these feelings, one must have courage and the realisation that some days will be sunny and others will be rainy and both are part of growing in life. Anyone can be plagued by an illness that could be mentally challenging. Yet a person who is experiencing a range of complex emotions for the first time can particularly find it difficult to comprehend what is happening to them. Mental disorders can severely affect a person's self-esteem, potentially leading to self-blame and self-hatred. Those suffering from this want to improve and feel better and though the path to it might seem difficult to start, it definitely won’t be disappointing in the end. A trending topic like mental health has a lot of discussion going around it worldwide and this isn't the first time BTS members have addressed mental health issues in their music. They've previously discussed their depression, loneliness, the influence of toxic masculinity, etc and the songs mentioned above are proof of their efforts. But, outside of the group, mental health is an important concern among K-pop singers, albeit one that is frequently ignored. Through a range of mood regulators, BTS's music promotes fans' (also known as army) mental health and well-being thereby helping them cope, reflect and grow. Despite their enormous popularity, BTS don't hesitate to show us their human side. This demonstrates that they are undoubtedly more than their fancy outfits, synchronised dancing, and larger-than-life concerts. Their unfettered candour in their songs, their stark authenticity when it comes to their mental battles, and their never-ending quest to rediscover themselves push them from a mere "boy band" into a global phenomenon to be reckoned with. Thus as people who are inspired by them and wish to lead a happy life, let’s all keep in mind what Jimin who is one of the members from the band rightly said: “Stop hating yourself for everything you aren’t and start loving yourself for everything you are.” References Dyer, A. (2019). The Truth About BTS’s Music: A Psychoanalytic and Marxist Criticism. Stay Curious. Savage, M. (2019). Jung lovers: BTS delve into psychology on their album, Map Of The Soul. BBC News. Song, D. (2020). Here’s 7 BTS Song Lyrics That Talk About Mental Health. Koreaboo. Sarkar, I. (2020). How BTS is teaching us Psychology 101 through their music. All Kpop. Mcnab, K. (2021). BTS Members Reflect On Mental Health and Complex Emotions From 2020. Teen Vogue. Lee, J. H., Bhattacharya, A., Antony, R., Santero, N. K., & Le, A. (2021). â?? Finding Homeâ?: Understanding How Music Supports Listenersâ?? Mental Health through a Case Study of BTS. In ISMIR (pp. 358-365). Kabir, S. (2021). The Truth About BTS’s Music: A Psychoanalytic and Marxist Criticism. The Dhaka Apologue. Jimmy, D. (2021). 6 Beautiful BTS Songs About Depression. Icy Health.com Amara, V. R., & Kusuma, R. S. (2022). Semiotic Analysis of Mental Disorders in BTS Magic Shop Lyrics. In International Conference on Community Empowerment and Engagement (ICCEE 2021) (pp. 187-197). Atlantis Press.
- THE DEVIL IN THE SHADOW
(Knowing the dark side of institutionalization) Author: Kavya Suresh Editor: Jasmeen Kaur, Arnab Ghosh “No person who lives with mental illness should be exiled from dignity and, indeed, from hope. What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor and more unashamed conversations.” In the world of psychology and through popular media we all know that asylums were the primary form of care for individuals with serious mental illnesses throughout the 19th and early 20th century. While horrifying mental health practices and so-called “cures” may be traced back to prehistoric times, the mid-1700s mark the beginning of the asylum age, which marks a period of some of the most brutal and insensitive forms of mental health treatments. Asylums themselves were notorious warehouses for the mentally ill during this time. The first objective of mental institutions was not therapy or cure, but rather the forced separation of convicts from society (Lieberman, 2015). The mentally ill were regarded as social outcasts or moral misfits who were being punished by God for some heinous act and not fit to be seen by or live among the other members of society. While far from perfect, the psychiatric branch of modern medicine currently does a good deal of benefit for a great many people. But, things weren't always like this, and thankfully, we've come a long way from some of the most remorseless customs of the preceding century. However, it is still an alarming fact that many Indian psychiatric institutions remain hidden prisons for the forgotten and downtrodden and shunned by society. One of the darkest chapters in India's chequered record of enforcing human rights and ensuring good healthcare for everyone is the violation of human rights, inhumane care, and forced rehabilitation of those with mental illnesses. People suffering from mental disorders in mental health facilities are routinely exposed to a multitude of varying degrees of inhuman treatment, which is especially repugnant in view of recent medical developments in the field. Psychiatric hospitals and de addiction centres are usually the last resort for those suffering from mental illnesses, a last respite, but it's not surprising that these facilities aren't always the secure haven they should be. There are countless horror stories concerning mental health patients who have been placed in abusive or predatory conditions, such as being kept in dark, wet, and cramped cells, being sprayed with insecticides to eliminate body lice, and being forced to sleep next to toilets. Asylums also depended heavily on mechanical bindings, such as straitjackets, metal shackles, waistcoats, and leather wristlets, often for hours or days at a time, a practice that was popular many years ago and has not yet completely vanished. Doctors claimed that the shackles kept patients safe, but as asylums became overcrowded, the use of physical restraints became more of an acceptable control measure. Patients in certain hospitals are denied the most basic necessities, such as clothing, beds, clean toilets, and regular bathing. As it is in other institutions, corruption is common in the acquisition and management of food and other consumables, and the food given is nutritionally deficient and poorly prepared. Asylums were no doubt the “ideal” laboratories for psychiatric experimentation. The use of medications that lead to the development of other symptoms that are used as an excuse to prolong the stay of patients is also not an uncommon occurrence.
- A PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW OF “THE VISIT"
A 2015 HORROR THRILLER BY M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN Author : Kavya Suresh Editor : Jasmeen Kaur, Arnab Ghosh Always unexpected but quite plausible villains of the most famous horror stories; the unassuming grandparents are the focus of M. Night Shyamalan's 2015 thriller "The Visit." The movie begins with the introduction to a happy family of three, Becca (daughter), Tyler (Son) and Loretta (Mother) who, due to her marrying and being left by her high school teacher, a relationship which her parents never approved, which resulted in an estranged relationship between them. The movie opens with significant efforts made by the grandparents who after 15 years wish to connect with their grandchildren who they have never met or seen before. After getting the green signal from Loretta, the two young souls, Becca and Tyler travel to the countryside to visit them for a week. The reunion seems exactly as the audience would envision. The grandparents receive the children at the station, hugging them and exchanging greetings of joy and love. Loretta on the other hand is pleased by hearing about this encounter and happily goes away on a cruise vacation with her boyfriend believing that the children were under good care with family. As the evening progresses, things start to appear eerie with the grandfather posing a 9.30 pm curfew and warning the children not to leave their rooms with no explanation. The children being their young, curious selves as the age of adolescence comes with a higher rush of adrenaline and a whole host of adventure-seeking behavior, decide to ignore the curfew, and step out. They end up discovering something that further cements the idea in their minds that everything is not as assuming as it seems. In the pitch dark, they see their grandmother making strange noises, running on all fours, acting as if she was possessed, and witnessing her scratching the walls. The entire situation is scarcely plausible right from the start, the children, who want to make a film about their mother’s childhood house are conveniently filming everything even in the most terrifying situations. Becca, who wants their film to be an “elixir” to take back home to their mom, does her homework about filmmaking and instructs her brother about frames as well as hands him a camera to record everything he sees and experiences. As soon as they arrive at their grandparents' rural property, the two siblings immediately begin to record the entire place under the artistic direction of Becca, like the swing their mother used to play in as a kid and the big clock in the living room that their mother told them about. The day goes by quickly with them bonding with their “Nana” and “Pop-pop” but as the sun sets down and the time ticks past 9:30 pm, they begin to observe their grandparents' peculiar behavior. On the very first night, Becca captures footage of her “Nana” pacing the house in the wee hours of the morning while projectile vomiting. Each night after that, at the same time the kids see their “Nana” acting feral and animalistic i.e., crawling and skipping around the house on her arms and legs or growling and banging cabinets and doors. The grandmother's condition is explained away by the grandfather as "Sundowning" an actual medical complication seen in patients suffering from advanced Alzheimer's and Dementia in which a state of confusion, hallucination, and odd behavior are brought on by the absence of sunlight or in isolation where there is no discernible day or night cycles. But as time passes, their “Pop-pop” also displays odd behaviors. He initially exhibits signs of paranoia and fights a random man on the road who he believes was following him. Later, Tyler finds filled diapers in the shed he sees his “pop-pop” coming out of he also finds Pop Pop with a rifle in his mouth and confronts him which he claims is his manner to clean them properly. Additionally, he also confesses to having a white ghost with yellow eyes follow him since the days of him working in a mine as a younger man. However, when the kids share this with their mother during a Skype call, she claims that this is normal and that they are simply seeming strange because of their age. The grandmother's behavior tends to worsen as the days go by as she starts laughing hysterically while facing a fall and then proceeds to nearly choke herself after having to talk about children. She also coaxes Becca into the oven under the premise of cleaning it from the inside and not being able to reach the corners herself and shuts the oven door, and later attempts to murder the kids while they are sleeping after she finds their video camera filming her during the night. By now, the kids are terrified and disturbed by their grandparents' behavior and phone their mother again and again, begging her to come sooner and pick them up immediately. This is where the quintessential “M Night” moment happens and the audience is given the big reveal which is when both the kids and we as viewers are shocked to find out from Loretta that the elderly people the kids were staying with all this while are not her real parents but strangers who are pretending to be their grandparents. The truth is that the imposters were actually escaped mental patients from the nearby Maple Shade Psychiatric Hospital who killed their actual grandparents who were volunteers at the institution, because they were envious of the happiness the grandparents exhibited over the impending visit of their grandchildren and the jealousy over not having their own real family. This is where the plot starts to fall apart. The concept that the great revelation in a horror film is that the bizarre, creepy, violent characters covertly escaped psychiatric patients is worrisome, to say the least. Additionally, the showcasing of a woman who stopped by the house to check up on the grandparents, later found hanging outside the house after she confronted imposters, in a manner suggests that people with mental illnesses are more prone to commit violent acts than people without such conditions. The moment the great shock ending was unveiled, it caused disappointment and extreme frustration. In addition to getting most of the facts concerning schizophrenia inaccurate, the filmmakers also instilled in future generations a fear of the "mentally ill." Now, anyone who views the film without any prior knowledge of psychological problems will assume that people with schizophrenia have homicidal intentions. It is an obvious fact that schizophrenia does not automatically make a person dangerous and that bizarre behavior, hallucinations, and paranoia are not the most difficult symptoms of the condition. In fact, how schizophrenia alters cognition is its most crippling feature. It can be challenging to focus for longer periods of time or remember events that have recently transpired. Someone with the level of delusions and hallucinations that these two characters in the film do would not be able to plan their thoughts in such a way as to carry out their homicidal plans and continue doing so for over a week. In addition to this, during the film, we see the grandmother respond to auditory hallucinations, hurt herself, become catatonic, accidentally reveal secrets about her past as a psychiatric patient, and then go back to behaving as the "nana" of the two teenagers. Mental illness doesn't operate in this way. Schizophrenia patients do not frequently switch between different symptomatic behaviours that quickly and easily. However since the grandmother was an escaped patient who most likely stopped taking her medications, there is a possibility that she is unaware about when she is acting sane and when she is reacting to her symptom as her behaviour could be a result of raging withdrawal symptoms. The same scenario could also explain the behaviour of the grandfather who had hallucinations and paranoia followed by fear and distrust towards others which is a possible implication of withdrawing from antipsychotics used for treating schizophrenia. The only elements in "The Visit" that humanised the two escaped patients' was their intent to spend time with these kids. The female patient drowned her children in a pond in the mistaken belief that aliens would provide them eternal life. On the contrary, when the male patient acknowledged seeing things that weren't really there, he was rejected by everyone he knew because of the lack of knowledge about paranoid schizophrenia which is a subtype of schizophrenia, characterised by constant suspicions about others actions followed by delusions and hallucinations. It appears that both have spent many years, if not decades, residing in a mental health facility. To have the family that mental illness had prevented the grandmother from having and gain the acceptance that the grandfather was denied as well as make the grandmother happy, they both desired this one week with these two kids. This is the one piece of accurate information about mental illness that this film was able to convey, that is stigma, confinement, and long-term institutionalisation do not always aid in recovery. Despite the fact that this section humanises the two freed patients, the movie immediately returns to depicting these disturbed individuals wandering around killing or attempting to kill people. Now for some time if we leave aside the plot that was shown to us and think of some of the elements in the movie that were underdeveloped, it could be the family dynamics in the plot, the absence of the father figure in the family and the mother being the only sole dependent figure who herself had a rough relationship with her parents after she decided to get married against their will. The element of an absent father and the witnessing of the mother’s relationship with her parents may have influenced Becca and Tyler’s resentment and anger towards their father which is probably why they refused to add a part about him in their film. However other than mentioning him in one or two instances, nothing more about the father was visible in the plot. Furthermore, while the film depicted the kids killing the imposters in self-defence and fleeing the house, it failed to depict the trauma that both children could experience as a result of nearly being killed. In the start of the movie, we come to know that Tyler developed OCD as a result of his father's departure, and the rap song at the end said that he had to wash his face several times to feel better, yet these two verticals remained underdeveloped. If his ocd is actual, it's possible that it was exacerbated by the end of the movie, especially after the grandfather smeared an used adult diaper on his face. Alternatively, both Becca and Tyler witnessed a woman hanging outside their house, which may predispose them to developing PTSD at a young age, hampering their functioning in multiple other domains of life. It may also instil fear and anxiety in them when they are left alone by their mother on any other occasion. Aside from that, the film's ending gives a peek of the fight-flight-freeze reflex that humans have when confronted with dangerous situations. Becca, who is trapped in a room with the grandmother, who begins attacking her immediately, gains the strength to fight her and stab her to death, which could be induced by a rapid adrenaline rush in her body. Tyler, on the other hand, is manipulated by the grandfather, causing him to completely freeze up as a result of his fear; he is only able to return to reality after Becca yells and tries to stop the grandfather from injuring him. The fight-flight-freeze response is a type of physiological reaction to stress that is activated during the alarm reaction stage, which refers to the symptoms that the body experiences when stressed. When this response is activated, an elevated heart rate is observed, followed by an adrenaline surge, which may explain Becca and Tyler's reaction when they were attacked. This is however only a possible explanation of what could have happened since the film didn’t explore these verticals in detail. Another aspect that the film should have addressed more effectively was the inherent need for mentally ill people to feel accepted. The imposter in this case, the grandmother, lost her family due to a mental illness, which made her envious of the actual grandparents when they expressed joy over the children's visit. On the contrary, the grandfather believed he wasn't accepted or understood when he told others about his hallucinations and paranoia, which could have fueled his resentment and prompted him to attack and murder the children. Also on multiple scenes in the film, people went by to check on the actual grandparents, implying that they were respected volunteers at the psychiatric facility. This could have been a source of jealousy as well because the actual grandparents received affection and acceptance that the imposters did not. M. Night is renowned for his mastery of plot twists. But with a twist like that, he could have done so much more. Rather than have an ending with multiple loopholes, he could have used an alternative explanation, such as the patients being possessed by a supernatural force, fabricating their symptoms in order to gain advantage, or, if they are psychiatric patients, perhaps they escaped in order to escape the horrors they are experiencing inside the walls. However, the movie simply portrayed them as insane, homicidal, and deranged old people. Not to mention that many of the behaviours the false grandparents display before the twist are simply exaggerated versions of schizophrenia's very genuine symptoms. Overall the movie portrays mental illness inaccurately that could create a new set of stigmas surrounding the matter. The movie perpetuated more fear than understanding of what it feels like to live with a mental illness.
- A PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW OF “IN TREATMENT (Season 1)"
Author: Nidhi Editor: Jasmeen Kaur, Arnab Ghosh “In Treatment” - is a show that shows the life of a psychologist and what happens in therapy in a weekly format. Based on the Israeli television serial BeTipul, "In Treatment" is a 2008 American drama television series (4 seasons) for HBO that was produced and developed by Rodrigo Garcia. Season 1 depicts the life of psychotherapist Paul Weston, who also receives therapy from his former supervisor "Gina" in between conducting sessions for his clients. From a story and direction perspective, the show weaves multiple levels of intricate emotion and drama, providing for enough variety and fluidity to let each episode stand out from the others. The series becomes more intriguing as each episode goes by, in part due to some excellent and sensitive acting by Gabriel Byrne as the aforementioned psychoanalyst and by several of his patients and in part by the exploration of concepts of psychology through the lens of the sessions. Every Monday for a half-hour, Melissa George, playing Laura, an anaesthesiologist, tries to seduce Paul. As the series progresses, Laura openly declares her love for Paul, complicating their relationship and the dynamics of their therapeutic journey. One of the central themes explored in these sessions is the ethical responsibility of psychologists to maintain a professional relationship with their clients. Paul, as a therapist, faces the challenge of navigating Laura's romantic advances while upholding the boundaries of their therapeutic alliance. It highlights the importance of maintaining professional integrity and adhering to the ethical principles of the therapeutic profession. Additionally, the show delves into the psychoanalytic phenomenon known as transference. Transference occurs when an individual redirects their feelings, desires, or unresolved conflicts from one person onto another, often the therapist in a therapeutic setting. In this case, Laura's attraction to Paul represents a form of transference, as she transfers her romantic feelings and desires onto him during their therapy sessions. Transference is a significant concept in psychoanalysis, as it provides insights into the client's past experiences, relationships, and unresolved conflicts. It allows therapists to gain a deeper understanding of their clients' emotional and psychological dynamics, helping them address underlying issues and provide appropriate guidance and support. Laura's transference towards Paul adds complexity to their therapy sessions. It challenges Paul's ability to navigate the boundaries of their therapeutic relationship and address the underlying issues driving Laura's transference. It also presents an opportunity for both characters to explore Laura's traumatic childhood and strained relationships, shedding light on the origins of her emotional struggles and providing a pathway for healing and growth. On Tuesdays, Alex played by Blair Underwood, a Navy pilot who prefers to be numb instead of feeling guilty about his airstrikes in Iraq, takes his sessions and throughout their therapeutic journey, Alex's struggles and emotional conflicts are brought to the forefront. One of the central themes in Alex's therapy is his preference for emotional numbness as a way to avoid confronting his guilt. Rather than facing his feelings head-on, he resorts to anger and verbal abuse towards Paul. This defensive behaviour is a common manifestation of individuals who find it challenging to cope with overwhelming emotions. By lashing out, Alex creates a protective barrier that shields him from confronting the guilt and pain associated with his actions. During the course of therapy, Alex develops a brief relationship with Laura (another patient), which adds another layer of complexity to his emotional landscape. Despite his difficulties in communicating his inner conflicts, the relationship with Laura serves as a temporary respite from his guilt. However, it is essential to note that relationships formed as a way to escape or distract oneself from emotional distress often do not provide long-term solutions to unresolved trauma. The sessions with Alex tend to revolve heavily around the idea that our relationship with our parents influences and shapes our future behaviour and patterns. This focus on parental influence is grounded in psychoanalytic theories that emphasize the significance of early experiences and attachment dynamics in shaping an individual's psychological development. By exploring Alex's relationship with his father, Paul aims to uncover underlying patterns and unresolved issues that may contribute to Alex's struggles with guilt and emotional numbness. On Wednesdays, Mia Wasikowska plays Sophie, a 16-year-old gymnast who is tormented by both her personal relationship with a coach who is older than her father and her two broken arms. Paul explores Sophie's adolescent sexual relationship with her much older gymnastics coach, Cy, and its repercussions on her, as well as her mixed sentiments about her separated parents and her father's isolation from her, in order to extract and break down her ambivalence about life. The therapy sessions with Sophie in the series highlight the delicate balance between addressing a client's needs and maintaining ethical boundaries. Sophie's initial motive for entering therapy, seeking a written statement to prove her accident was not a suicide attempt, reveals her resistance to the therapeutic process. This resistance can stem from a fear of being judged or a reluctance to confront deep-rooted issues. As therapy progresses, Sophie's testing of Paul and her attempt to take her own life within the session with sleeping pills demonstrate the extent of her distress and her need for validation and understanding. These actions also underscore the intensity of her emotional turmoil and the complexity of her trauma .In response to Sophie's challenging behaviour, Paul exemplifies the qualities of a skilled and compassionate therapist. Despite the severity of the situation, Paul maintains his calm and endeavours to gain Sophie's trust. Building rapport and earning a client's trust is crucial in therapy, as it provides a foundation for open and honest communication. Paul's steadfastness in the face of Sophie's actions reflects his commitment to the therapeutic process and his dedication to helping her navigate her struggles. By delving into Sophie's ambivalence, addressing her relationships with her coach and parents, and navigating the boundaries of the therapeutic space, Paul aims to facilitate Sophie's journey towards self-discovery, resilience, and a healthier outlook on life. On Thursdays, Josh Charles plays Jake, a song writing husband with a different goal, and Embeth Davidtz plays Amy, a career woman inclined to terminate her troublesome pregnancy. The depiction of Jake and Amy's therapy sessions in the series raises important considerations about couples therapy and the potential outcomes it can have on a relationship. It highlights the notion that couples therapy is not a guaranteed solution to save a troubled marriage and may sometimes lead to divorce. However, it is essential to understand that therapy does not inherently cause divorce but rather provides a space for couples to explore their issues, evaluate their values and needs, and make informed decisions about their relationship.In the case of Jake and Amy, their therapy journey showcases differing perspectives on the impact of therapy on their marriage. Jake believes that therapy was helpful, indicating that it allowed him to gain insights, improve communication, and work towards resolving their issues. On the other hand, Amy feels that therapy harmed their marriage, suggesting that the process may have brought to light irreconcilable differences or revealed underlying problems that were difficult to address. It is important to recognize that couples therapy aims to facilitate open and honest communication, foster understanding, and provide tools for conflict resolution. While therapy can be a transformative experience for some couples, it is not a guarantee that every relationship will be repaired or sustained. In certain cases, therapy can uncover fundamental differences in values, incompatible goals, or patterns of behavior that are difficult to reconcile, leading to the realization that divorce may be the best course of action for both individuals' long-term happiness and well-being. It is crucial to approach couples therapy with realistic expectations and an understanding that the goal is not solely to prevent divorce at all costs. The objective is to create a healthier and more fulfilling relationship, whether that involves staying together or parting ways amicably. Therapy provides a supportive environment for couples to explore their options, identify their needs, and make informed decisions about the future of their relationship. Every Friday, Paul sees his own therapist, Dianne Wiest, who plays Dr. Gina Toll, a former mentor who later violated his confidence by expressing her reservations in a letter of recommendation for Paul but who still understands how to get under Paul's skin. The portrayal of Paul's therapy sessions with Dr. Gina Toll in the series highlights several important aspects of the therapeutic relationship and the role of therapists in their personal lives. The depiction emphasizes that therapists, like any other individuals, are not exempt from their own personal challenges and struggles. It serves as a reminder that therapists are also human beings with their own complexities and vulnerabilities. Throughout the season, Paul and Gina engage in heated arguments, reflecting their shared past and differing perspectives. This dynamic showcases the inherent tension and disagreements that can arise between therapist and client, particularly when there is a history and a complex relationship involved. It underscores the fact that therapy is not always smooth sailing, and conflicts and differences of opinion can arise, even between therapist and client. Furthermore, the series depicts Dr. Gina Toll's violation of Paul's confidence by expressing reservations in a letter of recommendation for him. This portrayal acknowledges that therapists, despite their professional responsibilities, are not infallible and may make mistakes or act in ways that are ethically questionable. It highlights the importance of ethical guidelines and professional boundaries in therapy, as well as the significance of trust and confidentiality between therapist and client. Towards the conclusion of the season, Paul recognizes the value of Dr. Gina Toll's input and decides to continue therapy with her. This development underscores the notion that therapy can be a transformative process that requires time, effort, and a willingness to confront difficult emotions and confrontations. The portrayal of Paul and Gina's therapy sessions also suggests the importance of therapists seeking their own supervision or personal therapy. It implies that therapists, despite their professional expertise, may benefit from guidance and support in navigating their own challenges and dilemmas. Like every other TV programme, "In Treatment" has its ups and downs, which are widely discussed. One such discussion happened at APA's annual convention in collaboration with Robert Simmermon, PhD, a private psychologist in Atlanta, to talk on the show's impact on psychology. While some psychologists expressed their worries, many of them accepted the programme and even used it as a teaching tool. One positive effect of the show is that it has helped reduce the stigma associated with therapy. Patients have discussed the show with their therapists, and some individuals have been inspired to consider seeking therapy themselves. By portraying therapy as a valuable and meaningful process, "In Treatment" has played a role in normalizing the idea of seeking professional help for mental health issues. The show primarily focuses on "talk therapy," where the therapeutic work is centered around conversations between the therapist and the client. While some psychologists appreciate this depiction, others have pointed out that it lacks the inclusion of other therapeutic techniques or interventions, such as breathing exercises or homework assignments. These interventions are indeed valuable and can be essential for facilitating change and personal growth in therapy. The series also sheds light on the challenges that psychologists themselves face. Paul's own therapy sessions and his struggle with emotional entanglement with a patient who has feelings for him reflect the real-world complexities and ethical dilemmas that psychologists may encounter in their professional lives. This portrayal humanizes therapists, showing that they too have their own personal issues and vulnerabilities. Personally, the series focussed more on psychodynamic approach to therapy and there were almost no concrete interventions such as breathing work, homework evaluation etc which are equally important part of therapy and for change to take place. While the show has its strengths and limitations, its impact on psychology and the discussions it has generated highlight the importance of representation and dialogue around mental health and therapy. It has sparked conversations among professionals and patients, contributing to a greater understanding and acceptance of therapy as a valuable tool for personal growth and well-being.