Reign Over Me (2007)
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Using Film to Learn (and Teach) Psychological Disorders

Introduction:
In each of the modules we have studied I have included the trailers for films which address the topic being studied. These are just a sample of the films which deal in some way with the field of psychology. Films, like novels, help us understand and develop a deeper appreciation of psychological disorders or challenges.
Working on your own (or with another student) you are to select a film, watch it and explain the condition portrayed in the film, how it is treated in the film and/or how it should be treated (if not done so correctly in the film).

Purpose:
  • To familiarize students with how a psychological disorder may present itself in real life (or as real as can be presented in film).
  • To become familiar with how such a disorder should be treated (or should not be treated).
  • To appreciate how prevalent psychological disorders are in modern society.

Method
You are to create a wikilink from your class (see the left margin). On that link the following must be done:
  1. Provide a link to a clip or trailer from the film you have selected.
  2. Explain what the psychological disorder that the film is dealing with is, what is its cause, and what are its symptoms.
  3. Explain how this disorder is usually treated. Was this how it was treated in the film? Explain how it was dealt with in the film.
  4. What you learned from watching this film.
  5. Your reason for choosing the film.
  6. Your assessment of your work done and why you should receive the grade you desire.

1. Provide a link to a clip or trailer from the film you have selected: Trailer


2. Explain what the psychological disorder that the film is dealing with is, what is its cause, and what are its symptoms.

The protagonist of the movie, Charlie Fineman, suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as a result of the loss of his family due to the . He is also dealing with delusional tendencies which is also closely related to the loss of his family; he sees his family and even his dog everywhere he goes, as he confesses at the very end of the movie. His symptoms of PTSD are characterized by loss of interest in life, feeling detached from others, avoiding activities or thoughts that remind him of the trauma, increased anxiety and emotional outbursts, and intense reactions to reminders of the event. He does not socialize with other people; most of the time he stays at home and plays games. He always seems to be anxious and doubtful; he yells at his friend Alan Johnson, "who sent you here?" when Alan tries to talk about his family. Furthermore, when something reminds him of his wife and daughters, he listens to rock music, trying to forget about them.

Screen_shot_2011-01-13_at_7.51.08_PM.png(Charlie listening to rock music when the lawyer starts to talk about his family)

3. Explain how this disorder is usually treated. Was this how it was treated in the film? Explain how it was dealt with in the film.

How is PTSD usually treated?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy includes gradually exposing oneself to situations and thoughts that remind one of the traumatic experience. Cognitive-behavioral therapy also includes replacing traumatic thoughts with pleasant ones.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

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This therapy treats people with PTSD using eye movements that are thought to work by unfreezing the brain's information processing system, which is interrupted due to extreme stress, leaving only frozen emotional fragments which maintain their original intensity. As EMDR frees these fragments of the trauma, they can be a cohesive memory.

Medication

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Sometimes medication is utilized to relieve secondary symptoms of PTSD, depression or anxiety. Most common antidepressants are Prozac and Zoloft. However, they do not treat the causes of PTSD.


Family therapy

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Family therapy can be beneficial since PTSD also affects people around one who is suffering from PTSD. Family members can best understand what one is going through.

But in the case of Charlie, family therapy won't work since he lost all his family members.


How was it treated in the film?

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In the movie, Charlie concludes that he needs help and his friend Alan introduces him a psychologist to treat his PTSD. At the beginning, he refuses to talk to the psychologist just because she is young. However, when she tells him that he needs to open his mind and talk to someone about his true feelings and thoughts and that does not have to be her, he goes out of the room and tells Alan everything. Alan's friendship is what helps Charlie to change his mind. Maybe "friend therapy" is how Charlie's PTSD is treated, just like family therapy.

4. What you learned from watching this film.

From watching this film, we learned the numerous symptoms of PTSD; there were some symptoms that Charlie did not have, such as nightmares and inability to remember the memory of the traumatic experience. Also we learned how past traumas can affect some people to become very emotional and doubtful of people. The film showed how people diagnosed with PTSD was once rational people until the traumatic experience changed them. By watching this film, we learned that rather than criticizing and excluding them because they are different, we should try to understand their behavior since they were just like us before the trauma and they were going through distress that they are eventually going to overcome, hopefully. This movie also portrayed how normal people want to escape from their lives and become free; Alan Johnson, an affluent and respected doctor, wants to escape from his life by joining Charlie's world, where he does not have to worry anything.

5. Your reason for choosing the film.

First we were interested in PTSD out of all psychological disorders; we were curious how traumatic experiences could affect one. We thought that the case of Charlie was interesting because most of PTSD deal with experiences that one was actually involved in such as rape or kidnapping, but in Charlie's case, he was suffering from his family's death, which did not directly happen to him. And we wanted to watch a recent film with good quality and we like Adam Sandler, who is a great actor! :)

6. Your assessment of your work done and why you should receive the grade you desire.

30/30

Grading:
Use of class time /5 Reason for grade: despite the fact that we could not download the file through vuze during class. We used our class time wisely devoting full class time watching the movie next class.
Depth of work done /15 Reason for grade: We think our research was done profoundly and we actually learned a lot about PTSD, its different symptoms and treatments.
What I learned /5 Reason for grade: We actually learned a lesson through this movie, that we should not exclude the ones who are suffering from psychological disorders like PTSD in society, since they were once normal people just like us and they can overcome those disorders in many ways.
Wikispace's attractiveness /5 Reason for grade: We think our wikispace is attractive enough with a lot of photos and colors :)
Total /30


http://flahec.org/hlthcareers/marriage.HTM

http://psychiatrist-blog.blogspot.com/2010/04/does-emdr-work.html

http://kara.allthingsd.com/20080505/yahoo-execs-reaction-i-need-some-prozac/