Abnormal Psychology

Application of Theory Essay # 2

For your section Application of Theory Essay you will watch a film that depicts a form of psychological disorder. It can but doesn’t have to be one that we studied but it should be one that is discussed in your text. The questions you are to consider and address are as follows:

1) Compare the presentation of symptoms in the movie with the text’s description of that respective diagnosis. If you think there might be more than one diagnosis reflected then note and compare those as well. For instance, in “Girl Interrupted”, there are multiple patients. Or perhaps you think that the main character has multiple diagnoses, Depression and Substance Abuse for instance.

2) As per the movie depiction what appeared to be the psychological perspective used to explain cause, i.e., behavioral, psychodynamic, cognitive, biological, etc?

3) What type of treatment was received if any? What was the outcome?

4) Share any personal thoughts or reactions you had to the movie. What errors or liberties did the filmmaker take? What was the message (implicit or explicit) concerning the mentally ill?

Grading Rubric: 7.5 points for points 1 – 4.

I have compiled a list of potential movies but there are many out there. Just be sure to pick one that will avail itself to the questions posed for the essay. Those listed below will do so. You can find these through Netflix, if you don’t have a subscription you can get the free trail and then just cancel it. You probably will not be able to stream these on the internet so plan ahead it will take a couple of days for the DVD to arrive via the mail.

The Soloist is a 2009 American drama film directed by Joe Wright, and starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr. The screenplay by Susannah Grant is based on the book, The Soloist by Steve Lopez. The film is based on the true story of Nathaniel Ayers, a musician who developed schizophrenia and became homeless.

An Angel at My Table

This 1990 film by Jane Campion recounts the autobiographical

tale of New Zealand poet Janet Frame who

was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and spent eight

years in a psychiatric hospital. P, T, E, serious film

A Beautiful Mind

This Oscar-winning film from 2001 stars Russell Crowe

as real-life mathematician John Nash, Jr., a Nobel prizewinner

who developed a groundbreaking economic

theory while struggling with schizophrenic delusions.

P, T, E, serious film


Benny & Joon

From 1993, this film portrays an artist with psychological

dysfunctioning who is finding love. After watching

the film, the diagnosis of the main character has been

questioned—some argue schizophrenia, some argue

schizotypal personality disorder. P, serious film


From writer-director Joseph Greco, this 2006 drama

stars Joe Pantoliano in an outstanding portrayal of

mental illness. P,T,E, serious film

Clean Shaven

This accurate and graphic 1993 film depicts life through

the eyes of an untreated man with paranoid schizophrenia

searching for his daughter. P, serious film

The Couch Trip

This 1988 comedy stars Charles Grodin as a stressedout

radio shrink, whose producer ends up unwittingly

hiring a schizophrenic patient (Dan Aykroyd) to replace

him during his hiatus. P, T, E, comedy

Don Juan Demarco

In this 1995 comedy, Johnny Depp portrays a patient in

a psychiatric hospital who claims to be Don Juan, the

world’s greatest lover. Marlon Brando plays the psychiatrist

who tries to analyze his patient’s apparent

delusion. P, T, E comedy/serious film

Donnie Darko

From 2001, this film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a disturbed

teen who has visions of a human-sized rabbit

telling him to do bad things. P, T, serious film

The Fisher King

This 1991 film follows Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges), an irreverent

radio talk show host who sinks into alcoholism

after a tragedy. He is rescued by a delusional,

homeless man (Robin Williams) on a quest for the Holy

Grail. P, serious film

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

From 1977, this gripping drama recounts a schizophrenic

teenager’s struggle to cope with her illness with

the help of a caring psychiatrist. P, T, E, serious film

Love Actually

In a secondary plotline, this Hugh Grant film from

2003 depicts the impact of schizophrenia on a family. P,

T, comedy

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

This film tells the story of Randall P. McMurphy (Jack

Nicholson), a convict sent to a northwestern psychiatric

hospital for evaluation and treatment. While

there, McMurphy experiences first-hand the use of

electroconvulsive therapy. P, T, E, serious film


From 1998, this thriller follows a paranoid mathematician.

P, commercial film


This Gwyneth Paltrow/Anthony Hopkins film shows

the work of a psychotic mathematician and his relationship

with his possibly psychotic daughter. P, serious film

Snake Pit

Based on an autobiography, this film, made in 1948, is

one of the first and best about mental illness and the

treatment of patients in asylums and hospitals. Olivia

de Haviland portrays a woman suffering from a nervous

breakdown. P, T, E, serious film

Some newer films

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), Introvert Freshman, suicide of a friend

Silver Linings Playbook (2012), man just released from a mental hospital

Center Stage Ballet, (2000), problems and the stress of the world of dance

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