Ep. 205: Seth & Joel — The Best and Worst Therapists in Popular Media

Think Act Be Podcast - A podcast by Seth J. Gillihan - Wednesdays


This week I'm continuing my series with Dr. Joel Minden, and we discussed a fun and interesting topic: psychotherapists in popular media, including film, TV, and comic strips. We explored what these depictions get right, the challenges of presenting therapy accurately, and why therapists so often are portrayed as buffoons. Specific topics we touched on included: Common therapist tropes in movies and TV shows The movie Mumford Richard Dreyfuss as Leo Marvin in the 1991 film What About Bob? The accelerated pace of change in dramatized versions of therapy Therapists pushing their patients to “go deeper” and explore painful parts of their lives The TV show Shrinking The “psychiatrist” Lucy Van Pelt in the Peanuts comic strip Robin Williams’s portrayal of therapist Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting Steve Carrell as therapist Alan Strauss in The Patient Jennifer Melfi (played by Lorraine Bracco) on The Sopranos Gabriel Byrne as therapist Paul Weston on In Treatment The iconic tissue pass in therapy The potentially big impact of small interventions in therapy, and in life Harry Stack Sullivan’s Interpersonal Theory and Psychotherapy (affiliate link) The movie Suture and psychogenic amnesia Larry David’s therapist on Curb Your Enthusiasm The power dynamics of chairs in therapy office Joel Minden, PhD, is a clinical psychologist specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety and related disorders. He is the author of Show Your Anxiety Who’s Boss (affiliate link), founder of the Chico Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, diplomate of The Academy of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies, and lecturer in the Department of Psychology at California State University, Chico. Find Joel online at his website, follow him on Twitter, and read his blog on Psychology Today.