Common Ground: Using Film to Find Oneself…and then Another

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Length: 54 minutes

Alex N. Sabo, MD, Lydia Elison, MD; James Vanasse, LICSW

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream Theseus noted:  “the lunatic, the lover and the poet are of imagination all compact”; yet modern film often portrays psychosis as the unusual experience of gifted others unlike the rest of us.  Healing relationships with people who have experienced severe trauma or psychosis demand that a therapist recognize in her own life how (through repression, projection, denial and distortion) she protects herself from the real that threatens her own living in the imaginary.  Once this is heartfelt a therapist can build a healing relationship with another who is traumatized or psychotic.  This workshop uses DVD clips from three contemporary films: The Soloist offers modern idiom of gifted person with psychosis as beloved but fundamentally different from his friend.  No Country for Old Men identifies our shared humanity:  death stalks each of us and the innocents we love.  It is the “real” of which Lacan spoke: “the essential object which is not an object any longer, but this something faced with which all words cease and all categories fail, the object of anxiety par excellence.”  The Time Traveler’s Wife illustrates the dilemma we face in each social interaction: am I speaking with him or someone from my past or future that I see in him?  Workshop participants will ask: am I living in the real or the imaginary?  Can I withstand eruption of the real into my imaginary?  Might I experience profound fear or grief, discovering a common ground with another who experiences trauma or psychosis?

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