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Mental Illness in Pop Culture
Analyzing mental health issues and professional helping in film!
Category: TV & Film
Location: DeKalb, IL
Followers (24)
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October 15, 2018 05:30 PM PDT

Recovery and redemption: It’s who they are and what they do.


The Ain’t Saints Radio crew join Mental Illness in Pop Culture’s team for a podcast about their podcast. Each Ain’t Saints Radio episode features guests’ stories of addiction, recovery, and redemption while also incorporating banter, music, and humor. We discuss their motivation and individual backstories as well as relate their show to its inherent therapeutic factors and the core conditions of person-centered counseling. We also wax nostalgic about Waukegan East High School (Go Bulldogs!) and share personal examples of the importance of diversity in education.


Ain’t Saints Radio is available at http://aintsaintsradio.com/, iTunes, or your app of choice!

August 27, 2018 09:42 AM PDT

Vulnerability, generativity, and a search for intimacy emerge as pervasive themes as we process and make sense of comedian and actor Robin Williams’ life, based on the HBO documentary Come Inside My Mind.

We talk about hypomania, addiction, depression, amazing films that people are better for having seen, and, ultimately, suicide related to Lewy Body Dementia.

In this podcast series, we focus on pop culture portrayals of mental health issues and professional helping, believing that public perception is both reflected and influenced by popular media

August 11, 2018 06:45 PM PDT

In this episode of Mental Illness in Pop Culture, we explore age-related cognitive impairment, alcoholism, rural midwestern culture, family dynamics, and the psychosocial development stage Ego Integrity vs. Despair in Nebraska, directed by Alexander Payne and starring Bruce Dern.

Guest podcaster Ethan Conner joins his dad Scott and colleague Joe Flynn to discuss this father-son road-trip film. We frame our discussion with the Bruce Springsteen album Nebraska as we reflect on the film’s stark, black & white, and often plainspoken themes, concluding that “Reason to Believe” could just as well have been used as a subtitle.

In this podcast series, we focus on pop culture portrayals of mental health issues and professional helping, believing that public perception is both reflected and influenced by popular media.

August 04, 2018 11:58 AM PDT

In this episode of Mental Illness in Pop Culture, Beach Boys superfan Mark McGowan joins us as we explore family dynamics, birth order, addiction, schizoaffective disorder, creative genius, Love and Mercy, Charles Manson, the ethics of 24-hour therapy, and cousin rivalry, related to Brian Wilson, the Wilson family, and Mike Love.

Podcaster Scott tries to make a case that Pet Sounds IS “God Only Knows,” arguably the greatest pop song of all time, plus a bunch of other “really interesting” songs (in the same vein as “A Day in the Life” hypothetically would be to Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band) but gets overruled by Leanne, Joe, and Mark, who make a convincing point about those two records marking a drastic turn for albums needing to be heard as a complete unit as well as how personal and vulnerable all of Pet Sounds' songs are, combined with gorgeous harmonies and precise orchestration.

In this podcast series, we focus on pop culture portrayals of mental health issues and professional helping, believing that public perception is both reflected and influenced by popular media.

Next episode: Nebraska, with guest podcaster Ethan Conner!

July 27, 2018 04:23 PM PDT

In this episode of Mental Illness in Pop Culture, our analysis of Ingrid Goes West starring Aubrie Plaza leads to an exploration of obsession, social media, and “like” culture -- in the film . . . and our lives! Ingrid’s IRL identity focuses on avoiding pain through attachment to online celebrities who have gained status by masking authenticity. Along with guest podcaster Diana Mondragon, we debate the ending’s humor and find the film’s overall ideas reflective of what may currently be trending in life.

In this podcast series, we focus on pop culture portrayals of mental health issues and professional helping, believing that public perception is both reflected and influenced by popular media.

Next episode: The Beach Boys

July 23, 2018 05:09 AM PDT

In this episode of Mental Illness in Pop Culture, we explore revelation and restoration in Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, based on author Cheryl Strayed's 1,000-mile walkabout to overcome addiction and depression following grief and loss. We examine the archetypal "hero's journey" -- transformation by prevailing over wounds and challenges. We also discuss some of the film's other symbols and archetypes, its carefully chosen music, and, ultimately, its reflection of the human condition.

In this podcast series, we focus on pop culture portrayals of mental health issues and professional helping, believing that public perception is both reflected and influenced by popular media.

Next episode: Ingrid Goes West

July 15, 2018 05:42 AM PDT

In this episode of Mental Illness in Pop Culture, guest podcaster Andrew Plath joins us to explore mental health issues related to Pearl Jam and “Jeremy,” a song and video about a boy who finds voice by bringing a gun to school and killing himself. We debate the source of Jeremy’s angst, whether his retaliation was mental or physical, and interpret the song’s often-bleeped “f” word, while speculating singer Eddie Vedder may have drawn on personal issues in his vocal and video performance.

In this podcast series, we focus on pop culture portrayals of mental health issues and professional helping, believing that public perception is both reflected and influenced by popular media.

July 31, 2018 01:25 AM PDT

In this episode of Mental Illness in Pop Culture, we analyze the impact of early familial Alzheimer’s in Still Alice, with Julianne Moore in the Academy Award-winning title role. We focus not only on how Alice and her family deal with her increasing cognitive impairment throughout the film but also reflect on identity loss, family dynamics, birth order roles, existential themes, the film’s importance for counselors and other professional helpers, and our own fears as we contemplate how this topic relates to our families and possible futures.

This episode is dedicated to my birth father, Joe Rowland, 1939-2018.

In this podcast series, we focus on pop culture portrayals of mental health issues and professional helping, believing that public perception is both reflected and influenced by popular media.

December 15, 2017 09:51 AM PST

In this episode of Mental Illness in Pop Culture, we examine The Stanford Prison Experiment, in film and real life. A coin toss determined whether volunteers would be “guards” or “prisoners” in this controversial research project. We welcome guest-podcaster and doctoral student Andre Joaquim as we explore the relationship of power to imprisonment, gender, groupthink, displacement, conformity, and ethics. We also reflect on professional helper and educator Dr. Phillip Zimbardo’s decision-making while the experiment took place as well as his atonement afterward. We find the film both hard to believe and true to life while remaining uncertain about its implications for human nature.

In this podcast, we focus on pop culture portrayals of mental health issues and professional helping, believing that public perception is both reflected and influenced by popular media.

December 09, 2017 12:30 AM PST

Pepe Le Pew, Bugs Bunny, and Wile E. Coyote are among the Loony Toons characters whose mental health issues and identities we dissect in the first episode of Season 3 of Mental Illness in Pop Culture.

Other cartoon characters mentioned: Foghorn Leghorn, Speedy and Slow Poke Gonzalez, Sylvester, Tweety Bird, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, and Penelope Pussycat.

We also contrast Warner Bros with Disney and briefly analyze Rick and Morty. All of the above are informed by guest host, counselor-in-training, and cartoon aficionado Chris Gonzales.

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