Movie Case Study of “Silver Linings Playbook”


Movie Case Study
You are going to watch a movie in which one of the main characters has one or more obvious psychiatric diagnoses and then write an evaluation on that character.  In the past I have chosen the movie for the class, but this semester I’m doing something different.  I’m going to allow you to choose your own movie.
Here’s what I would like you to address in the evaluation write-up.
1.    What made you choose this particular movie?
2.    What diagnosis (or diagnoses) you think the character has.  Then tell what symptoms they express in the movie that lead you to that diagnosis.  For example, if a character has depression, what symptoms do you observe from them in the movie.  Don’t just say sadness, but give an example of them being sad (i.e she would go home and cry in the bedroom).  Both the Butcher Textbook and the DSM-5 In Action list out the symptoms for most diagnoses. 
3.    Family history of the character—if this is available.
4.    How the character’s psychological issues affect his or her relationships with others and ability to function in society.  (This could also include any positive aspects, for example, someone’s OCD in a movie may help them in their job)
5.    What the character has done before to address their issues.  For example, have they seen a therapist, taken medicine, been in the hospital, etc…  
6.    If this character came to you for psychiatric/psychological help what would be your treatment plan?  Would you do psychotherapy with them?  If so, which type (we’ll cover psychotherapy in chapter 16).  Why did you choose this type?  Would you recommend medication or another treatment such as ECT or transmagnetic stimulation?  If you do recommend a medication you don’t need to give a specific name, but rather a type (i.e. an antidepressant, or an antipsychotic).  Would you treat this character on an outpatient basis (i.e. weekly psychotherapy and weekly group therapy) or in the hospital? 
7.    What would be your long term goals with this character (i.e. restore the ability to hold a job, or improve marriage relationship, etc…)


Movie Case Study

The movie that I have chosen for the evaluation of its central character is “Silver Linings Playbook”. The reason due to which I chose this movie for analysis is the subtle mention as to how unpredictable and challenging can our lives suddenly become and we still can bounce back. 

The protagonist of this movie, Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper), suffers from a bipolar disorder - who has just been brought back from a mental Asylum by his parents. In the past, he had brutally assaulted his wife’s lover, which is why, he had to spend Court-ordered 8 months in the asylum. The story doesn’t seem to be indicating that his mental illness had to do with the heredity of his family. However, his father had some temper issues on his own and his mother, most of the time, observes the family dynamics very nervously. In view of these issues, the out of proportion blown away situation between the father-son duo that resulted in the fierce physical altercation between them, suggests that Pat was diagnosed with Bipolar Personality Disorder on the part of the psychiatrists. However, this complicated diagnostic approach that was used for Pat, wasn’t looked quite convincing as far as my point of view with regards to watching the movie was concerned. The behavior of Pat, as per my understanding, was more of an indicative of aggressive outburst of his anger not out and out bipolar disorder.

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However, such behavior can still not be considered, in any way, a normal one as he suffered a lot of personal setbacks in terms of relationships and social status. Pat, therefore, lost his house, lost his job as well as lost his wife. Although he was on medication (which he didn't take because of the way it made him feel). But he is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. As the story moves ahead, the mysterious Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), Pat’s love interest, had her compulsive and self-destructive promiscuity explained too simplistically, a compensation for the guilt she feels for inadvertently causing the death of her husband because of a declining interest in sex.

As Pat did not take his medication properly, he joined therapy sessions in order to get better and reconcile with all the aspects that had become problematic for him. Pat is still in love with Nikki (his wife) but he could not get close to her since she had a restraining order against him. Pat has to go to therapy sessions and he jogs expecting to keep his shape, and his father believes that he is a quitter. When Pat meets the widow Tiffany, he found that she was an unbalanced girl. 

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If I happened to be the psychiatrist of Pat, I wouldn’t have used the kind of diagnostic approach that are used in most of the cases - believing that something wrong is definitely there on the part of the person. I would rather have handled the situation without any biased thoughts regarding the problem itself. I would have first of all struck a cordial and friendly relationship with Pat, signaling him that it was his nature that I was his nature which drew me towards him. I would not have suggested him any medication because it would, at some corner of his mind, always made him suspicious about himself and his abilities. I believe that the interactive sessions are the key in situations like these. Such approach always gives them a reason to achieve something new and find and focus on new aspects of the life. I also believe that we, however suppressed or depressed may feel in our lives, there is always a way to recover a portion of a lost ground. Therefore, the case of Pat would be a very great opportunity for me to prove this point.

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