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Archives for March, 2011


A Look at Women’s Arc of Individuation through Three Films: Madame Bovary

PART II (of 3 parts)
Our second film, Madame Bovary (), is based on Flaubert’s classic 1857 novel.

Jennifer Jones plays our heroine, Emma, whose overriding dream is to live out the myth of romantic love. Flaubert presents her in a compassionate light, believing her plight could be that of many women of that time, if they only had more courage to try to break free of their dissatisfaction.

Emma goes through...
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Bowing to Fate, Growing into Destiny: A Look at Women’s Arc of Individuation through Three Films

PART I (of a 3-part series)

Jungian analyst and author James Hollis says we can bow to our fate—acknowledge and accept what cannot be changed, our “givens” such as parents, background, conditioning, early wounding and so forth. Beyond that, we can grow into our destiny and become all that we can become.

Today, long after the advent of the liberation movement, women are still seeking their destinies, both personally and in the larger world....
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Notions of Justice in ‘True Grit’

From her opening voice-over in True Grit (2010), Mattie Ross of Yell County (Hailee Steinfeld) lets us know she aims to "avenge her father's blood."  She may frame later arguments for her actions with reference to the law, and justice being done, but these words place a veneer of civilization over primitive notions of  retribution.

Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) killed her father; she wants him hanged in Fort Smith for that crime, but if...
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“Why Doesn’t She Just Leave?” (Conclusion)

There remains a deeply embedded social resistance to viewing the battered woman who kills as an issue of gender equality (Schneider, 2000.) This resistance is prevalent in public opinion, media representations and in the weak legal representation and disproportionately harsh judicial treatment of abused women who kill. Battered women are still required to meet the standard of the “pre-retreat duty” (Stark, 2007) while...
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Anger and Hatred

“Why Doesn’t She Leave?” Part II – Battered Women in the Media


The persona of “the good girl vs. the bad girl” has a long tradition in the film industry.  This is exceptionally easy to recognize in the passive “good” women of the old Westerns in stark contrast to the bold and outspoken “bad girls” at the local cathouse.

These “bad girls” also tended to get the short end of the stick, reinforcing the old folksongs that warn...
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“Why Doesn’t She Just Leave?” Battered Women in the Media

[In Part I of her extended essay, guest blogger Kimberly Greyson discusses public misconceptions about battered women; Part II (to follow) will provide cinematic examples that perpetuate these myths.]

Many times we see images in the media that are based in fantasy, yet we tend to absorb them as if they were real.  Unless an individual makes a conscious decision to learn more or teach others about the reality...
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Family Dynamics

Blue Valentine: What is Love?

The movie Blue Valentine is like a Zen koan, a paradoxical riddle with no answer which encourages us to ponder things in new ways. Ostensibly this particular koan asks us to wonder about what goes wrong in love, but perhaps a more fundamental question is what is love in the first place?

Some of the themes Blue Valentine explores is how much of what...
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Bipolar Disorder

Charlie Sheen and the Allure of Manic Flight

In a post on my blog, After Psychotherapy, I've discussed how Charlie Sheen's behavior and comments in recent interviews illustrate the defenses against shame I've written about in detail.

In yet another interview, this one on ABC's 20/20,  Sheen continues in the same grandiose and contemptuous vein; eventually, however, he gives us some insight into his mania.

The interviewer asks if he ever feels that his wild lifestyle gets "too close" to his kids and might...
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Grief and Mourning

Unbearable Grief in Rabbit Hole (2010)

Rabbit Hole' (2010), starring Aaron Eckhart (Howie Corbett) and Nicole Kidman (Becca Corbett) in her Academy Award-nominated role, tells a story of  devastating grief and the ways we attempt to escape from such unbearable emotions.

Eight months before the film opens, Becca and Howie's young son Danny was killed when he chased their dog into the street and a teenage driver ran him down.   As a couple, Howie and Becca have not yet come to emotional...
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