Movies and Mental Illness

Using Films to Understand Psychopathology

by Danny Wedding

Print edition
Movies and Mental Illness (PDF & EPUB)
ISBN: 9781616765538
5th edition 2024, xviii/514 pages
Print edition
Movies and Mental Illness
ISBN: 9780889375536
5th edition 2024, xviii/514 pages

The popular, critically acclaimed text on psychopathology in movies – now including the latest movies and more

  • Explores films according to the diagnostic criteria of DSM-5 and ICD-11
  • Provides psychological ratings of nearly 1,500 films
  • Includes downloadable teaching materials

Click here for a recording from the Live Book Launch on December 12, 2023

Films can be a powerful aid to learning about mental illness and psychopathology – for practitioners and students in fields as diverse as psychology, psychiatry, social work, medicine, nursing, counseling, literature, or media studies, and for anyone interested in mental health. Watching films relevant to mental health can actually help you become a more productive therapist and a more astute diagnostician. Movies and Mental Illness, written by an eminent clinical psychologist (who is also a movie aficionado), has established a reputation as a uniquely enjoyable and highly memorable text for learning about psychopathology.

This new edition has been completely revised to explore current issues, such as children’s screentime and celebrities with mental illness, and to include the numerous films that have been released since the last edition. The core clinical chapters raise provocative questions about differential diagnosis (according to the DSM-5 and ICD-11) for the primary characters portrayed in the films. Included are also a full index of films; sample course syllabus; ratings of close to 1,500 films; fascinating appendices, such as “Top 50 Heroes and Villains,” psychotherapists in movies, and misconceptions about mental illness in movies.

Accompanying the new edition are downloadable resources for teachers that include critical questions and topics for discussion, as well as fabricated case histories based on movie characters with Mini-Mental State Examinations that help explain, teach, and encourage discussion about important mental health disorders.

In addition, the author plans a regular series of online “Spotlights” articles that will critically examine the psychological content of new movies as they are released.

Praise for the book

“I’ve written about movies for much of my career, and Movies and Mental Illness is the altar at which every mental health professional who writes about film has felt compelled to leave an offering. Dr. Wedding’s book is a masterpiece. Nobody else has come even close to the scholarship, creativity and almost impossible inclusiveness that await you in this 5th edition.”
Steven Schlozman, MD, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine (from the Foreword)

“Danny Wedding has outdone himself in this 5th edition. A gifted clinician, he possesses that unique ability to actively engage the reader within the lives of film characters they may have seen, while at the same time lifting them up to appreciate broader underlying themes, both within the mental health field, as well as society. Not only are the latest movies covered, frequently placed within their historical context, the same can be said for changes occurring within mental health – including persisting myths and evolving treatments. What a wonderful way to expose the audience to creative artists within both the film and mental health fields.”
Pat DeLeon, PhD, MPH, JD, Past President of the American Psychological Association

“Psychology in one way or another is at the heart of most movies, this book shows how and why. Insightful, creative, enjoyable, this 5th edition takes film criticism and psychology to a new level.”
Frank Farley, PhD, Past President, American Psychological Association; Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts; Society for Media Psychology and Technology

“Two Thumbs Up! The 5th edition of Movies and Mental Illness is a masterwork trifecta of scholarly value, valiancy, and vitality and is a must-have guide for educators, practitioners, and film aficionados alike. Dr. Wedding’s abilities to explore established diagnoses, to so comprehensively illustrate how their depictions in movies impact, inform, and influence our mental health beliefs and behaviors, and to interweave how these films can be used as both teaching and healing tools are nothing short of brilliant.”
Don Grant, PhD, Past President, APA Division 46: Society for Media Psychology and Technology

“Movies and Mental Illness is a great book. No, I should really say that it's two great books in one. First, the book is about movies and thus is chock full of insights that should delight any cinephile. In fact, its cinematic scope is impressive, from classics to contemporary and from Hollywood to international. Second, the book is about mental illness in all its diverse manifestations. Indeed, the coverage goes beyond the strict DSM-5 categories. At the same time, these two books are intricately interwoven into a coherent treatment. That successful integration should not surprise us. The author, Danny Wedding, has already demonstrated his distinctive expertise in prior editions of this work. The current 5th edition just brings everything up to date. Plus, the volume's instructional value remains superlative.”
Dean Keith Simonton, author of Great flicks: Scientific Studies of Cinematic Creativity and Aesthetics and co-editor of The Social Science of Cinema.

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