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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 57 (2015) 8, 596 - 603

Essay

Psychopathology and film: a valuable interaction?

Z. Van Duppen, M. Summa, T. Fuchs

background Film or film fragments are often used in psychopathology education. However, so far there have been very few articles that have discussed the benefits and limitations of using films to explain or illustrate psychopathology. Although numerous films involves psychopathology in varying degrees, it is not clear how we can use films for psychopathology education.
aim To examine the advantages, limitations and possible methods of using film as a means of increasing our knowledge and understanding of psychiatric illnesses.
method We discuss five examples that illustrate the interaction of film and psychopathology. On the one hand we explain how the psychopathological concepts are used in each film and on the other hand we explain which aspects of each film are valuable aids for teaching psychopathology.
results The use of film makes it possible to introduce the following topics in psychopathological teaching programme: holistic psychiatric reasoning, phenomenology and the subjective experience, the recognition of psychopathological prototypes and the importance of context.
conclusion There is undoubtedly an analogy between the method we have chosen for teaching psychopathology with the help of films and the holistic approach of the psychiatrist and his or her team. We believe psychopathology education can benefit from films and we would recommend our colleagues to use it in this way.

keywords film, phenomenology, psychiatric education, psychopathology