Progress and process in mental healthcare: A discourse on Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones

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Warning:

As a disclaimer, this post covers detailed content up to the season 8 finale of Game of Thrones. Please do not read further if you want to avoid spoilers. As another disclaimer, this post discusses material exclusively from the Game of Thrones HBO TV series, and it does not draw from any content from George R. R. Martin’s books. I also want to mention that this post explores substance use disorders and themes of addiction, and I would like to include a trigger warning because of these sensitive topics. Additionally, even if you do not watch or read Game of Thrones, this case study is a broad overview about the character of Jaime Lannister, followed by a generalized discussion on mental health practice as a whole.

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Clinically a high-functioning sociopath? A case study on BBC’s Sherlock Holmes

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Character Overview:

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional private detective created by Arthur Conan Doyle, and this character is played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC television series Sherlock (Gatiss & Moffat, 2011). As a consulting detective widely reputable for solving crimes, Sherlock is portrayed as smart, attentive to detail, intuitively clever, and consequentially often condescending and arrogant. That said, albeit a great reputation for intelligence and problem-solving, Sherlock tends to be emotionally cold, distant, insensitive, and tremendously unempathetic when it comes to interpersonal relationships or social interactions. In fact, throughout Sherlock, various characters comment that he is “a bloody psychopath”, an “insensitive prat” and “without a heart” (Gatiss & Moffat, 2011-2014). However, given the buzz about Sherlock’s notorious reputation of being “a high functioning sociopath”, does this character really meet diagnostic criteria for such a statement? This case study will closely analyze whether Sherlock clinically meets the criteria for an antisocial personality disorder as compared to an autism spectrum disorder, followed by a detailed analysis of Sherlock’s interpersonal tendencies through an attachment theory lens. Implications for relevance to modern mental health diagnosis and practice will be discussed.  Continue reading →

Behind the Earth’s mightiest hero: a clinical case study on Marvel’s Tony Stark

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Character Overview:

Widely recognized for being one of the most prominent superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tony Stark, otherwise known as Iron Man, is the creator of a collection of high-power, engineered suits that provides him with superpowers to protect society. Although Tony Stark is the leading member of the Avengers team, as well as the CEO of Stark Industries, this fictional character suffers from various mental health difficulties, chief struggles being post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe anxiety. As such, specifically evident in the film Iron Man 3, Tony’s presenting problem comprises of recurring panic attacks, insomnia, hypervigilance, and flashbacks, all which have persisted for a year since The Avengers (Feige & Black, 2013). The following material is an adaptation of a clinical assessment assignment in my graduate program. Given that these symptoms suggest debilitating mental distress, this case study will explore detailed biological, psychological, social and cultural factors to analyze this character’s presenting problem, and ensuing goal assessments and treatment suggestions will also be discussed. As this is a conceptualization, this case study will refer to Tony as a prospective client for therapeutic intervention, under the context of a hypothetical clinical assessment.  Continue reading →

How can pop culture teach social justice to the next generation?

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Overview: 

Many Americans today are familiar with widespread blockbusters such as The Avengers, Superman, the Harry Potter movies, and other widely recognized Hollywood films. Being a few examples of mainstream icons, the concept of popular culture can be defined as modern culture transmitted via mass media and often aimed particularly at young people (Zehr, 2014). Given its prevalence, pop culture is a channel of social justice education that has great potential to educate our current generation. Especially because children, adolescents and emerging adults are heavily exposed to these varieties of popular entertainment, pop culture can inadvertently shape and inform an individual’s core and peripheral beliefs about their society (Linker, 2014). Because it is so prominent in an increasingly millennial world, these forms of media can also be used in the classroom as a teaching tool to help young people better relate to concepts about social justice, diversity, and inclusion. The following article is an adaptation of a final paper I wrote for a social work course this past semester.  Continue reading →