How Public Understandings of Psychotherapy Are Influenced by Film and Television Portrayals of Psychotherapists and Some of the Implications for Clinical Practice
This dissertation addresses the question: “How are public understandings of psychotherapy influenced by film and television portrayals of psychotherapists and what are some of the implications for clinical practice?” Psychotherapists have been widely portrayed in film since the turn of the twentieth century, however the depictions have been largely stereotypical. This review explores reasons for the continued use of these portrayals and establishes how they influence public understandings of psychotherapy. The method used is a modified systematic literature review with public responses included as illustrative examples. Pertinent themes synthesized from public responses to the psychotherapist Dr. Paul Weston in the contemporary television drama series In Treatment (Garcia, 2008) are analysed and evaluated in order to understand further the influence of on-screen portrayals of psychotherapists on the public. Suggestions for further research are noted and conclusions are drawn that inform clinical practice, in particular for the psychotherapist.