You do not need an online counseling degree to appreciate great movies that feature some aspects of therapy or the therapeutic process at work on patients. Instead, you can just watch some great movies that include therapy as a partial focus or backdrop to the storyline. And if this tickles your fancy, then you will be even more encouraged to study masters in counseling online.

Here there are top-5 movies that will inspire you and make you laugh, probably in equal measure.

1. Silver Linings Playbook

The tale of Pat Solatano made Bradley Cooper even more famous. He went from taking time out to a mental hospital to bumming it at home with his father, played by Robert De Nero. Rebuilding his life is on his agenda and at the first moment, he wants to get back with his wife. But as things inevitably go, a girl called Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who won an Oscar for her performance wants something for helping Pat get back with his wife. This is the interesting story which unfolds in beautiful style, making this a popular movie when it was released in 2012. 

2. Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

The role of Randle McMurphy is one almost ready-made for the talents of Jack Nicholson. He’s a bad man and to avoid prison time he goes the insanity route and ends up in a mental institution. The now legendary Nurse Ratched makes him realize quickly that it was not the best decision he has ever made!

"Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" starred by Jack Nicholson.
“Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” starred by Jack Nicholson

For students of psychology and counseling, this movie is a great way to get exposure to how mental hospital wards used to be run. The movie features old-fashioned electric shock treatment to deal with unruly patients and also includes disorderly group sessions that fail to provide therapeutic benefits. Learn through a MAC degree online how to perform counseling on patients the right way using modern therapeutic practices.

3. Rain Man

Rain Man made autism much more widely known in the American consciousness than it was previously. Dustin Hoffman starred as the Rain Man with Tom Cruise playing Babbitt, a kind of huckster along for the ride. While it is not always clinically accurate, it is an interesting example of autism and particularly autistic savants based on a real-life one, Kim Peek.

"Rain man" was starred by Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman.
“Rain Man” screenshot

4. A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind follows the story of John Forbes Nash as he goes from mathematics genius to losing his mind through schizophrenia. The display of the symptoms shows up gradually and then becomes more pronounced as the movie progresses. This is a good one for students to get a good example of the way schizophrenia progresses over the months and years since its initial onset.

5. Reign Over Me

Reign Over Me looks closely as PTSD, which occurs when a person goes through something horrific like a sudden shocking event. The movie follows Charlie Fineman, played by Adam Sandler, who chose isolation after the shock of 911. There are not that many movies produced that focus on PTSD and usually, they are from a combat experience rather than an event that happened more locally.

"Reign Over Me" starred by Adam Sandler and Liv Tyler.
“Reign Over Me” starred by Adam Sandler and Liv Tyler

Movies are windows into the lives of the characters that are portrayed in them. Whilst they are not always totally accurate in terms of patient medical history, treatment protocols and procedures, they do often provide some useful insight into patient’s medical conditions for students who have not yet come across this in a visceral way.

By: Carol Trehearn – Content Manager

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