I thought it might be fun to list some favorite movies with themes that are related to healing, growth, psychology, and/or faith. I will start by sharing a few of mine.
Fatal Attraction – Glenn Close plays a really great character with Borderline Personality Disorder. Did you know that some people think Princess Diana had BPD? (Some of the hallmarks for BPD are emotional lability, fear of abandonment, impulsive and destructive behavior and self-destructive behavior such as eating disorders and self-injury). I love Di, so don’t think I’m dissing on her.
Reign Over Me – Amazing movie about Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the courage it takes to participate in therapy.
Prince of Tides – This movie triggers me every single time. It is powerful in the way it handles themes of being a child in a world of unhealthy adults. The mother displays a powerful case of emotional incest on her children. It is also a very good example of a therapist’s boundaries gone awry.
Fearless – Jeff Bridges is one of my favorites. Another great movie about PTSD.
Babette’s Feast – The perfect movie to represent God’s grace versus mankind’s legalism!
Good Will Hunting – A wonderful movie that represents the power of the therapeutic relationship. Research shows that the therapeutic relationship is the most important factor in the counseling process.
Once – Watch how well the lead woman character protects her boundaries. Even though you can tell she likes the main character, she doesn’t become so needy that she pulls up her life in Dublin in order to follow him. This is a wonderful example for all of us who have struggled with codependency.
Waitress – This movie is visually entertaining (love all the pies) and it tells a good story! You will find yourself rooting for the main character as she realizes her worth and moves out of a destructive relationship.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? – This one stars Leonardo di Caprio in his early days. I love to recommend this movie to clients who don’t understand “boundaries.” Poor Gilbert – he’s so busy tending to everyone else—letting people treat him any way they want—that he comes to his breaking point.
Do you have any good “therapy” movie recommendations?
Lucille Zimmerman is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Littleton, CO and an affiliate faculty teacher at Colorado Christian University.
She is also the author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World. Through practical ideas and relatable anecdotes, readers can better understand their strengths and their passions—and address some of the underlying struggles or hurts that make them want to keep busy or minister to others to the detriment of themselves. Renewed can help nurture those areas of women’s lives to use them better for work, family, and service. It gives readers permission to examine where they spend their energy and time, and learn to set limits and listen to “that inner voice."