Apparently, medical schools in the US have commenced using fictional characters to train therapists on psychoanalysis and other related behavioral sciences. This article from the Wall Street Journal makes a very interesting read.
Actually, as fascinating and innovative this may sound, associating fictional characters and their behavior patterns to symptomatic “types” is not really a new phenomenon. Those with a background on psychoanalysis would instantly remember Freud’s obsession with Shakespeare – Oedipus complex, anyone?
At one level, of course, this approach towards classroom teaching is highly advantageous with the positives ranging from retaining interest of the students in the “subject” to securing the privacy of the “subject” - I mean how paranoid would Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind be if her narcissistic personality disorder case is discussed openly in a med school class room!
At another level, the concept actualizes what can only be imagined by reading dry theory. I knew what schizophrenia meant but I understood it so well only after John Nash’s stunning performance in A Beautiful Mind.
Books, plays, and especially motion pictures strongly appeal to one’s cognitive senses. I have had so many conversations with friends and colleagues revolving around characters from novels and movies as if they were real people.
Such is the power of a well communicated fictional piece – given a holistic context to the plot and people, you begin to understand not only the social milieu but also the subjective emotional construct. And exploiting this facet for inclusion in the formal mainstream education structure is, I think, a definitive step in the right direction.
On a lighter note, as I smiled at some of the diagnosis of famous fictional characters, I wondered on a parallel “desi” version.
So, if the good ol’ bear, Pooh, is a bundle of co-morbidities that may include cognitive impairment, how does our very own Baloo and his subservient love for Rebecca in Tailspin fare?
If Bella from Twilight represents a case of chronic low self esteem and depression, what kind of a complex behavioral pattern is exhibited by the character of Paro from the hugely popular DevD.
Is Ranbir Kapoor in Rajneeti a guy with deep seated insecurities and judgment impairment leading him into mindless violence and forcing him to live the life of an escapist who is circumstantially coerced into wrongs after wrongs?
And then isn’t Katrina Kaif a classic case of bipolar personality disorder – on one hand, she is this beauty with brains – a fast paced go getter, and then she goes and enters a marriage alliance because her dad pressurizes her into marrying a to-be CM. WTF!
No, I did not think much of Rajneeti, and this is just one way of trying to get even for my lost money :D)
US med schools should try including some of our bollywood classics in their curriculum!
P.S: Just in case you didn’t notice, this post also covers the movie review of Rajneeti, which was a huge disappointment.