Whether you have multiple certificates in counselling or are yet to start any counselling training, you might have seen many depictions of counselling in film and television. In media, counselling can provide a powerful tool for exploring complex emotions, character development, and personal growth. The practice can be a source of drama, tension, and catharsis, as characters confront their innermost struggles.
Read on to learn more about some of the most famous depictions of counselling seen in film and television and how this can help those interested in counselling training or counselling courses.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Widely perceived as the definitive depiction of counselling, the Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting tells the story of a troubled genius, Will Hunting (Matt Damon). Robin Williams stars opposite Damon as Dr. Maguire, a therapist forced to help Will with his upsetting past.
The film was praised for its honest portrayal of the course of counselling, with emotionally-nuanced portrayals of trauma, grief, and relationships. Director Gus Van Sant’s managed to combine naturalistic chemistry between cast members and a stylised, tangible sense of the film’s distinctive urban setting, Boston.
“Good afternoon, Seattle. I'm listening.” was the catchphrase of radio host and psychiatrist Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), a character who lit up screens during the 1990s. The show depicts Frasier’s course of counselling; dispensing advice to the eccentric callers on his show. With his snobbish, high-fluting tone, Frasier’s antics often descend into slapstick that, rather brilliantly, feels more like a Victorian “comedy of manners” rather than a mainstream American sitcom.
Living with his father and a British housekeeper, the show also comedically explores Frasier’s struggles with relationships, family, and his own neuroses. As a character, Frasier demonstrates that even those with the most prestigious certificates in counselling still struggle just like everyone else.
In Treatment (2008-2021)
Inspired by the popular Israeli series, BeTipul, In Treatment follows the weekly therapy sessions of several different patients with their therapist, Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne). The show delves into the complexities of relationships, mental illness, and trauma.
The show's format allows for a deep exploration of each character's struggles, as each episode focuses on one patient’s struggles. In Treatment was aired in a five-night-a-week format (similar to a condensed soap opera) enabling the viewer to follow Paul’s course of counselling in real-time during the week.
Key Counselling Training
Counselling is also used in films and television because it is a relatable and universal experience. Many people have experienced therapy or counselling at some point in their lives, and the portrayal of counselling in popular media can help to reduce stigma and increase awareness of mental health issues.
Whilst not always entirely accurate, depictions of counselling can be interesting to look at, especially for those interested in starting counselling training. If you’re interested in helping and supporting others, counselling courses and certificates in counselling are available from Key Counselling Training.
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