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Mental Health Center

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'Silver Linings Playbook' OK on Mental Illness?

No Laughing Matter continued...

Blumenfield also dismissed concerns raised by a few critics that showing mostly manic episodes and not depressive ones is an unrealistic depiction of bipolar disorder.

"Some people have bipolar and don't have depression at all. The film wasn't necessarily saying, 'This is exactly what bipolar is like.' I think the movie showed the complexities of disorders and also showed how traumatic events can affect people."

In fact, he said that he is not entirely convinced that Pat, the character played by Cooper, had bipolar disorder. The movie shows in flashbacks that Pat "snapped" and severely beat a man after catching him in the shower with Pat's wife. Because of this, it may be that Cooper's character is actually suffering from trauma, said Blumenfield.

"He wasn't the typical bipolar patient. He was a complex character that has been traumatized by an experience in his life. And it shows how he was able to eventually move on and find a new relationship. That's really what the movie was about," he said.

However, when asked if this is a movie that clinicians should recommend to patients with mental illness and their families, Blumenfield said "no."

"It's a movie. And you have to enjoy it as just that. If I were to recommend this to my patients, I would be telling them, 'This is you. See how it worked out?' And I don't think I could do that. To recommend it is to say that this is a typical person with bipolar," he said.

"Somebody with bipolar may identify with it, and that's OK. And if someone in therapy has already seen this movie and has particular reactions to it, I think it's great to talk with them about it."

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