Portraying Bipolar Disorder for Use in Cinematherapy

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Northern Kentucky University
Cinematherapy describes using film as a therapeutic tool. Its success is dependent, in part, on a patient’s ability to identify with an on-screen character. Research suggests few films accurately portray characters with mental illnesses. Thus, films available for cinematherapy in relation to psychotherapy are limited. To contribute to this neglected catalogue, I wrote a 20-page screenplay titled Etta which explores bipolar disorder specifically. Its plot and main character are inspired by medically deemed symptoms of bipolar disorder and personal testimonies of those living with the illness. Additionally, I designed Etta’s structure and content to comply with the logistics of cinematherapy.
2020 Celebration of Student Research and Creativity presentation
Motion pictures, Therapeutics, Manic-depressive illness in motion pictures