Professor Fangirl: What TV Can Teach Psychology

August 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

My latest in Thought Catalog.

When I teach graduate courses to therapists in training, I start every class by going around the room and asking each student the most fundamental relationship-building question I can fathom.

“What’s your favorite TV show?”

I get a flurry of arching eyebrows. They were expecting the “What did you do on your summer vacation?” question. Or the agonizing “two truths and a lie” charade we’re all forced to play at one point of another. But no professor has ever planted a seedling of a relationship with this query.

Yep, that’s me. Professor Fangirl. I may be a PhD student and a mental health writer, but my students will never know that when I get home at night, I surf Tumblr and fawn over my favorite fictional characters. They don’t know that I’ve written fan fiction, or that I run an advice website that helps fans work through their own obsessions. I can even make gifs. So cool, right?

This chunk of me stays tucked away in the nearest phone booth most of the time. But time and time again I discover that fiction, particularly television, is a beautiful starting point for big-picture thinking. For thinking about our therapy clients’ lives as well as our own stories.

Read the rest here.

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