Fink! Still at Large: Shrinking 'The Sopranos'. (Opinion)

By Fink, Paul J.; Hoban, David | Clinical Psychiatry News, January 2002 | Go to article overview

Fink! Still at Large: Shrinking 'The Sopranos'. (Opinion)


Fink, Paul J., Hoban, David, Clinical Psychiatry News


The New York Times credits "The Sopranos" with being a kind of endorsement for psychotherapy at a time when psychotherapy is struggling to regain ground lost to psychopharmacology and biologic psychiatry. The Times cites psychiatrists as major fans of the series. What does their infatuation with "The Sopranos" really say about psychiatrists?

As many as 75% of psychiatrists do not watch "The Sopranos," if you can believe the results of a highly unscientific poll conducted by CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY NEWS.

Countering the assertion that the hit television series enjoys an "almost cultish devotion" among the nation's psychiatrists, only 5 of 20 psychiatrists we polled have actually watched the show.

"The Sopranos" producer David Chase has never employed a psychotherapist to consult with the show's writers, this newspaper was told by the studio. This didn't bother the psychiatrists we interviewed: "Somebody on that show has had psychotherapy," said University of Illinois, Chicago, psychiatrist Carl Bell, and they do "a fairly decent job" of depicting it.

Private practitioner Dr. Ahmad Almai, who teaches at Yale, said that although he usually enjoys the show, it took him 2 weeks to recover from watching the blud-geoning death of a mobster's girlfriend.

As an anxiety specialist, Dr. Almai also questioned the show's depiction of Tony Soprano's panic attacks. People with panic disorder, he argued, "frequently become reclusive, somewhat shy characters, not antisocial sociopaths who run crime families.

Boston psychiatrist Patricia Norman gave the show's therapist, Dr. Melfi's, approach with the mobster favorable marks but faulted her short skirts. "Therapists make an effort not to dress provocatively" she said.

One respondent who claims never to have missed an episode is Dr. Norman Rosenthal, clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School and former senior researcher in psychiatry and psychobiology at the National Institutes of Mental Health. "'The Sopranos' is the classic depiction of the son of a borderline woman who is volatile, self-preoccupied, complaining, abusive, and, in the end, colluding in a plan to murder her son," he said. "That was 'The Sopranos at its best. If it stopped there, it would have been a brilliant, classical, self-contained gem.

But the show errs in Dr. Melfi's exploration of the origins of Tony's panic attacks, he added. She associates the attacks with Tony's feeling of abandonment at the ducks' departure from his swimming pool, as well as with an early childhood memory of his father's brutality toward the neighbor. hood butcher.

"This is an old Freudian notion untenable in light of modern psychiatry It makes better viewing to think he's having his panic attacks because of the ducks than because his nor-epinephrine system is misguided," Dr. Rosenthal said.

Dr. Fink's Response

"The Sopranos" is an excellent show, It has received high ratings, but not because it depicts the excellent work of a psychiatrist with a Mafia boss with panic disorder, It is a drama that bears no resemblance to how real life psychiatry is practiced.

I think psychiatrists enjoy the show because it is a good commercial-free story about the Mafia. In that sense, psychiatrists are no different than anyone else; they can find escape in a story about crime and punishment as well as brutality, murder, and betrayal. Although Tony's mother is an evil, despicable woman, her characterization is not relevant to the psychological situation in which he finds himself. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Fink! Still at Large: Shrinking 'The Sopranos'. (Opinion)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.