Welcome to Presenting Problems

Welcome to Presenting Problems

"Presenting Problems" is a series of short films that present a variety of psychological “problems” faced by both patients and therapists. The films do this not by portraying people with particular symptoms (depression, anxiety, etc.) or by illustrating diagnostic categories (masochism, narcissism and so on). They try to tell stories about psychic distress by portraying a particular character in an environment as a way of talking about an internal situation. Through humor and a variety of visual mediums, they seek to raise questions about psychological conflict and its complicated relation to internal life. The films have been used for classroom discussions, clinical training and for anyone else interested in such things. None of the films are explicitly about therapy and in some ways they don't really have to be thought about from that perspective. However, if we take them up as ways of thinking about the problems encountered in one person trying to understand another person's internal dynamics, they provide new ways to discuss and think about ideas that psychoanalysis has begun to provide some language for. For instance, the idea of how individual character relates to psychic suffering, the notion that dreams are a way of thinking, the idea that symptoms are formed out a compromise, the role that the unconscious plays in our own (mis)understanding of ourselves, the ever-evolving ideas about what facilitates (or restricts) understanding, allows for (or hampers) change and promotes (or flattens) vitality. These are some of the questions that the films hope to address. Since their inception, "Presenting Problems" has been shown in psychoanalytic psychodynamic training centers (The Psychotherapy Institute in Berkeley), psychoanalytic clinics (Access Institute), psychoanalytic treatment centers (Masonic Family Center), colleges (both in fine art classes at University of California at Berkeley and psychology classes at Dominican University). They have been shown at annual professional events (the 2013 Oregon Psychiatric Meeting), in theaters (Delancey Street Theater), at fundraising events (at Lutecium’s film night) and at cultural centers (Oregon Jewish Museum). They have won several film awards (California Film Awards, Accolade Competition, Los Angeles Film Awards, DeFraming the Frame) been translated into other languages, appeared in film festivals and reviewed in JAPA (the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association).