Pop Psych: What Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ Teaches Us About Childhood Trauma

Pop Psych: What Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ Teaches Us About Childhood Trauma

Netflix’s newest gem, Stranger Things, builds its world out of lost pieces of nostalgia for a time that probably never quite existed, but it does so in a way that shows it understands the power of the little things. One of my favorite recurring easter eggs is how frequently Stephen King’s books turn up at pivotal moments of plot development, and not just because I like seeing the creators of such a superb show acknowledge their own influences. No, the reason Stephen King’s presence stands out to me so strongly in this show is because he so keenly understand how to write magical children (and magical black people, but that’s a different matter). In King’s most terrifying and moving books, he places children at the axis of power and helplessness, and Stranger Things follows in kind.

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Pop Psych: ‘Ghostbusters’, Dreams and Why Bustin’ (Should) Make You Feel Good

Pop Psych: ‘Ghostbusters’, Dreams and Why Bustin’ (Should) Make You Feel Good

We all have dreams about what we want to be when we grow up, but so few of us ever end up pursuing them. Which sounds more sad than it is – in Hindu cosmology, the Human realm of existence is distinguished solely by the opportunity to continue to make choices and adapt. But it does make you wonder why it’s so hard to follow those dreams. The Ghostbusters series of films has always focused on this conundrum, with the first two focusing on the issues of red tape and overregulation that get in the way of starting a business and this new one focusing on questions that are more personal, internalized, and historic. Which is all too appropriate for a film about busting ghosts.

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Pop Psych: ‘Pokemon Go’ Is a Delightfully Disruptive Social Phenomenon

Pop Psych: ‘Pokemon Go’ Is a Delightfully Disruptive Social Phenomenon

I don’t think I’ve ever had an easier time picking a topic than I have this week, because my life has turned into an adorable ripoff of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and it’s feeding on the rays. What I mean is: holy fucking shit, Pokemon Go! Have you ever seen anything like this? People unabashedly playing video games in public? It’s a phenomenon even if you’re not playing; Pokemon Go has been in our lives for about a week now and has already disrupted everything we hold dear, from giving indoor kids a reason to be tan and fit to making the Holocaust museum a place you would ever voluntarily enter

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Pop Psych: ‘Preacher’ Drags America’s Darkest Feelings Into the Light

Pop Psych: ‘Preacher’ Drags America’s Darkest Feelings Into the Light

The last time I wrote about AMC’s Preacher, it was because I was so struck by how completely it displayed the power of the Shadow. A small town redolent in secrets and violence, local power concentrated around local symbols, people unable to leave no matter how much distance they put between themselves and Annville’s Google Maps thumbtack; the first few episodes of the show were practically a textbook in Jungian analysis. But therapy is different than analysis, and I knew I would be remiss in my ethical duties if I didn’t return to Annville to see what Preacher was able to do with such a fine set-up. I’m glad to say that in the few episodes since, the show does not disappoint.

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Pop Psych: ‘The Night Of’ Teaches Us How to Go to Prison

Pop Psych: ‘The Night Of’ Teaches Us How to Go to Prison

I run a lot of DUI groups.  As a therapist, I specialize in working with substance and behavioral addictions, and a lot of clients end up mandated by the court to a year or more of group therapy on account of drunk driving.  And while it’s expensive, uncomfortable, and time consuming, believe me: the year of forced therapy is the least of their problems.  Catching a DUI is a bad scene.  The whole situation has always struck me as incredibly odd; people who suffer from addictive behavior patterns tend to be very thoughtful and intelligent, as well as a little behind on distress tolerance.  As a result, the question I probably ask my groups more than any other is how did such smart people end up making such stupid decisions

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