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The PSP Studios

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The Studio is not new to the PSP community. We conducted in-person Studios at our San Francisco campus during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Specifically, we offered a series of film festivals, during which we would all view a movie (or documentary) and spend time sharing our perspectives on what we have viewed and exploring its psychological ramifications. These Friday evening events culminated in a series of lectures and film viewing that was co-sponsored by the Berkeley Film Institute. This final festival was led by a noted psychoanalyst, Glen Gabbard, who had recently written a book about cinema and psychology (Krin Gabbard and Glen Gabbard (1987) Psychiatry and the Cinema, Chicago: U. of Chicago Press.

The New PSP Studio Program

We initiated a program in 2020 that once again features films (and documentaries). The format for this film festival program is somewhat different, of course, given the much broader geography of PSP at the present time (with members of the Global PSP community from 10 countries) and the opportunity to interact with one another digitally (via Zoom). We invite participants to independently view the film (or documentary) ahead of time. Then we convene a Saturday Zoom session (1 ½ hours in length) to share our perspective on the film or documentary. The time zone challenges are met by scheduling our Zoom call at 9am in the Eastern USA and Canada, which is 6am on the West Coast in USA and Canada, 5pm in Europe and Israel, and either 9pm or 10pm in Asia. The PSP Studio is intended as a virtual setting in which participants can share their own personal perspectives on the film or documentary that they have each viewed—as well as engage in a dialogue regarding the psychological ramifications of the movie’s or documentary’s theme(s).

One Other Studio Outcome

There is one other objective associated with the PSP Studio. Many of our graduates (especially those holding a psychodynamic perspective) are now involved in something called “relational psychotherapy” –which is associated in turn with the concept of “intersubjectivity”. This perspective concerns a focus on the third entity in the therapy room – this being the relationship between therapist and client. Intersubjectivity essentially involves the reality created in every relationship formed between two people. All of this leads to our additional objective for each Studio.

We devote the last fifteen minutes of each studio session to identifying ways in which this film might be used as an adjunct to therapy sessions (or coaching or consulting sessions). The film becomes a third entity in the room and can help to animate deeper and broader explorations of the intersubjective relationship between these entities). We take the recommendations and insights coming out of these 15 -minute sessions to create one or more new PSP certificate programs on Art/Film-Enhanced Human Services (Therapy/Coaching/Consulting). These programs will be led by Studio participants who have helped to create the new therapy/coaching/consulting tool and strategy. Rather than an image being used simply as an assessment tool (such as the TAT and Rorschach are now being used), it can be used as a source of animation for building, expanding and enriching the therapy, coaching or consulting engagement.


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