Accept your beautiful mind

Movie week on the Fiction Therapist continues with A Beautiful Mind.

Although John Nash, a brilliant mathematician suffering from schizophrenia, knows his hallucinations won’t stop, he takes a moment to say goodbye to the characters created by his mind.

A Beautiful Mind. Directed by Ron Howard. Screenplay by Akiva Goldsman, based on A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar. Nominated for eight Academy awards and won four, including best picture.

An excellent example of acceptance appears in A Beautiful Mind, a 2001 movie about John Nash, a Nobel Prize winner in economics. The movie portrays his struggles with psychotic symptoms throughout his life. One of the powerful aspects of this movie is that the viewers see things from John Nash’s perspective and therefore get to experience what it’s like to be overwhelmed by images, thoughts, and feelings that are totally in his mind. As the movie progresses, the viewers, like the main character, experience a change in perspective as the hallucinations are revealed to be passengers on his bus (our wording). That is, the main character starts treating these very convincing, often flattering persons as characters convincing, often flattering persons as characters conjured up by his mind and not what they claim they are: an FBI agent recruiting him for a special assignment or a best friend who rescues him from his loneliness. In a very moving scene toward the end of the film, John tells the images, “I will not be able to speak to you anymore” and walks away. It is understood that although he will no longer be engaging in conversations with them, these characters created by his mind will continue to follow him.

Victoria M. Follette and Jacqueline Pistorello. Finding Life Beyond Trauma: Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Heal from Post-traumatic Stress and Trauma-related Problems.

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