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Cinema in the training of psychiatry residents: focus on helping relationships

Carla Gramaglia, Amalia Jona, Fredrica Imperatori, Eugenio Torre and Patrizia Zeppegno*

BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:90  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-90

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Educating to helping relationships and emotional experience: the method developed by Eugenio Torre

Patrizia Zeppegno   (2014-02-04 14:30)  Institute of Psychiatry, University of Eastern Piedmont Amedeo Avogadro email

In this paper we mention the method developed by Eugenio Torre. A more in depth examination of Torre’s method is due.

Specific teaching/learning approaches are needed in the training and education for helping relationships. The communication and learning of emotional experience needs to follow a different pathway from the one typical of the communication and acquisition of technical skills. Contrary to technical issues which are easy to share and teach, according to Bion (1948) only limited methods exist to communicate emotional experiences, and these have a limited range of influence. Bion states that in the field of emotional experience, not only a mimetic approach is worthless, but it may even prove dangerous because it might resemble a spurious growth and education.

Looking for a possible answer to the question raised by Bion, Eugenio Torre developed a method which, through the art, proposes a pathway to teaching and educating about relationships (Torre 1996; 1999; 2000; 2002; 2008; 2010). The method proposed by Torre integrates theoretical and technical issues together with the experience of working in a group, and specifically uses movie dynamic images as educational incitements. The images cross-refer to the archetypes constellating the problems related to helping relationships (the Shadow, the Hero, the Wounded Healer…). It should be remembered that, not only a connection exists between images and archetypes (Jung, 1959; Hillman, 1972), but between the archetypal experience and learning as well (both from a cognitive and an emotional standpoint).

According to Torre’s approach, dynamic images from movies are discussed and elaborated in a group setting, through a work including: choice of the movie scenes experienced as more emotionally involving and closely related with the problem the group is dealing with; representation of movie scenes through dramatization, psychodrama and role plays with role reversal; sharing of group members’ experience. The emotional experience gets structured working through the movie characters, the confrontation with the images emerging from the group work, while the group leader supports and facilitates the integration of contents.


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Torre E. I sentimenti e le conflittualità del perito. Aspetti teorici e casi pratici di psichiatria forense. Turin: Giuffrè, 2008.

Torre E. Lezioni di psichiatria e psicologia clinica. Eds: Usai C, Zeppegno P. Rome: Aracne, 2010.


Competing interests

No competing interest


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