Can TV Programmes Really Be Therapeutic?

I read an interesting article recently about reality tv and its potential to be therapeutic (you can see it in Therapy Today, June issue, 2013). It got me thinking about how TV programmes might be therapeutic: the way in which they can normalise mental health issues (such as depression, OCD, eating disorders etc); increase public understanding and, hopefully, compassion; and suggest that help is available and effective. However, my reservations lie in the formulaic nature of the programmes; particularly the way in which all the individuals appear to get ‘better’ in the alloted time span. In my experience life, and counselling/therapy, isn’t always as predictable and dependable as that! Nevertheless, I support any medium that presents mental health issues in a way that de-stigmatises them and allows for wider discussion and debate, and television is certainly the quickest and most effective way of reaching the largest audience.

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