Shades of Gray: Framing the Clinician-Patient Relationship in Film Noir FILM SERIES

  • 17 Jan 2018
  • 6:30 PM
  • 19 Feb 2018
  • 9:00 PM
  • Dell Medical School Health Learning Building at 1701 Trinity Street, Austin, TX


Registration is closed

Austin Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology (ASPP)

A local chapter of the Division of Psychoanalysis (Division 39) of the American Psychological Association (APA)


Center for Psychoanalytic Studies (CFPS)

A center affiliated with the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA)


Dell Medical School

University of Texas at Austin


Humanities Institute

University of Texas at Austin


 : : 5-part Film Series : :

Shades of Gray: Framing the Clinician-Patient Relationship in Film Noir

A Salon (Study Group) Facilitated by

Michael Uebel, PhD, LCSW

5 Monday/Wednesday evenings in January/February 2018        6:30 – 9:00 p.m.


Location: Health Learning Building Auditorium, Dell Medical School


5.0 CE/CME/CEU/Professional Development Credits in the topic of ETHICS


Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content. 


The Salon: This series of 5 films noirs by American, British, and Japanese directors will chart the post-war attitudes toward psychiatrists and doctors, with an attention to the shifting boundaries between patients and their treating clinicians. We will examine three general classes of relationship—the nurturing, the failed, and the malevolent—with the idea that any purity with respect to classification is doomed to contamination; in other words, our own attempts to establish boundaries—classificatory, moral, ethical, and methodological—collapse in the face of border-crossings and interpenetrations. Such a situation throws into question the very notion of what constitutes an ethical clinician-patient relationship, and these five films will offer us ample opportunity to plumb power relations within the treatment scenario. How, for example, is the acumen of the psychoanalyst or the healing power of the physician employed when patients are seen as victims or perpetrators of crime, as potential dupes for the crimes of the doctors, or as representatives of the dark side of humanity? For films noirs may be the best crucibles for examining the limits of human relatedness.


The Films: 

  • v  High Wall (1947):  Audrey Totter plays the heroic psychiatrist in her treatment of a case of amnesia (Robert Taylor). This is the third, and arguably the best, of director Curtis Bernhardt’s psycho-noirs. Discussant: Robert Abzug, PhD
  • v  Drunken Angel (1948): A fantastic noir from the great Kurosawa, with a tubercular criminal reluctantly in the care of a physician beautifully played by Takashi Shimura. The setting of post-war Tokyo forms a sordid backdrop to multiple boundary confusions. Discussant: Rick Peters, MD
  • v  The Upturned Glass (1948):  Brain surgeon (James Mason) offers, in a lecture on criminal pathology, a case study that turns out to be a kind of confession in this grim and compelling post-war noir that echoes the Dostoyevsky of Crime and Punishment, and treats the borders of sanity/insanity and power over life/death.  Discussant: John Bedolla, MD
  • v  The Accused (1949): Female psychologist (Loretta Young) becomes a femme fatale against her will(?) in this under-rated noir written by woman (Ketti Frings) in which misogyny and feminism vie. Discussant: Sabrina Barton, PhD
  • v  The Sleeping Tiger (1954): In Joseph Losey’s first film in England after being blacklisted in America, a psychiatrist (Dirk Bogarde) takes a petty criminal into his house for a long-term psychological experiment, unwittingly unleashing the passions of his young American wife.  Discussant: Carrie Barron, MD
  • Film Schedule:
  • 1/17 (Wed):     High Wall
  • 1/31 (Wed):     Drunken Angel
  • 2/5 (Mon):       The Upturned Glass
  • 2/12 (Mon):     The Accused
  • 2/19 (Mon):     The Sleeping Tiger


Akram, A., O’brien, A., O’Neill, A., & Latham, R. (2009). Crossing the line–learning        psychiatry at the movies. International Review of Psychiatry, 21(3), 267-268.

Bhugra, D. (2003). Teaching psychiatry through cinema. The Psychiatrist, 27(11), 429-      430.

Byrne, P. (2009). Why psychiatrists should watch films (or What has cinema ever done     for psychiatry?). Advances in psychiatric treatment, 15(4), 286-296.

Gabbard, G. O., & Gabbard, K. (1999). Psychiatry and the Cinema. American       Psychiatric Pub.

Smith, D., & Fitzpatrick, M. (1995). Patient-therapist boundary issues: An integrative        review of theory and research. Professional psychology: research and practice,     26(5), 499.

Wallace, M. (1993). Race, Gender, and Psychoanalysis in Forties Film: Lost           Boundaries, Home of the Brave, and The Quiet One. Black American Cinema,           257-271.

Learning Objectives (one per hour):

After attending the program in its entirety, attendees will be able to:

1) Describe why maintaining appropriate professional boundaries between clinicians, family members, peers and trainees is ethically required

2) Define professional boundaries and ethics within the workplace

3) Become aware of the early warning signs indicative of ethical dilemmas and boundary problems in colleagues and implement corrective action

4) Identify situations in which clinicians can breach professional boundaries

5) Demonstrate narratively how the new information will be applied to everyday practice.

Michael Uebel, PhD, LCSW, is a researcher and mental health practitioner in both institutional and private practice. He has published on Schreber, shame, and a wide range of psychoanalytic topics, and is currently at work on a study of spatiality and the epistemology of murder in film noir. He has been appointed Lecturer at School of Social Work at the University of Texas, and has taught as professor (Literature, Women’s Studies, and Social Theory) for over 15 years at the University of Virginia, Georgetown University, and the University of Kentucky. He serves as Treasurer of ASPP. Contact:



Continuing Education            

5.0 CE/CME/CEU/Professional Development credits (Ethics) if the salon is attended in its entirety


CEs: This program, when attended in its entirety is available for 5.0 continuing education credits. Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Participants must attend 100% of the program in order to receive a Certificate of Attendance. Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities. Division 39 is also committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program.  If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods.  If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them.  There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE Sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants, or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest. During the program, the presenter will discuss the validity and utility of the content and associated materials, the basis of such statements about validity/utility, and the limitations of and risks (severe and most common) associated with the content, if any. The program also provides 7.5 Professional Development credits for psychologists in Texas.


CME: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint sponsorship of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies. APsaA is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. APsaA designates this live activity for a maximum of 5.0 AMA PRA Category I credits. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE: None of the planners or the presenter of this CME program have any relevant financial relationships or conflicts of interest to disclose.


ASPP is approved by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors (Provider # 1138) to provide continuing education for licensed professional counselors in Texas. ASPP is approved by the Texas State Board of Social Workers Examiners (Provider # 5501) to provide continuing education activities for social workers.


Salon Coordinator: Ryan Parker, LCSW, ASPP Education Chair

Contact Ms. Parker at with questions or concerns about the program content. Contact the ASPP Administrator, Beth Martinez, at with questions about payment.                           

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