MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 3 — Good relationships take trust and trust allows relationships to strengthen over time. As we’ve watched Don Draper over the years, we know he’s lied to the people in his life for complicated reasons. After suffering a series of humiliating defeats in Episode 3, it’s painfully illuminated to Don that the people who know him – from his wife Megan to his partners at SC&P – don’t trust him. Don is forced to face the reality that trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. Trust (and love) require being open to the hard work...

MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 2 — Is there any hope for love in Mad Men Season 7? Maybe between Don (Jon Hamm) and Sally (Kiernan Shipka).  But, first of all, Don needs to stop lying – and, finally, he’s beginning to come clean. Don’s lies catch up to him when Sally comes on the scene for the first time this season in Episode 2.  Sally is a lost 15 year old, with no parents she can count on – smoking with her boarding school friends, and on her way to a funeral for her roommate’s mother. She says, with typical teenage sardonic bravado,...

MAD MEN REVIEW: Season 7 Episode 1 — Could Sterling, Cooper, and Partners be an even worse environment for – and especially the women – as we enter Season 7, 1969? Each of the main characters seems poised for the struggle of their lives – as Mad Men’s psychologically-minded creator Matthew Weiner hints: “This season is about consequences…We don’t just throw stuff away after it has happened. There are shadows over this season that go back to the first time we met Don.” The premiere, “Time Zones,” let’s begin to check in with Joan (Christina Hendricks), Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), Don (Jon Hamm),...

  MAD MEN: Season 7 Preview — Bob Dylan’s song, “The Times They Are A-Changin’” defined the 60’s and the Cultural Revolution taking place. These times were especially momentous for women in their roles in the work place and as wives. Enter the world of Mad Men  - and we are in the culture that fueled the fires for Friedan’s 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique. The Women’s Revolution finally laid bare what Friedan called “the problem with no name.” A culture dominated by male definitions of women’s happiness: being a wife, a mother, and especially being what men want women to be. The women of Mad Men –...

MAD MEN: Season 7 Preview — Don Draper (Jon Hamm) has been running from his past through the last six seasons of Mad Men. At least, he’s tried his best – amidst flashbacks and his brother’s return. To me as a psychoanalyst, there is no doubt he’s a traumatized man. A man using various methods, mostly affairs and alcohol, to convince himself it’s possible to forget what’s happened to him, even who he really is. His steady and sad decline shows us he is wrong. The lines he quotes from Dante’s Inferno at the beginning of Season 6 reference the very type of hell...

  12 YEARS A SLAVE — Some people need someone to hate. In Jean Paul Sartre’s essay, “Anti-Semite and Jew,” he says: “If the Jew did not exist, the anti-Semite would invent him.” I don’t think it’s a far leap to put the history of Blacks in America in the same category. The important question is why? Why does this need to have someone to hate (or someone to control and use for one’s own psychological purposes) operate more intensely in some people? Like in Edwin Epps, the vicious slave master (Michael Fassbender), in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. The true story of Solomon...

HER — Spike Jonze is interested in loneliness. His new film, Her, is a semi-futuristic exploration of one lonely man’s struggle to learn what love is and what love is not. Here’s what we know about Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix). He has a broken heart. His marriage to Catherine has come to a devastatingly sad end. At BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com, he writes heartfelt, warm, romantic letters; to other people’s loves. The feelings he puts in the letters mean nothing to him. He’s afraid to open his heart again. Why is he so scared? Having his wife leave him doesn’t help. But, where else might...

Life In Space Is Impossible GRAVITY — What kind of beautiful and terrifying space doesGravity tell us about? The vast reaches of outer space, to be sure. Alfonso Cuaron’s film, Gravity, is a cinematographically beautiful cliffhanger of a space odyssey. Yet, there is a compelling psychological subtext: the gravity of Dr. Ryan Stone’s unresolved grief. What does a lonely woman, with absolutely no one, do when she’s lost the only person who gave her life the least bit of meaning?  She goes into the silence of an internal space - as far away from reality as she can, and with questionable desire to return....

And the children in the apple-tree Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the stillness … (T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets) PHILOMENA — Shame ravages. It eats away at you. It makes you collapse into yourself and live with secrets – seemingly too shameful to tell. Philomena Lee’s (Judi Dench) story is the story of shame. In Stephen Frears's film, Philomena, Philomena’s journey begins with shame until she comes full circle to where her shame began. Hers is the story of a hard won triumph over the forces that shamed her – a 1950’s Irish Catholic belief system capitalizing on shame and humiliation to...

FEB 28, 2014 — Characters on the Couch founder, Dr. Sandra Cohen, appeared on today’s News Nation with Tamron Hall to discuss the 2014 Oscar Best Picture film nominees, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, and The Wolf of Wall Street....