Hey, it’s been a while since I wrote a blog article. One of my goals for 2022, was to get back into writing and publishing articles on our blog. Well, after getting settled after the holiday season, I had some excruciating back pain for about a week. I could barely move, so I honestly wasn’t thinking about writing a blog article. Then last week, I had COVID. Ugh…once again, writing a blog article wasn’t on my radar. However, right after the back pain and right before testing positive for COVID, I did a thing.
I received a message from Catherine E. Shoichet, Senior Writer for CNN Digital at CNN, asking if I’d be interested in being interviewed for a story she was doing about Disney’s ‘Encanto’ and how it’s been coming up in therapy sessions, how the movie represents intergenerational trauma, and why that matters. Of course, I said, “yes!” It was such an honor to be interviewed. Not only did I get to discuss something that I’m passionate about…mental health and culture, I also got to discuss something else that I’m passionate about…Disney. I’m a HUGE Disney fan!
I absolutely loved the movie, ‘Encanto’. There’s so many metaphors and parallels in the movie. There are so many themes of inter-generational trauma throughout the movie. Some of the themes that we see throughout the movie are: feelings of perfectionism, having to try to be someone that they’re not, trying to live up to other’s expectations, being the outcast or shunned, due to being or thinking different, not talking about or talking about a family member because they don’t fit into a certain “box” or due to mental illness, pressure from others, not talking about or talking about traumatic experiences, migrant and/or immigrant families having to relocate or flee, and children and grandchildren having to assimilate into a culture or community where they’ve landed.
We also see the struggle, especially amongst Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), of doing it all and acting like we can handle it all. Meanwhile, it is “killing” us on the inside and affecting us mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically/medically. One of the things this movie shows us is that we shouldn’t judge others because of their differences and sometimes things that we’re afraid of regarding change is beneficial and helpful to us. Individuals all have differences withing their family and that’s ok. It’s ok to be different and not be like everyone in the family.
There are so many layers in this movie and it’s showing up in therapy sessions, not only amongst adults, but also in children through play therapy. Child clients are so excited to see the ‘Encanto’ miniatures/figures in our playroom. Not only are children (and adults) seeing themselves (Black and Brown characters, Afro-Latinx characters, etc.), but they are also seeing themselves in the characteristics of the characters and the dynamics of the family. I tried not to tell too much about the movie or anything specific, in case you haven’t seen it. However, feel free to read the CNN article, where I was interviewed and contributed, to read more about what I (and other therapists) had to say about the movie (the story contains spoilers for ‘Encanto’) at https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/18/health/encanto-therapy-immigration-wellness-cec/index.htm