Filmmaker to Screen Documentary on Mental Health Professionals in War Zones

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: Noelle.Lemoine@williams.edu

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., March 6, 2013—The film MIND ZONE: Therapists Behind the Front Lines will be screened at Williams College on Wednesday, March 13. The event will take place at 7 p.m. in Paresky Center, Performance Space. Dr. Jan Haaken, the documentary’s filmmaker, will be present for an audience Q&A after the screening. A reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public.

The film, shot in Afghanistan in the summer of 2011, follows the 113th Army Combat Stress Control unit. The U.S. Army has increased the deployment of mental health detachments to war zones on a scale previously unimaginable. The mental health professionals must carry out two competing missions: maintaining the fighting forces and preventing psychiatric casualties. Colonel David Rabb and his team of therapists employ a wide range of psychological techniques, including mindfulness training and video game use. In the film, the larger issue of ethical dilemmas regarding the use of psychiatry in war zones unfolds.

Haaken is a professor of psychology emeritus at Portland State University, as well as a clinical and community psychologist, documentary filmmaker, and social justice activist. She is currently serving as a Fulbright Specialist Scholar at Durham University in the United Kingdom. Haaken’s areas of expertise include psychoanalysis and feminism, group responses to violence trauma, and the process of social change. She has authored numerous books, including Hard Knocks: Domestic Violence and the Psychology of Storytelling (2010) and Speaking Out: Women, War, and the Global Economy (2005). Haaken has also directed numerous films such as Diamonds, Guns, and Rice and Queens of Heart: Community Therapists in Drag. Haaken currently serves on the editorial board of multiple psychology journals. Haaken received her B.S. from the University of Washington in 1974 and her Ph.D. from the Wright Institute Los Angeles in 1979.

The event is sponsored by the departments of neuroscience and psychology and the Gaudino Initiative on Danger.

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