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Letter to the Editor
‘The Sopranos’
Psychiatric News
Volume 36 Number 17 page 26-26

In his Viewpoints article in the June 1 issue, Dr. Herbert Peyser severely criticizes the portrayal of psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi as performed by Lorraine Bracco in the "mega hit" HBO television series "The Sopranos." I could not disagree more with his critique. The majority of my mental health care practitioner colleagues, including many psychoanalysts, agree that the characterization of Dr. Melfi exhibits a rare brilliance and depth in its description of the world of a practicing psychiatrist and of the psychotherapeutic process.

I would dare say that "The Sopranos" has done more to destigmatize mental illness (through educating the public about such clinical diagnoses as panic disorder and antisocial and borderline personality disorders), reveal to the American public what goes on behind the closed doors of the therapist’s office, and help define what a psychiatrist is than any public relations initiative ever promulgated by our own professional guild organization.

APA should acknowledge this important contribution by honoring the body of work by the creators, producers, and writers of "The Sopranos."

Dr. Peyser asserts that he would have flunked Dr. Melfi if he had examined her for the boards. I say, "Fogetaboutit."

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