In Session with “50/50”

This week Dr. Sam & Dr. Fran discuss 50/50! We’re excited to tackle this movie because it’s an interesting, although inaccurate, portrayal of health psychology, a subject near and dear to our hearts.
Join the doctors as they critique psychologist-in-training Katherine, played by Anna Kendrick, as she provides therapy to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Adam, after a cancer diagnosis. 
How are psychologists trained? And are they typically this inept? Does it include giving patients a ride or dating them? Spoiler alert: NO!!! Lots of therapy scenes in this one too so there is plenty to review and more than a few PhDon’ts.
We promise we won’t awkwardly touch you like Katherine, but please listen to this session. If you do, we promise there’s a better than 50% chance you’ll enjoy it and even learn a few things.

Glossary of Terms

Health psychology – the intersection of health and behavior; focuses on the factors that promote health, including helping people cope with injury or chronic illness

Integrated health care – approach to healthcare involving primary care, behavioral or mental health, and other relevant services; emphasis is on collaboration and communication between multiple care providers

Informed consent – a legal and ethical term defined as the process of a client agreeing to a proposed intervention after understanding of the relevant facts, risks and benefits, and available alternatives involved

Dissertation – a long essay or book on a specific subject; often a requirement of a PhD program or doctorate,

Normalizing – therapeutic technique used to help someone feel that their experiences are “normal” or common

Self-disclosure – when a therapist shares something personal about themselves in therapy


We introduced an exciting facet of the mental health field in today’s episode. Learn more about health psychology here.

50/50 focuses on how Adam copes with a diagnosis of cancer- read more about what the American Cancer Society recommends for individuals and loved ones coping with cancer.

Another major theme of the movie is how Adam’s friends and family cope with his diagnosis. Check out this article about the importance of social support in coping with cancer.