In Session with “Fight Club”

Are you Jack’s eager ears? This week Dr. Sam and Dr. Fran cover the cult favorite, Fight Club. And we do mean cult.

The doctors dive into the possible psychopathology of both the narrator (played by Edward Norton) and Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). We learn more about the narrator’s insomnia and gain a better understanding of his mood and motivations. We then compare and contrast the narrator with his new best bud, Tyler.

Next, the doctors break the first two rules and talk about the creation and purpose of the Fight Club. And try to get to the bottom of the club vs cult question.

Finally, we discuss one of the most infamous twists in movie history with a breakdown of Dissociative Identity Disorder. If this is your first episode, you must rate, review and subscribe. Just kidding. You met us at a very strange time in our podcast.

Glossary of Terms

Insomnia– a disorder characterized by difficulty asleep, staying asleep, or feeling refreshed after sleeping despite having adequate opportunities to sleep

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)– treatment that focuses on addressing behaviors and attitudes that disrupt the natural sleep process

Sleep hygiene–  behaviors and environment considerations to promote sleep. Examples include setting a consistent wake time, eliminating daytime naps, adding exercise into your day, limiting caffeine, limiting use of electronics before bed, etc.

Paradoxical intention– an individual is asked to actively avoid falling asleep in an attempt to reduce performance anxiety and help them to relax and fall asleep

Deindividuation– loss of self-awareness and identify within a group

Dehumanization– the process of denying the positive human qualities of a person or group

Groupthink– a phenomenon that occurs in groups in which creativity and personal responsibility are discouraged that can lead to poor decision-making

Dissociation– lack of connection between thoughts, memory, and sense of identity (not to be confused with Dissociative Identity Disorder- see Resources section for more information)

Malingering– exaggerating or faking illness to achieve an external reward or escape an undesired outcome (e.g., faking an illness to get out of work)


Check out this awesome webpage put together by Dr. Jade Wu on insomnia, how to treat it, and a list of additional sleep resources.

Here’s another great resource for learning more about how to get better sleep.

Want to learn more about cults? Check this article out!

Understand more about the psychology about group dynamics here.

Interested in reading more about Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Take a deep dive into the controversy behind Dissociative Identity Disorder here.