In Session with “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

Dear friend,  join Dr. Sam and Dr. Fran as they go back to high school with Sam, and Charlie.  By popular demand, the doctors evaluate The Perks of Being a Wallflower this wee. 
Join this ‘island of misfit toys’ as we discuss Charlie’s social isolation, loneliness, and relationships. We also discuss adolescent mental health and Charlie’s mental health as it shifts throughout the movie. Are Charlie’s experiences as a teen realistic or possible?
Dr. Sam and Dr. Fran review complex topics seen in the movie including Charlie’s history of sexual abuse, trauma, and his treatment experience. What would treatment for Charlie ideally look like? The doctors investigate components of treatment that seem to be helpful for Charlie and overall treatment options.   
We accept the love we think we deserve and we think you will love this week’s session!

Glossary of Terms

Social support – having a person (or multiple people) available to assist in times of need from a network of friends, family members, and/or community members.

Protective factors – a factor that is associated with a lesser likelihood of developing a negative outcome

Perceived burdensomeness – the extent to which someone feels that they are a burden on others (often associated with an increased risk of suicidal thoughts)

Sexual abuse when someone in a position of power engages another person to do something sexual that is age inappropriate, uncomfortable, and/or against their will

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) –an evidence-based psychological treatment for children and adolescents experiencing trauma-related stressors and symptoms


If you or someone you know is struggling with or at risk for suicidal ideation, you can get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish) 1-800-273-8255.

Learn more about how common mental health concerns (including suicidal thoughts) are among teenagers and the general U.S. population here

We make the argument that The Perks of Being a Wallflower is, at its core, a movie about teenage mental health, learn more about the prevalence of mental health concerns among teenagers here

We discuss some risks and protective factors for depression, including social support.  Learn about some of these factors here

Sexual abuse was a major topic of this movie and our discussion, learn more about what sexual abuse is and how we can support children who have been abused here and here