In episode two of the Movie Health PodcastLisa Bahar, M.A., LMFT, LPCC of Lisa Bahar Marriage and Family Therapy, Inc., joined us to discuss the 1955 movie starring James Dean, “Rebel Without a Cause” and Lisa’s tips for mental health. Lisa explains that “Rebel Without a Cause” is a timeless coming-of-age film that explores the challenges adolescents face as they navigate issues of identity, belonging, and traumatic events.

Lisa Bahar, M.A., LMFT, LPCC

Lisa Bahar is a licensed psychotherapist in Newport Beach, California, and a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology.

Lisa has a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema-Television Production from the University of Southern California and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University.

Lisa has been practising merging her background in cinema with the practice of therapy through a process called Cinema-Therapy, where she uses film stories to help clients’ health from the challenges associated with mental health and well-being.

Lisa’s Favourite Movie

Rebel Without a Cause | PG-13 | 1h 51m

A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.

Summary available from – i md

Movie Discussion

In episode two of the Movie Health podcast, we discussed the movie “Rebel Without a Cause”. Lisa explains that “Rebel Without a Cause” is a timeless coming-of-age film that explores the challenges adolescents face as they navigate issues of identity, belonging, and traumatic events.

Lisa shares that her mother introduced her to the film in her coming-of-age phase, relating it to a modern version of “Breakfast Club.” She fell in love with the movie and has cherished it ever since. The film stars James Dean as Jim, a charismatic and rebellious teenager. Lisa emphasises that the film’s opening scene, where Jim is drunk and disorderly and ends up in a police station, is significant as it brings together the main characters and sets the story in motion.

We highlight some notable scenes in the movie, such as the reference to Back to the Future, where Jim’s dislike of being called a chicken leads to a knife fight. Lisa elaborates on the dynamics between Jim and his father, who is portrayed as passive and dominated by Jim’s mother. This lack of male role models influences Jim’s vulnerability and aversion to being called a chicken. Additionally, Judy, another main character, experiences rejection from her father, which shapes her rebellious behaviour and search for attention.

The third lead character, Plato, has no parents present and exhibits mental health issues due to abandonment. He forms a deep bond with Jim and is attracted to him as a father figure. Plato’s troubled nature is crucial in bringing Jim and Judy together, but he remains profoundly disturbed and vulnerable.

The goons, who antagonise Jim and Plato throughout the film, push them to confront challenges and find their identities. Jim’s individuality and integrity attract Judy, prompting her to question her association with the bullying group. We discuss various aspects of the movie, highlighting its exploration of parental relationships, rebellion, and the struggle to find oneself during the tumultuous teenage years.

Overall, “Rebel Without a Cause” resonates with audiences due to its timeless themes and relatable characters. The film reflects the coming-of-age experience and the complexities of navigating mental health and identity in a challenging world.

Tips for Mental Health

Lisa emphasises starting with the basics for mental health, the value of direct human contact, and personal experiences. Lisa believes the stigma around mental health is decreasing, promoting more openness and support. Here are Lisa’s tips:

  • Start with self-care basics: prioritize nutrition, exercise, sleep, and avoid mood-altering substances.
  • Build mastery by learning something new daily, even minor activities or recipes.
  • Connect with spirituality, faith, or religion to stay grounded and comfortable.
  • Cultivate meaningful relationships to counteract the distancing effects of technology.
  • Recognize the value of direct human contact and personal experiences over excessive reliance on technology.
  • Seek help when needed through hotlines, therapists, or support groups.
  • Utilize inspiring and informative podcasts and resources to enhance mental health.
  • Use technology to access resources and communities that provide support throughout life’s journey.

Lisa Bahar Marriage and Family Therapy, Inc.

Lisa Bahar is a licensed marriage and family therapist, professional clinical counsellor and a student at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology, PhD in Philosophy and Global Leadership and Change program, Cohort 2020.

Lisa Bahar provides psychotherapy to individuals, couples and families and specialises in treating addiction, mood and personality disorders. Lisa Bahar specialises in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and works to provide clients with the most comprehensive care based on their clinical needs and goals.

Learn more and contact Lisa at: ​​