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Movie Analysis- 28 Days

Movie Analysis- 28 Days

Films can be an excellent source of information on psychological problems and therapies. Some directors are interested in presenting everyday issues and how they are handled to educate their audience. One of such movies is the movie 28 Days. This movie contributes to the viewers the life of a substance abuser and how she goes into rehabilitation. It also presents some of the challenges that addicts face in recovery and the hard decisions they must make to recover. There are also lessons to learn from how the therapist handles such situations.

Movie Description and the Influence of Substance Use and Addictive Disorders Portrayed in 28 Days

The film 28 Days focuses on an alcoholic called Gwen. It is clear from the movie that Gwen’s drinking habit puts her in danger and trouble with the family. There are instances where she has had a road accident and drove a car into a house (Thomas, 2000). There is also an instance when she ruined her sister’s wedding cake all because she was drunk. Along the way, she learns that she has a drinking problem despite not wanting to accept it fully (Thomas, 2000). She goes for medication, but her boyfriend, Jasper, tries to derail her rehabilitation process.

A Description of Ethical Issues of the Counselor/Behavioral Health Team

The one ethical issue that stood out in the movie concerning the counselor’s approach is how the counselor did not fully use informed consent. Informed consent is described by Olson, DeFrain, and Skogrand (2014) as a process where the client is expected to do things as a part of the procedure. As such, the client is considered an essential element in the counseling process and must be well informed by the counselor on the methods, techniques, and direction that the session will take so that they can consent to the procedure. Olson, DeFrain, and Skogrand (2014) further explain that consent only occurs when all the parties involved in the process understand the benefits and risks of what they are a part of to help them make informed decisions. This informed consent is also needed when a counselor prepares to take a client for a counseling group session. The group member must be well informed, and their permission must be sought to participate in the session. They are also supposed to adhere to the specific details of the consent they signed before the sessions begin. The counselor should help the client have knowledge and understanding of their consent and to obtain it. In the case of the movie, this did not happen. Evidently, the client, Gwen, was unaware of what the sessions would involve.

Notably, participants’ consent should include clear information about the possible risks, possible benefits, the extent of the treatment, and the nature of use (Olson et al., 2014). Consent is also seen when the counselor gathers information from the group members to understand information about the group session and their capacity to consent. Also, consent should involve the client accepting that they are well informed, ready and willing to participate in the counseling session, and willing to begin the session (Brabender & MacNair-Semands, 2022). Consent for a group counseling session means that the client should agree to the terms that should not differ from those of the private sessions. In other words, each member should enjoy confidentiality and respect that they would enjoy even when they are in a private session. When looking at what happened in the movie, the client, Gwen, was not informed about the group’s goals (Thomas, 2000). The movie has also not shown whether her consent was sought for her to participate in the group session.

Also, it is essential to note that there was an issue with how the new member, Gwen, was introduced into the group. What is ethically required, according to Brabender and MacNair-Semands (2022), is that the new member should be educated and informed of the group rules. The group rules are essential since they have an impact on the other group members and have an effect on the new group members. This approach was not used in the movie. Gwen was welcomed to the group as a new member and was not informed about the group’s rules (Thomas, 2000).

Another issue that emerged was in this first session when the group responded to the arrival of a new member, and the psychotherapist was supposed to encourage and insist the members use respectful language that may not be offensive to others. However, she did not stress that, and during the session, there was some disagreement between members where all the other old members disliked the coming in of a new member (Brabender & MacNair-Semands, 2022). The counselor also failed to encourage the members to remain respectful even when they disliked something or disagreed. Even though this session of Gwen’s counseling proceeds, one can see that this was an approach to let her exhale, and one can question the counselor’s authority and control regarding encouraging respect during the session.

What I Would Do as a Behavioral Health Provider

From the case presented, it is difficult to deal with most of the patients, especially Gwen, since she is starring in the movie. It is evident that even though she seeks help because she has become an alcoholic, Gwen is still not ready to accept that she has a problem. She keeps going back to drinking and using other substances. Also, she initially seems not to get along with the group (Thomas, 2000). Such incidents can cause difficulty to a therapist. A therapist can use consultation or supervision under such circumstances. Consultation can help since it involves conversing with another counselor to get advice on what to do (Olson et al., 2014). However, consultation may not bring out the exact scenario; thus, correcting their issues or learning to handle difficulties may be challenging. As such, I would prefer to use supervision. In the case of supervision, the counselor seeks to be assessed by another therapist with better experience (Thomas, 2000). During the session, the supervising therapist examines how the supervisee responds to the difficulties, and then they can offer help. This would be the best approach in this case because it would reveal the mistakes. Also, the supervising therapist can see what is happening as it happens.

Another character with difficulties in the film is the older addict, Bobbi Jean. In the film, he seems to have problems with how the counselor does her work. When Gwen is introduced as a new member during the commotion counseling session, he is the first to question the counselor. My prognosis for Gwen is that if she continues drinking, she will likely end up injured or even dead since she sometimes drinks and drives. It is also evident that this behavior is likely to ruin her life. Her connection with Japer is also not healthy for her. On the other hand, if she takes the treatments seriously and separates from Jasper, she is likely to recover and overcome her alcohol addiction.

How I Would Work With the Family in the Film and My Prognosis for Them

The best way to work with this family is by involving them in Gwen’s recovery so that they can be supportive. In support of this decision, Brabender and MacNair-Semands (2022) state that even though families are different and unique in their own ways, all families share a bond that can be used to support a member who is in a problem. There is no standard solution for helping people like Gwen who have a drinking problem or are addicted to substance use. However, through family members’ support, an individual addicted to substance or drug use can be helped. It is also evident from the film that the abuse of alcohol by Gwen is not only affecting her as a person but also her family (Thomas, 2000). This opinion is also supported by Olson, DeFrain, and Skogrand (2014), who also believe that the family comes in because they are affected and their input is needed. They are also required during the treatment since some people are at a higher risk of developing substance use disorder. Therefore, knowing if such incidents exist in the family background is important in helping the patient.

Hence, based on these observations, Gwen’s family will be used to support her through the recovery process. The family should be there to help her overcome any factors that lead her to drinking. They can, for instance, help her keep away from Jasper, who is influencing her into drinking (Thomas, 2000). The family can also offer her emotional support to prevent her from feeling neglected, which can also lead her back to drinking. My prognosis for this family is that Gwen’s drinking problem is tearing them apart, and it is highly likely that they will neglect her and avoid her (Thomas, 2000). This kind of relationship might lead Gwen further into alcohol addiction. This prognosis is based on the fact that Gwen’s drinking behavior is currently causing havoc to them. For instance, she ruined Lily’s (her sister’s) wedding cake and remained angry with her for a long time, even to the extent of yelling at her in the rehabilitation.


Substance and drug abuse are common in society, and the recovery process is difficult for victims. This scenario is what the film 28 Days is trying to demonstrate to its audience. The film shows that substance and drug addiction affects the user and their families. It is also evident that the recovery process is not easy, especially if those closest to the victims are users or abusers. Through the film, one can learn that such patients can be helped through counseling, and group sessions can be used even though ethically, the counselor should ensure that the members in the group session are well briefed on the group’s goals and their consent is fully sought.


Brabender, V., & MacNair-Semands, R. (2022). The ethics of group psychotherapy: Principles and practical strategies. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis.

Olson, D. H., DeFrain, J., & Skogrand, L. (2014). Marriages and families: Intimacy, diversity, and strengths. United States: McGraw-Hill Education.

Thomas, B. (2000). 28 days Columbia Pictures. Retrieved from


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Watch the movie 28 Days.
Describe the movie/situation in 100 words. Include a discussion of the influence of substance use and addictive disorders portrayed in the film.
Describe any ethical issues of the counselor or behavioral health team.

Movie Analysis- 28 Days

Movie Analysis- 28 Days

Describe what you would do as a behavioral health provider, whether you would be seeking supervision or consultation, any difficulties you see with anyone else who is involved in the case, and what your prognosis is for the protagonist and why.
5. How would you work with the family in the film? And what is your prognosis for them? Why?
The total word count for this paper should be 1,000–1,200 words.

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