Freud, Bethlem and mental health - student reviews of a two-day A Level Psychology trip
Sigmund Freud Museum – Amelie A and Marina B (Year 13)
On the first day of our trip, we visited the Sigmund Freud Museum in London. We were given an initial introduction to the house and an overview of Freud’s work by our guide. It was very interesting to hear the opinion of a professional psychoanalyst on the hugely influential nature of Freud’s theories on the current work of psychotherapists, and this also provided useful background information to contextualize Freud’s work and add depth to our understanding of the A Level course. We then were able to explore the house and its exhibits, including Freud’s own false jaw, which was certainly the most unusual find of the visit! We then regrouped and gave our thoughts and questions to our guide. This gave us the opportunity to explore and discuss Freud’s work in a way which the condensed nature of the A Level content does not always leave room for. Personally, this was my favourite part of the trip, as we were able to immerse ourselves in the fascinating concept of the unconscious, which was a major reason for my initial interest in psychology. It also allowed me to make links between subjects, as the idea of a revolution in the way human behaviour was explained and perceived at the beginning of the 20th Century is particularly relevant to my study of modernism as part of the A Level English Literature course.
Theatre show – Life of Pi – Amelia A (Year 13) and Annika S (Year 12)
Amelia A - On Monday evening, we had the amazing opportunity to watch ‘Life of Pi’ at The West End. The play is about an Indian boy who is stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with four other survivors – a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a Royal Bengal tiger, named Richard Parker. I honestly thought the play couldn’t be any better than the original film; however, I was very wrong! The puppetry was amazing and so was every actor on stage. This was certainly a highlight of the trip for me, and I would 100% recommend it. Watching the play through a psychoanalytical lens meant interpreting the story through the perspective of Pi’s conscious and subconscious mind. Pi is left all alone to cope with the new reality of being stranded on a ship, as well as just having lost his family. So, his brain creates an alternative reality throughout the play, one that allows him to survive in the middle of the ocean until he finds land. Overall, I’d give this play a solid 10/10, for both its incredible performance and for the psychology that goes on behind it, too!
Annika S - The theatre show 'Life of Pi' was fascinating to watch, especially in relation to the visit to the Freud Museum earlier that day and the contents of our psychology course, as it depicts how the mind can alter memories to make them easier to handle and more approachable. Pi, the main character, is interviewed as the only survivor of a ship wreckage and then tells his story about how he survived, which includes a Royal Bengal tiger, a hyena, a zebra and an orangutan as further survivors. Only at the end of the play does the reality of the journey become clear. Overall, it was not only a wonderful performance, but also a great real-world application of our psychology course.
Bethlem Museum of the Mind – Victoria G – Year 12
I thought that the Bethlem Museum of the Mind was a fascinating trip, as we learnt about how mental illnesses were identified and how the range of mental illnesses grew from only two possible diagnoses to more than 200. The art that was presented was also deeply touching and very relatable.