The Harry Potter series is probably my favourite movie franchise ever.
You could think otherwise, I’m not going to judge you, but Harry Potter grew up with me.
Before today, I never thought of writing an article related to Harry Potter until finding out one of my clients is a fellow Potterhead. We ended up “geeking” out on Harry Potter and role-played a scene from the first movie. That was by far the most interesting experience of rapport building I had. Upon some research, I found that many elements of the story reveal the reality behind mental health and therapy.
Mirror of Erised
In the first book/movie, we were introduced to the Mirror of Erised. “Erised” spelled backwards is Desire. The letter engraved on the mirror said, “I show not your face but your heart’s desire”. The mirror showed Harry what he wanted the most. However, Dumbledore warned Harry not to look for the mirror. On the one hand, Dumbledore probably has his cheeky plans. On another, I think it teaches us a lesson about our desires. Each of us has our own dreams, aspirations, and goals. You might not realise it now, but it is there within you. Discovering and understanding our dreams is important, but it is also equally important not to fixate on the goals and live in the dream. Take actions and make plans (like S.M.A.R.T. goals) to make the dreams a reality.
Bully and Support
Throughout the series, Harry had been through abuse and bullying by his own family and his classmates (Draco Malfoy) and teacher (Severus Snape). However, fortunately, he also had support from his friends and teachers to help him alleviate the pain that he was suffering. Often, the line between bullying and support is thin. One difference is the words that come out of one’s mouth. As Dumbledore once said, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”
Always be aware of your words. While it might not be your intention to hurt someone, it could inflict pain on others. Always be kind with your words. You never know who needs the kindness you have to offer. You might save someone’s life just for showing kindness and compassion through your words. Put “Are you ok” in your dictionary and start changing lives.
Boggarts are creatures that take the form of our deepest fear. Luckily, Prof. Remus Lupin taught us that the best way to manage these fears is not to run away from them. Instead, change our perspective and face them, make them less scary over time, make them “riddikulus”.
Dementors and Patronus Charm
Dementors suck the happiness out of anyone they attack, leaving victims cold, numb, and hopeless. Dementors are basically like depression; individuals who suffer from clinical depression might feel numb, sad, empty, and hopeless. However, there are ways to protect us from our own dementors, that is, of course, through the use of the Patronus charm. “Expecto Patronum”, probably my favourite spell. Just cause it sounds cool yelling that out, don’t judge me. Patronus charm involves remembering our happiest memories to fight dementors. Always be connected with your loved ones, remember all the happy moments in life, and appreciate all the small things you have.
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest times, if one only remembers to turn on the light,” We all have inner light within us. We can either ignore it and let external events affect us, or we could choose to harness that light. Learn to look at the positives and persevere.
Prof. Sybill Trelawney’s Predictions
Prof. Trelawney has made many predictions about people’s lives. Most of the time, she predicts catastrophising events. However, as we see throughout the story, few of them came true. Many of us think like her; we expect the worst to happen, we are anxious about the worst-case scenarios. However, in reality, few of those predictions actually happens. Next time you are anxious about something, ask yourself what you are worried about, and ask yourself how likely it is actually going to happen. When things do go the way you wish they would, remember them, don’t forget them, so that you know it could end positively instead of catastrophically next time you are in the same situation.
Lastly, the most important lesson that Voldemort failed to understand is Love. Love is often what people need to find the strength and hope they need to face all the things life throws at them. If giving love equals the ability to use magic, then none of us are muggles. Use the magic in you to love yourself and others.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from mental illnesses or trauma. Show them love, support them, and encourage them to seek professional help.
Author: Christopher Lee, B Psych Science (Hons); Masters of Psych (Clinical); MAPS
Christopher Lee is a Brisbane psychologist with a keen interest in helping teenagers and young adults with trauma, behavioural and relational issues. In addition to speaking English, Cantonese and Mandarin fluently, Christopher uses evidence-based therapy techniques such as CBT, ACT, EFT, and DBT.
To make an appointment with Christopher Lee try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology Loganholme on (07) 3067 9129 or Vision Psychology Wishart on (07) 3088 5422.