Pop Psych 101 | Mental Health in Pop Culture

61 EpisodesProduced by Pop Psych 101

Pop Psych 101 is a weekly mental health podcast hosted by Therapist, Ryan Engelstad, and advocate, Mike Graham. In an effort to educate and normalize, they talk candidly about mental illness through the lens of books, movies and television. Common pop culture mental health tropes are analyzed, and t… read more

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#40 - Ethics of The Shrink Next Door (Podcast)

July 22nd, 2019


When Journalist, Joe Nocera, realized that his Hampton's neighbor, Ike, had suddenly moved, he knew things were off. However, there was no way he …

+ Can Ryan Disarm Mike's Bullying?

July 19th, 2019


Ryan has an example of how to handle yourself if a bully is making fun of you. He offers two examples: How to, and, how not to. Mike wasn't the best …

#39 - Bullying and Billy Hargrove in Stranger Things

July 16th, 2019


Up Top:

Ryan challenges Mike with a news story about mystics and psychics. A larger percentage of people are seeking out this kind of "Magick" than are going to therapy or to a psychiatrist. Mike offers that if it finds …

+ Over-Analyzing The History Of Stigma

July 12th, 2019


Bonus Episode:
This week's main episode talked about a time-traveling alien, and that got us thinking. How was mental-illness, especially diagnosis that present symptoms of hallucinations, looked at throughout history as …

#38 - Fighting Intergalactic Mental-Illness-Monsters in Doctor Who (TV Show)

July 8th, 2019


Trigger Warning: Conversations About Suicide

We had a member post a beautiful clip from, of all things, the TV show Doctor Who. The episode is called …

+ Embarrassing Teenage Stories Of The 90s

July 4th, 2019


After being hit with a wall of nostalgia while watching the movie Mid90s, written and directed by Jonah Hill, Mike and Ryan take a long, and very embarrassing look at their youth in the 90s. 

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#37 - Adolescent Mental Health in Mid90s

July 1st, 2019


Trigger Warning: Self-Harm

This one brings a lot of nostalgia to the table. We're talking skateboarding, baggy shirts, small parties, and the Mid90s. Jonah Hill's the mid90s is an intense look at the life of a 13 year …

+ Are Millennials Actually Killing Big Cereal?

June 27th, 2019


Millennials are having a big effect on big business, and no industry is safe; especially cereal. Ryan and Mike play a game of "Killing or Saving" where Ryan asks Mike about an industry and Mike has to guess if …

#36 - The Diagnosis Trap in Brain On Fire (Netflix Original)

June 24th, 2019


After missing last week's episode due to some struggle with depression and an day in the ER after experiencing Olfactory Hallucination, or, phantom smells, Mike is back. Wanting to specifically talk about how mental …

+ Press Conference in the West Wing

June 20th, 2019


Mike and Ryan have to figure out who they are, where they are, and why they are having a press conference based on clues given by the reporters in the audience. As you can see, Pop Psych 101 continues to deliver Grade A

#35 - PTSD in Welcome To Marwen (Movie)

June 17th, 2019


On April 8, 2000, Mark Hogancamp was attacked by five men and left for dead outside of a bar in Kingston, NY. After nine days in a coma, he awoke to …

#34 - Mental health and the presidency in The West Wing (TV Show)

June 3rd, 2019


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This week Mike gets a title upgrade and talks about how he is feeling. He is currently struggling and wants to …

+ Heads Up with Game of Thrones

May 30th, 2019


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We play a game of heads up with the characters from Game of Thrones. As usual, Mike is much worse at this than Ryan

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Music: Kevin …

#33 - Family Dynamics in Game of Thrones (TV Series)

May 28th, 2019


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Now that the dust has settled from the series finale of the biggest show on earth, we decided it was the perfect time to take a look at Westeros. We take on our biggest episode yet …

+ Mental Health News

May 23rd, 2019


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Ryan has some mental health news he'd like to share. Mike reacts

News Stories:

  1. Psilocybin, or "magic …

#32 - The Gang Gets Analyzed in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (TV Show)

May 20th, 2019


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On a Monday, we tackle the gang from Philadelphia: Mac, Charlie, Frank, Dennis and Dee. This show is obviously …

+ Two Truths, One Deception

May 16th, 2019


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After talking about deception in the Netflix Series, You, we take a stab at deceiving each other by playing the game Two Truths One Deception. 

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#31 - "So You're Dating A Murderer" in Netflix's You (Series)

May 13th, 2019


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After several requests, Mike and Ryan take a stab at the Netflix series, You. Pun intended. Very aware of the subject matter in this series, they take a light …

+ The College ABC's

May 9th, 2019


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After our episode covering the Netflix documentary, Take Your Pills, Ryan and Mike pose as students and try to …

+ Speak With Kazoos

May 2nd, 2019


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Mike finally talks Ryan into doing a segment with Kazoos. Ryan regrets agreeing to do this. 

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#29 - Finding Your Voice in Speak: The Graphic Novel

April 29th, 2019


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Ryan and Mike acknowledge some of the feedback they received about last week's episode on Autism. For this episode on Speak, they look …

#28 - Autism & Caretaking in Rain Man (Movie)

April 15th, 2019


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The Show

After a short conversation about the "Top Ten Happiest Countries In The World", Mike and Ryan breakdown …

+ Is Punch Drunk Love Actually A Superman Origin Story?

April 11th, 2019


On this week's bonus episode, Ryan and Mike over-analyze the movie "Punch Drunk Love", and try to say it's actually Superman's origin story.


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#27 - Social Anxiety & Anger in Punch Drunk Love (Movie)

April 8th, 2019


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The Show

Mike embarrasses him self with an impersonation of Adam Sandler. The guys give a little background into …

+ Instant Expert Edition

March 28th, 2019


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Deleted Scenes: Instant Expert Edition

We discussed how experts can sometimes get diagnosis wrong in our episode on John …

+ I'm Too Old For This Stuff

March 21st, 2019


Deleted Scenes

In a scene from Mindhunter that didn't get airtime, two grizzled old veteran cops are way too old for common mental health myths

Fund …

#24 - Psychopathy VS. Sociopathy in Mindhunter (Netflix Series)

March 18th, 2019


Episode 24

Psychopathy VS. Sociopathy in Netflix’s Mindhunter

  • Mike and Ryan offer opinions on the glorification of serial killers in pop culture. …

#23 - Identity & Shame in Hannah Gadsby's Nanette (Netflix Stand-Up Comedy Special)

March 11th, 2019



Episode 23

Identity and Shame in Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette

  • Ryan and Mike pause a moment to acknowledge that they are in fact straight white males, …

+ You Might Be A Drew-Dad

March 7th, 2019


To highlight our awareness of the shortcomings displayed by the character Drew in the Movie Tully, Mike and Ryan do some stand-up comedy, and lay …

#22 - Postpartum Depression in Tully (Movie)

March 4th, 2019



Episode 22
Postpartum Depression in Tully

In This Episode

  1. Mike is back! Bringing out the cavalry 
  2. Breakdown of the specifics of postpartum …

+ Emotional Roller Coaster

February 28th, 2019


Deleted Scenes

Another bit of fun for us here at Pop Psych 101. This time, Ryan sends Mike through a literal emotional roller coaster. Mike has to …

#21 - Childhood Depression in Inside Out (Movie)

February 25th, 2019


Childhood Depression in Inside Out

Episode 21

In This Episode:

  1. Special Guest Mxiety 
  2. Breakdown of the emotions in the film Inside Out
  3. Over …

+ Jackson Maine & Ally in a Scene Unseen

February 21st, 2019


Jackson Maine & Ally in a Scene Unseen

This was cut from Episode 20 - Codependency in A Star Is Born for time and because of silliness. 

Ryan and Mike wish they had seen the character Ally in a group session with …

#20 - Codependency in A Star Is Born (Movie)

February 18th, 2019



Episode 20
Codependency in A Star Is Born

In This Episode:

  1. Pop Psych’s musical background
  2. Breakdown of codependent relationships through the …

+ Will Mike Marry Jim Carrey?

February 14th, 2019


Based off our episode "#19 - Couples Counseling in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind"

Ryan names some of Jim Carrey's most iconic roles, and Mike …

#19 - Couples Counseling in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Movie)

February 11th, 2019



Episode 19

Couples Counseling in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

In This Episode:
  • In their 1st Valentine’s Day Special, Mike and Ryan …

+ Tidying Up With Obi Wan, Hermione, and Woody

February 7th, 2019


Trying some new stuff to break up some of the heavy subjects we talk about. Being that Ryan does Improv in real life, he introduces it to Mike for the first time. 

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#18 - Hoarding in Tidying Up With Marie Kondo (Netflix Series)

February 4th, 2019


Episode 18

In This Episode: Ryan gives his thoughts on a Dr. Zwig, who makes some serious claims about mental health and whether or not they are a “disease” We breakdown Tidying up, and look at the reasons why people …

+ Therapist Horror Stories

January 30th, 2019


 A Deleted scene from episode 017, Coping With Illnes in 50/50, Ryan and Mike tried a new segment out called "Mike Reacts". This time, Ryan reads Therapist horror stories to Mike and Mike...well her reacts to them. Very …

#17 - Coping With Illness in 50/50 (Movie)

January 28th, 2019


Episode 17

Coping With Illness in 50/50

In The Show:

  • Up Top: What is a mental health day? The Try Guys from Buzzfeed are taking a Mental Health …

#16 - Major Depressive Disorder in Frozen's Elsa (Character)

January 21st, 2019


Episode 16

Major Depressive Disorder in Frozen's Elsa (Character) // Episode 016

Intro: Mike and Ryan talk about the reaction to the recent Gillette Razor AD about Men's responsibilities. They discuss the reaction from …

+ Over-Analyzing: The Dark Office Edition

January 16th, 2019


Over-analyzing: The Dark Office Edition 

On the cutting room floor from this week's episode, Addiction in Beautiful Boy, is a segment we call …

#15 - Addiction in Beautiful Boy (Movie)

January 14th, 2019


Episode 15

Addiction in Beautiful Boy

Coming off an intense episode about eating disorder, Ryan and Mike jump right back into to the intensity with …

#14 - Anorexia Nervosa in Netflix's To The Bone (Movie)

January 7th, 2019


Episode 14

Anorexia Nervosa in Netflix's To The Bone 

Eating disorders--a subject that hits close to home for Pop Psych 101. Mike, gives a little background to his personal experience with an eating disorder, while …

#13 - Play Therapy in Mary Poppins (Musical)

December 31st, 2018


Episode 13

Play Therapy in Walt Disney's 1964 Classic, Mary Poppins.

  • Ryan and Mike open up with a discussion about SNL cast member, Pete Davidson, …

#12 - Chronic Embitterment in The Muppet Christmas Carol (Movie)

December 17th, 2018


Episode 12

Continuing our streak of Christmas and Holiday episodes, Ryan and Mike break down Scrooge Syndrome / Chronic Embitterment, otherwise known …

#11 - Surviving The Holidays: Listener Questions Answered (Christmas Special)

December 10th, 2018


Episode 11

One Therapist and One Patient answer listener questions about handling Holiday issues and stress. In this Christmas Special, Mike and Ryan …

#10 - Fakers in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Movie)

December 3rd, 2018


Episode 10

This week, Therapist Ryan Engelstad and Producer Mike Graham, breakdown the accuracy of the portrayal of Malingering (Faking Sick) in the Movie Ferris Bueller's Day off; Directed by John Hughes and Starring …

#9 - Psychiatric Hospitalization in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (Movie)

November 26th, 2018


Episode 9

An exciting day for Pop Psych 101. We have our first guest-host, Christine, EMT turned Nurse Practitioner, and Host of the popular Podcast, …

#8 - Grief in Stan Lee's Spider-Man (Character)

November 19th, 2018


Episode 8

In honor and in reflection of Stan Lee's passing we take a look at a common trope within superhero comics and movies: Grief. While many people throughout the world publicly grieve for this loss, we breakdown …

#7 - Paranoid Schizophrenia in A Beautiful Mind (Movie)

November 12th, 2018


Episode 7

In this episode Mike and Ryan talk about their trip to meet each other for the first time at Anchor podcast lab in New York City! They go …

#6 - PTSD in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (Book)

November 5th, 2018


Episode 6

This week is The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, a Novel by Stephen Chbosky. We have realized that all of our episodes tend to take on the feeling of the media we happen to be covering that week; this one is no …

#5 - Phobias in Stephen King's IT (Movie / TV Mini-Series)

October 29th, 2018


Episode 5

Halloween Special 2018 | Phobias in Stephen King's IT 

Ryan and Mike cover Phobias from the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King's IT, as well as some inspiration from the '90s mini-series. They talk about their …

#4 - Suicide & Intervention in 13 Reasons Why (Netflix Series)

October 22nd, 2018


Episode 4

13 Reasons Why, a teenage drama centered around a suicide and it's direct effect on the community and the high school in that community, …

#3 - Bi Polar Disorder in Silver Linings Playbook (Movie)

October 15th, 2018


Episode 3

This episode was recorded during Mental Health Awareness week, so the guys picked, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, a movie that hits home for …

#2 - Schizoid Personality Disorder in Lars & The Real Girl (Movie)

October 8th, 2018


Episode 2

Every Monday, Therapist Ryan Engelstad, and Producer Mike Graham, take an example from Pop Culture (i.e. Books, Movies, TV Shows) that …

#1 - Dissociative Identity Disorder in Fight Club (Movie)

October 1st, 2018


Episode 1

Therapist Ryan Engelstad, and Producer Mike Graham, premiere their new Mental Health Awareness Podcast ------- Pop Psych 101 takes a look …

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