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Library seminar examines psychological impact of holiday movies

Few of us can live up to the perfect images portrayed in media.

Few of us can live up to the perfect images portrayed in media.

Learn how those joyous holiday movies may be feeding your seasonal stress at a free library program presented by clinical psychotherapist and author Dr. Susan Weitzman for the Vernon Area Public Library, Lincolnshire, Ill., on November 17 at 7 p.m.

Using clips from popular films such as “Hannah and her Sisters,” “Holiday Inn,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” "Miracle on 34th Street," and “When Harry Met Sally,” Weitzman illustrates how our (often unrealistic) expectations for the holidays are influenced by culture and media. Because of their immersive nature, movies may fill in gaps in our personal experience. Their internalization shapes our beliefs about the meaning of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s—and not always to our benefit.

But cinema can inspire as well as punish, says Weitzman. Holiday movies such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol” carry a message that can serve as a positive and redemptive model: that what is really important in life is family, friends and love.

The library program is free and open to all, but registration is required. Call 224-543-1485 or register online at

Susan Weitzman, Ph.D., LCSW, is a psychotherapist, educator, researcher, national lecturer, and author. She served on the clinical staff of the Department of Outpatient Adult Psychiatry at the University of Chicago Hospital for 12 years and taught for many years at the University of Chicago’s Graham School for Continuing Studies and SSA’s Professional Development Program, as well as at Loyola University’s School of Social Work in Chicago.

The Vernon Area Public Library District serves a population of 41,000 within a 32-square-mile area that includes all or parts of Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire, Long Grove, Vernon Hills, Prairie View, Riverwoods and unincorporated Vernon Township. For more information about the library and its services, visit

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