International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology

Wild Strawberries: Loss, Meaning, and the Art of Aging

Donald H. Laird, MS, NCC, LPC


This article discusses the relationship between cinema and existential psychotherapy. As each scene in a film is exposed, a character’s psyche is illuminated. So it can be said of the encounter between the client and the therapist: each moment an opportunity to elucidate the client’s psyche. Accordingly, a film concerning an elderly man’s search for meaning is a reflection of a journey that each of us must embark on, both professionally and personally.  This paper focuses on Director Ingmar Bergman’s film Wild Strawberries as an illustration for the therapeutic encounter. The paper examines Bergman’s film in the context of the psychosocial and cultural questions that challenge our aging population, and how some of these issues may be explored in the therapeutic setting. It argues that as therapists we must be mindful to the needs of our older clients, without being patronizing, and to further our acceptance of growing older in a culture that values the pursuit of youth above all else.

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