"A River Runs Through it" and Mental Health

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Michael Hinkle, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. Upton O Blind hog fisherman

    Posts: 2,158
    out of state now
    Ratings: +211 / 0
    Heres the way I see it: The movie "A River Runs Through It" has several messages. First it presents a family and it's struggles. The family is a very conservative, religious one. It's daily life is consistent and predictable. (That is one goal for inpatient mental health treatment facilities: consistent, predictable so the clients can stabilize). The oldest son does things the way they are supposed to be done according to family norm. He works hard at doing the "right" thing. He manages through struggles but trudges on. The second son takes a different approach. (This pattern is very common in real life). Anyway, the second son seeks the excitement and unpredictable lifestyle. He doesn't seek to follow in his older brother's footsteps. He lives his own path, goes for the rush. He has a gambling problem, alcohol problem, and yet is very intelligent, talented and more personable that the oldest son. (It's also possible your clients relate closely with the second son; many of them are the "black sheep" of their families, too). The second son dies a premature death in his pursuit of that "rush" or drive. The one common thread the males in that family has is fly fishing.

    The oldest son seeks fly fishing on the river for solace and fishes the traditional way. The younger son seeks the river as a challenge to beat and he does it in his own way (reference his style of fly casting). The movies ends with a scene of the older son, the last of his family, also widowed, old, and tired still seeking peace from fly fishing. It's the last consistent part of his life that he has. The water (river) is an important part but notice they don't just sit on the banks of the river and chat. They fly fish. Most men typically have to be doing something, not just sit and meditate. In my opinion we are "human doings" not "human beings". I think it's about fly fishing and only someone who truly loves fly fishing will get the full impact of that movie.

    Now, if you're tying flies and your clients watch, well, you might be the first adult male in their lives that isn't going to beat the crap out of them for no reason or for any reason. You're not going to sexually abuse them. Maybe you engage them, and listen, you pay attention, you care. Maybe you might present a role model figure of a man who is productive, consistent, and predictable.

    I hope you know that your clients are some of the most challenging. I also hope you will frequently seek your own river for solace and balance. The mental health profession burns people out faster than anything else except maybe bomb disposal work..............

    Best wishes and tight lines,

    An almost burned out mental health professional (now retired)
  2. Kyle Smith Active Member

    Posts: 1,927
    Bozeman, MT
    Ratings: +247 / 0
    When I tell people I fly fish, I enjoy likening myself to Brad Pitt. Who doesn't have a man-crush (thanks a lot whatever football analyst invented this metrosexual term) on Brad Pitt. I will always love A River Runs Through It, the movie that made me hate worms when I was 11.
  3. jcnewbie Member

    Posts: 854
    Kent, Washington
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Karl...,

    Well said, amigo! :thumb: Now you've forced me to check out your website, which I will soon but hafta go beddy-bye now.

    Did you catch any Pinks today?

    Michael....

    Good work that you are doing, I commend you, sir! Hope that many others here will be inspired as well...."so much to do, so little time!"

    Jc :)
  4. Jeff Hale B.I.G.F.F.

    Posts: 641
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Ratings: +27 / 0
    Michael-

    I am very impressed with the work you are doing. As a highschool teacher of 14 years and still counting, I know how demanding it can be to try and teach kids mathematics. But when I think about the HUGE job you are charged with, it's overwhelming. Working with those types of kids makes you a saint in my book. You are very, very important to those kids and to the reparation of their lives. I hope you know that you make a big difference. Strong work, man. Jeff
  5. Jim Welch Veni, Vidi, Fishi

    Posts: 82
    Renton, WA
    Ratings: +11 / 0
    My son has high anxiety borderlining on ADHD or ADD. When he was first diagnosed, we did considerable study on this, the parts that make sense with me are that the kids will focus on what ever activity has the most stimulus, given a choice between watching an action packed movie (Transformers, Spider Man etc...) or a romantic comedy (Bull Durham) they will always pick the more exciting one, they will spend hours playing X-Box. My son could not handle the patience of baseball, but soccer...he took to it like a Lab takes to water.

    So we just started this year on fly fishing, he loves it. With flyfishing, you are always moving, always analyzing and anticipating, and then every-once-in-a-while WHAMO, you have a fish on that gives you one of those wide silly grins.

    We salmon fish and typically i will find him snoozing in the front of the boat, its too boring, takes too much patience, but flyfishing, that demands input and output. I can't wait to see him when he gets a silver on his line or a SRCutt.

    I also have a theory that we have a genetic imprint to resonate with the speeds and sounds of moving water (no evidence other than spacing out for chunks of time listening to the rush of a river), it calls to us like a long lost friend.

    I really like the saying one of the WFF posters have on their signature, it goes something like "Some people fish all their lives without realizing that its not the fish they are doing it for" or something like that. Maybe its that thing these kids are latching on to?
  6. colton rogers wishin' i was fishin'

    Posts: 874
    gig harbor, washington
    Ratings: +10 / 0
    i love to watch someone really good cast! it is amazing to watch the loops turn over and the little effort that there putting into the casts.
  7. Michael Hinkle (stinkle)

    Posts: 126
    ebrg, wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    hey guys,

    just wanted to let you know that after posting this and getting such a great response, and after a very long and difficult week at work, I am going to do some more research and look into starting some sort of outreach program for kids that struggle with the things we have discussed. I will keep you updated as to what is going on, and more than likely ask some of you guys for advice.

    Cheers!
  8. Michael Thompson the flavor of BADFISH

    Posts: 536
    camano island wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    first off Mr. Hinkle, you rock! and good on ya for what you are doing.
    second even if an outreach program doesnt work, anything you bring into your class that has to do with fly fishing would be a great benefit to those kids, even if its just to let them know there is an outside world from school that is healthy and wholesome, away from city streets and bad influences. fly fishing teaches you to teach yourself and rely on yourself and some of those kids might be looking through a window at river miles away from class as their escape rather than drugs or a continued cycle of life that hasn't been kind to them.
  9. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,429
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,604 / 2
    I have an extreme case of ADD, and wasn't diagnosed until I was 20. But now that you mention it, the only times in my life I can say I was very depressed was when I was living in Fl (2003-2007) and was fishing far less than when I lived here. It's really one of the only things that calms me down and gets me to feeling "normal."

    And luckily I have a woman that understands this :)
  10. SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    Posts: 1,827
    Roy, WA
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    Michael-
    they want to know how to be saner, and they know what keeps you sane.

    Excellent casting requires a focus and mind-body coordination that they envy and crave, and most people who watch an excellent caster at work are hypnotized, for good reason.
    Can't remember offhand if it was Gary or Jason Borger who was the "shadow caster" in that movie.
  11. Upton O Blind hog fisherman

    Posts: 2,158
    out of state now
    Ratings: +211 / 0
    Fly rod therapy: good for you, good for them. Good idea. Please provide regular reports and updates. I really am interested in hearing how it goes.
  12. Leroy Laviolet Aint no nookie like chinookie

    Posts: 995
    do'n it 4 the chinookie
    Ratings: +0 / 0
  13. tythetier Fish Slayer

    Posts: 1,535
    WASHOUGAL, WA
    Ratings: +40 / 0
    I totaly took up fly fishing because of my ADHD!!! I could not sit and stare at a bobber anymore!! I had to do somthing!! Whipping the fly rod around is a great way for somone that has to be busy to take up fishing.
    Just dont get somone with ADHD onto winter steelhead fly fishing..... Does not go too good for me!