The premise of this Amazon Prime series is simple: nine people go to «Tranquilum», a peaceful and luxurious resort in California, which promises healing and a change in their lives in a few days. But almost nothing is as it seems. As a mental health and psychological wellness professional, there are many reasons why I recommend this series.

First of all, because of the characters which are all very well designed: they are all people with very different backgrounds and different life stories. Among them I would highlight a family that has not yet overcome the terrible grief following the suicide of their eldest son three years earlier, a best-selling writer in the dumps both professionally and personally, a depressed former elite athlete, bitter and addicted to painkillers, an insecure and angry recently divorced woman, a young couple newly rich thanks to winning the lottery living a very shallow life. Also the character who is the director of the center, Masha (played by Nicole Kidman), shows us a very complex person, who faces serious traumas from her own past. In general, through the experiences of the characters who come to Tranquilum in search of healing and improvement, we see very serious problems such as mourning for the loss of a child, suicide, loneliness, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
I also recommend it for the moment we are living in.

The growing need for mental health services is a clear trend in Spain and in the rest of the world and that undoubtedly has been increased by the effects of the pandemic. For this reason, I believe that “Nine Perfect Strangers” is a series that, aside from its undeniable cinematographic qualities (it has a first-class cast, a fast-paced script, and manages to move in a rather crazy but always successful way between comedy, drama and a thriller) is seen with different eyes today, since it hits close to home for many people. After all, the pandemic has made visible the large number of people who suffer and need psychological or psychiatric care. Also why isolation, loneliness and suffering have increased and in the series, despite the wrong environment, the protagonists initially experience something similar to support thanks to the fact that they are sharing their experiences and traumas with other human beings who have suffered and need help. The impact of sharing our experiences with other people is well recognised as a healing process in group therapy, although the way this is done in «Tranquilum» makes any healing and improvement impossible.

Among the few unorthodox therapeutic methods used in Tranquilum is the use of hallucinogenic drugs. Without a doubt, it is a much more niche trend in the real world, but it is not non-existent or new for this reason. Although there is debate in the academic world about the scientific evidence that in very controlled contexts and in very small doses, the consumption of certain substances, under the supervision and guidance of a qualified mental health professional, can help in the therapeutic process, the series shows us the dangers of the uncontrolled use of hallucinogenic substances with supposed curative purposes when it is done in excessive doses, without supervision or with the supervision of the wrong person, who is not qualified. In general, in everything related to the use of hallucinogenic substances, prudence is what is called for.

Finally, in the series we also see reflected an increasingly widespread trend in many areas of life but especially dangerous in mental health: the search for quick, almost miraculous solutions to our problems. The lack of time in modern life encourages solutions of this type and it is precisely where professional intrusiveness and pseudoscience sneak in, profiting on the suffering of people, promising the impossible, even without having the qualifications or the knowledge suitable as a professional.

In the end, the characters (actually victims) instead of going to a psychologist or psychiatrist and facing a slow but effective path, prefer to believe the promises of a guru with hidden pretensions who tells them that she will heal them in just a few days. They accept being drugged in an uncontrolled way to face their pain, fears and obsessions. For all this, in addition to being an excellent audiovisual product, intelligent entertainment, «Nine Perfect Strangers» is a series that highlights, in contrast to the dangers of pseudoscience and «alternative» treatments, the importance of the work that mental health and emotional well-being professionals perform, more necessary than ever in the face of the great demand for mental health that the population requests.

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