Link to the lesson plan and materials.

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Lesson Description: This lesson will use the Simpsons episode "No Disgrace Like Home" to facilitate a psychology lesson. The episode will allow students to observe a variety of family therapy methods, and comment on their effectiveness. It will also allow the students to make their own diagnosis of the problems that exist in the Simpsons family.

The Simpsons in Social Studies Lesson Plan

Author: Brian Adams

Subject: Psychology

Topics Covered: Psychotherapy, Family Therapy, Controversial Therapy styles


This lesson will introduce various forms of therapy to psychology students by showing parts of a The Simpsons episode. The clip, which lasts only about eight minutes features a few different types of therapy that are intended to fix the family’s problems. While the techniques may not be entirely accurate, they can be used as a starting point to discuss the larger concept of group or family therapy to students.

Lesson Essential Question(s)

· What kinds of therapy do psychologists use in practice? What benefits can each type serve to different individuals or groups of people?


· Pennsylvania currently does not have Psychology Standards.


· The Simpsons Season 1. Episode 7G04 “There’s No Disgrace Like Home”. (13:16-21:10)


· Introduction

o Students should be introduced to the key vocabulary necessary before getting into this lesson. To do this, have students define and create a picture to go with the following.

§ Key Vocab: Psychotherapy, Behavioral Modification, Group Therapy, Electro-Shock Therapy, Anger Management,

· Lesson

1) After the students have completed the introductory assignment, be sure to review the definitions with the class.

2) Announce to the students that the class will be watching a bit of The Simpsons today. Have volunteers share anything they know about the family in the show, including names, relationships, etc. Compile these in a list on the black/white/smart/etc board in the class.

3) Distribute a viewing guide to the students before showing the video clip. Explain that the students should watch for the types of therapy that Dr. Marvin Monroe uses on the family. They are to create a name for each type of therapy, and then list some pro’s and con’s for each type.

4) Once the students understand the assignment, show them the video. Be active with the “Pause button”. After the first type of therapy is used pause the episode and give the students a minute to write responses to this particular one. Pause the clip as needed throughout the rest of the video.

5) After the clip is done, make sure the students complete the rest of the Viewing Guide.

6) Have the students turn to the person next to them to share their answers with each other, they can add more pro’s and con’s if necessary.

7) Go over the video guide with the students and have student volunteers share their answers with the entire class. Ask students if they think that each type would be beneficial, why or why not.

1) Art Therapy – The family is asked to draw a picture of the source of their problems. Marge and the children draw Homer, while Homer draws another picture.

2) Aggression Therapy – The family is provided foam bats to use against each other. They are supposed get their aggression towards each other. It fails when the family takes off the foam.

3) Electro Therapy – The family is hooked up to electro-shock devices. It is supposed teach the family not to want to hurt each other. This fails when they go crazy. In the end this acts as a better aggression therapy for the family.

· Summary

o Students should create on a “Ticket Out The Door” an answer to the following questions:

4) What do you think is realistic about the video clip show?

5) What other types of therapy might the Simpsons family need to solve all of their problems?