Stephanie Fornasier is a psychologist working in disability inclusion, a passionate mental health advocate and huge movie buff. She started Psychocinematic as a new mum, wanting a medium to advocate for better representation on screen of mental health and disability issues, as well as of her profession itself. Stephanie’s “film student come medical doctor” husband Michael started out as cohost, but he now takes a backseat as she is regularly joined by guests with lived experience.
Keep reading to get to know Stephanie better!
Tell us about your podcast in 3 sentences or less!
Psychocinematic analyses depictions of mental illness and disability in popular film and TV shows, through the lens of a psychologist and guests with live experience. We may ruin your favourite movie but we try to do it with a bit of humour, entertainment and a lesson or two.
What’s a quote or piece of advice that you try to live by?
From little things big things grow
One thing on your bucket list:
Write a book
What was your first job?
Working at an icecream shop in a shopping center
Any unusual hobbies?
Nothing unusual sadly- see live music, puzzle, create more projects for myself!
Biggest Pet Peeve
Being told “it’s not that deep bro”
What inspired you to start your podcast?
Wanting to promote inclusion and smashing stigma through an entertaining medium, something that combined my passion for psychology with my love of film and tv.
Tell us more about your work/life outside of your podcast.
I work part time in an organization promoting and implementing disability inclusion in schools. The rest of my time is spent being mum to my 2 year old son and spending time in Melbourne with family- seeing movies, bands, and lots and lots of playgrounds.
What is your show’s USP?
It’s the only show that not only dives deep on the psychological aspects of movies and shows but features guests with lived experience to tackle whether the representation is accurate, stereotypical, helpful or harmful.
What is one of the greatest challenges you have personally faced with your podcast?
How much time it takes! I love it but it is very busy and sometimes very stressful.
What was one of your favorite episodes you’ve ever done? Why does it stand out?
I have so many- but I loved having Eric Garcia to talk about Atypical- a really special moment to have such a huge guest on the show! (Episode 25) it was so good to get his take on autistic representation and clarify my own thoughts about it from my neurotypical perspective.
What is one thing you have accomplished with your podcast thus far that you are most proud of?
Friends! So many new wonderful friends, which has been such a sweet bonus. I’ve also learnt heaps myself and have got the benefit of applying my constant learning to my job, and helping the podcast evolve.
What is one major milestone that you would like to accomplish through your podcast in the next year?
I have a list of things I want to accomplish! I would love to get more listeners and guest hosts. Properly set up a website and take some publicity photos. It would be fantastic to crack the top charts in Apple one day, or even be featured.
What is a trend or development in the podcast industry that you foresee happening in the next few years?
More indie podcasts getting more cred!!! Less white boys in baseball caps flooding the podcast channels. More women of colour and disability owning the medium!
What is one of the best pieces of podcast-related advice you’ve ever received & why?
I didn’t really receive any when I started. But a good piece of advice is to be prepared, and commit to putting a lot of work in!
What is some of the worst podcasting advice you’ve received?
Just wing it!
What are some of your favorite women-hosted podcasts (besides your own)?
So many! Reinvention Rebels, Should They Watch It, Every Rom Com, Dear Clementine, Hi-Stories, Desperately Seeking the 80’s, the Bechdel Cast, You’re Wrong About, American Hysteria, You Must Remember This… ok I’ll stop!
Can you tell us about a time when you took a huge risk/did something you were scared to do, and it totally paid off?
I asked an upcoming actress and highly prolific disability advocate to be interviewed on the podcast – and I’m about to go do it now!
Are there any great podcast-related resources you love that you would like to share?
Podcast Twitter has been incredible, and I’ve just joined the podcast Discord which has been fab. Have really loved the podswap initiative, and the use of goodpods to get your show out there. Also pop filters!
How do you feel you’re making a positive impact and generating change through your podcast?
I’m challenging common narratives and tropes around disability and mental illness that are perpetuated by media. Asking people to think critically about what they see on screen and consider whether it should be shown another way.
For more from Stephanie, check out the links below!