Film: Fight Club

Clinical Title: Capitalism, alienation, and empowerment: Exploring issues of addiction and community in a dystopian cult classic

Presenter:  Kristi Schroeder, LSW, CADC & Leslie Stickler, MSS, LSW
Date:  February 23, 2020
Time:  12:30pm-4:00pm  | 2 CEs
Location: TBD (Exact location will be emailed to you once you RSVP.)

“Fight Club” is the story of a man’s search for meaning in a modern society characterized by materialism and alienation. The narrator (played by Edward Norton) works as an insurance adjustor, assigning monetary value to personal tragedies, and owns a stylish condo where he just can’t sleep. Then he meets a charismatic soap dealer (played by Brad Pitt) on an airplane. What ensues is a journey of self-discovery that spans numerous themes at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of social work practice. When the narrator is denied medication for his insomnia, he starts frequenting support groups for people with life-threatening illnesses and finds solace between Bob’s breasts (played by Meat Loaf). Eventually, the narrator’s addiction to pain escalates into full-on fist fights in an underground boxing club and an ultimate act of self-inflicted violence that may or may not set him free. At the mezzo level, Fight Club illustrates both the clinical value and challenges inherent in group processes. And at the macro level, the film encourages us to interrogate organizations and movements that purport to address social problems while reproducing systems of oppression. The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club. We will also explore the role and significance of the only female character in the movie, Marla Singer (played by Helena Bonham Carter), and the lack of explicit attention to race and ethnicity.



  1. Attendees will discuss functional aspects of addiction as a coping strategy for psychological pain and as a source of identity, community, and/or purpose.
  2. Attendees will identify ways in which the film illustrates the four stages of group development as described by existential psychiatrist, Irvin Yalom.
  3. Attendees will analyze the ways in which the anarchist organization, Fight Club, offers members a sense of belonging and meaning while reproducing systems of oppression.
  4. Attendees will explore issues of racism and sexism in the world of Fight Club.

About the Presenters:
Kristi Schroeder, LSW, CADC has extensive experience in the treatment of addictions. She graduated from Fordham University with her MSW in 2018 and earned her addiction counseling certification while working in a treatment clinic in NYC. Kristi currently works as a substance abuse counselor at a methadone clinic in Montgomery County and serves as coordinator of PSCSW’s Recent Grad Subcommittee. In her spare time, she enjoys learning about holistic and alternative approaches to wellness and long walks in the Wissahickon.

Leslie Stickler, MSS, LSW, has worked in various social work roles at both macro and clinical levels of practice. Most recently, she worked as an in-home family therapist for adolescents who have engaged in problematic sexual behaviors. Leslie graduated from Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research in 2009 and currently serves as coordinator of PSCSW’s Agency Practice Subcommittee. She is passionate about travel, art, and animals.

Participants who attend this program must be present for its entirety in order to get the continuing education credits. (Please print this email and keep in your file along with your CE in case you are audited.)

Cost: No charge for PSCSW members to attend; $10 for non-members, who are strongly encouraged to come see how much fun PSCSW is! There is a $10 fee for a CE certificate.

Cancellation Policy:
PSCSW Members: There is a $5 non refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program.

Non Members: There is a $10 non refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program.

No refund will be issued if less than 48 hours notice is given.

This program is presented and hosted by PSCSW members. Both the presenter and host put a lot of time and preparation to make sure that attendees are receiving a wonderful program and feel welcome. Just as in your professional life when someone cancels last minute, it has an impact on you. Please be cognizant of this when you register for this program.

Continuing Education Credits:
FOR PENNSYLVANIA SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS, AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS: This program is approved for credits for professional workshops sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social Work Association listed in Section 47.36 of Title 49, Chapter 47 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for credits for professional workshops for marriage & family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).

FOR NEW JERSEY SOCIAL WORKERS:  This program is approved for clinical credits. Attendance at programs or courses given at state and national social work association conferences, where the criteria for membership is an academic degree in social work, are a valid source of continuing education credit (N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(c)4).

  • February 23, 2020
    12:30 pm - 4:30 pm
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