Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tuesday Movie Quote: "See ya, Bo Peep."

Everyone remembers the "It's not your fault" scene from Good Will Hunting, but I prefer this one, which shows some damn good confrontational psychotherapy:



This is the other great psychotherapy scene from that movie:


The most real lines are at 1:45 to 2:01.


Suppose, then, you are a small child, never wanted by either of your cold parents, in a hostile, conflicted home. No one cares about your survival, whether you live or were somehow gone or just dropped dead; that is, no one bonds with you, and you hardly bond with anyone. The home is always a dangerous place, with family members who are repeatedly involved in various manipulations or risky scams. Your underaroused and non-GSR-responsive system just gets more and more turned off. How are you going to develop warm and deeply loving relationships as an adult? To hell with that, caring about someone is how you get hurt. Life is just a drifting from one brief moment of feeling alive to—eventually—another with lots of tuned-off boredom in between. Congratulations, you have adapted!
The genetic component would then predispose an increased vulnerability to experiences that dampen such arousal markers as the deficient GSR responding and lowered cortisol levels. The absence or limitation of substantial bonding in combination with the high level of stress in the home would thus maximize the long-term reduction of emotional arousal. The alternative (with a lesser genetic contribution) would be a "burnout" sequence in which caring only gets one hurt again if not still more deeply since you "should" have seen it coming and never let yourself care in the first place. The widely prevalent complaint of boredom is the subjective report of the emotional turnoff, and occasions of excitement seeking are the momentary compensations for the prolonged dead periods. This turning off is not a conscious decision, obviously not in the infant. However, to feed back the client's own words, "When we had that fight, that was when I knew the marriage was doomed," and "When the boss blew up at me that time, I knew I wasn't long for that job," can prompt the client to recognize points in time when he or she ceased to care. Thus, when confronted in therapy with the turning off of caring as a personal adaptation, the moderately "high 4" client is surprisingly able to appreciate what is happening. Within life-circumstantial limits, the person can gradually be taught to avoid the occasions that cause him or her to turn off.

Alex Caldwell, Ph.D.

 




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