Repression of Unwilling Thoughts and Feelings in Ordinary People

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In the movie “Ordinary People” the main character Conrad Jarrett, who is deeply troubled. He is having nightmares of his brother Buck dieing which causes him to have trouble sleeping. He also has trouble “connecting” to his mother and his friends at school. Almost a year ago the movie references Conrad almost succeeding killing himself by slashing his wrists vertically. He only survived because his dad was home and found him in time to call an ambulance. Myers and Dewall (2016), define psychoanalysis as “the patient’s free associations, resistances, dreams, and transferances- and the therapist’s interpretations of them- released previously repressed feelings, allowing the patient to gain self-insight.” (pg.571).

Which Dr. Berger manages to uncover Conrad’s thoughts and feelings that he had been repressing. Conrad had repressed his feelings toward his mother for not loving him the way she had loved Buck, and he was also angry at Buck for not hanging onto the boat. He felt survivors guilt, which only got better with Dr.Berger’s help. Myer and Dewall (2016), also defines active listening as an “empathic listening in which the listener echoes, restates, and clarifies.” (pg. 573). Each of Dr. Berger’s therapy sessions in the movie allows Conrad to talk, but he is occasionally interrupted to be asked specific questions or to clarify what Conrad had said. In the movie Conrad blows up at his mom after talking about quitting swimming.

Dr. Berger listens to Conrad and goes over the main arguments of the story before Corad continues. Conrad’s anxiety was largely caused by the suppressed feelings he had. Dr. Berger lets Conrad know that he needs to quit blaming himself for everything and his father also told him the same thing at the end of the movie. Dr. Berger also encouraged Conrad to see that he was not the same person he was when he tried to off himself. Even though Conrad was able to overcome all of these obstacles, his mother was not. She is unable to express love toward her son and husband. Calvin (the dad) finally stands up to her and she leaves. Leaving her husband and son together. By Calvin finally talking to her, he releases his repressed feelings. At the end of the movie you can see the loving relationship they have and that will be good for both of them moving on from all the repressed feelings they had at the beginning of the movie.

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