Analysis of Psychological Concepts Presented in the Movie Good Will Hunting

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Analysis of Psychological Concepts Presented in the Movie Good Will Hunting

This essay will analyze the psychological concepts presented in “Good Will Hunting.” It will discuss how the film portrays issues such as trauma, therapy, intelligence, and emotional healing, and its accuracy and impact in representing psychological struggles. At PapersOwl too, you can discover numerous free essay illustrations related to Analysis.

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In the movie Good Will Hunting it tells the story about 20 year old, Will Hunting. Will grew up in a very poor neighborhood in South Boston and was orphaned at a very young age. He spent most of his years moving from very foster homes because of intensive abuse. His troubled upbringing led him to have a hard adult life where he spends most of his time drinking, partying with friends, and essentially wasting his talents.

Will works as a janitor at M.

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I.T, an institution for highly intelligent individuals. At the institution a renowned math intellectual, Professor Gerald Lambeau, posts a math theory that took him and many other mathematicians years to figure out. He challenges his students to figure it out in order to be published in a newspaper and to be in his good graces. One day while passing by the board Will miraculously solves two of the problems without hesitation. This stuns the students because even they could not figure out the theories. Professor Lambeau sets out to find who solved the theories however Will ends up in jail. Lambeau sets out to get Will out of jail under certain conditions, he will help the professor with future math problems and he must see a therapist.

Will is very hesitant and stand off about his therapy because he felt like he did not need it. At first he toys through therapist, causing Lambeau to reach out to an old friend, Sean Maguire, to help assist in Will’s therapy. Will and Sean’s relationship starts very roughly however over time Shaun saw something in Will that he did not want to give up on and continues to help him overcome his troubles. As time goes on Will begins to reveal some of his deeper problems to Shaun allowing him to discover the real reasons why Will acts and reacts the way that he does. He helps Will unravel his childhood and the things that he endured while growing up.

As a child Will was a victim of acute brutality in his foster home. He suffered from many appalling acts of violence during his younger ages. His foster foster were authoritarian and uninvolved. Meaning that his parents were exceedingly strict, unconcerned with his upbringing, consistent use brute force, and no moral support. This type of parenting focuses on compliance. Will foster parent punished him for his failures and disregarded his feelings and need for nourishment. Long term effects of having these types of parents are hostility, doubt, insecurities, and poor social skills.

Will was abandoned as a small child, during the critical period in his life. The critical period is when a child is developing trust with their caregivers and the people around them. This developmental stage is called the trust vs. mistrust stage. This stage is the first part of their developmental process of a child. At this time the child depends on their caregiver to provide them with their needs. Will’s second most important stage, autonomy vs. shame and doubt, was more then likely also offset because of his abandonment. During this stage an infant is beginning to learn self control and becomes more independent. If the child feels in control they will gain a good sense of self confidence, however those who don’t get the things they need long term can feel inadequate and doubtful within their lives.

Will’s personality comes off as cocky and confrontational. This is mostly because of the parenting skills of his foster parent causes him to not be able to take direction well. His father was austere with him so, over time he developed the habit to ignore and disrespect authority. This is very clear when him and Shaun have their first counseling session, Will insinuates things about Shaun’s wife, she had died years earlier from cancer, basically disrespecting her. Even though Shaun is there to help Will overcome his childhood trauma he still pushes him away because of his dislike of authoritative figures. Will also isolates himself when he feels like he is going to abandoned. In the movie he stops going to counseling and pushes Skylar, Shaun, and the Professor out of his life. He may have felt as though they meant him no good an eventually would leave him just as his parents did him as a child. He feels that he no longer need them in his life because he has always handled things on his own and don’t need people to dictate his life. These actions stem from his abandonment and lack of nourishment.

Being cared for was very new to Will, he had never experienced any sustenance and had a very hard time accepting it. Afterall, he was abandoned in his most important time of life by the people he expected to love him the most, his parents. Especially from his girlfriend, Skylar. Skylar allows the audience to see a softer side of Will.She shows his humorous, loving side. This side was not present until he meets her. They began to date for a while and grow fond of each other however it quickly becomes sour when Will feels that Skylar will abandon him. That feeling triggers Will causing him to become hostile with Skylar. He felt that she would eventually leave him like everyone else in his life so he leaves her before she could leave him. Will also has some darker characteristics to him that are deeply rooted from his abuse as a child, because of this he is doubtful, shameful, and often blames himself for his abuse. He has had to protect himself his whole life so he uses defensive techniques like acting subnormal in order to escape the risk of possible failure, destroying relationships to steer clear of intimate feelings, and lying to refrain from the shame he feels. The shame is prevalent when he lies to Skylar about having 12 brothers to hide his mortifications about his adolescence and when he abruptly discontinued their relationship to avoid any sense of being left alone. He ends their relationship in fear that she will figure out something about his life that she will nit like end eventually leave him. And because of his consistent punishment as a child he steers clear of anything that he feels he is going to fail in.

However, Shaun offers Will a safe space within their meetings. He allows Shaun to laugh and also get to know some of the secrets in his life. Shaun knows the Will is overly protective of his feelings, Shaun is persistent with him even when he tries to push him away. Shuan sees something in Will that he is determined to help fix so that he can stop living his life half lived. Over time, he breaks through of all of Will’s barriers. He continually tells Will that the abuse he endured was not his fault, he allows Will to cry and essentially cleanse himself of all the anger he has enclosed within for all of those years. Will was never given the chance to let go of all his suppressed feelings. When he was finally able to it allowed him to fully let go of all of his reservations about his life in a healthier way then drinking and cigarettes. Shaun also has to convince Lambeau that he cannot push Will to be the mathematician that he wanted him to be because he will began to reject him and feel that he is someone who is just trying to control his life. Shaun pushes Will to go out and make his own decisions in life.

Eventually, Will does let go of all his past grievances. He even accepts the job offer with Professor Lambeau to pursue his special mathematical talents. Yet, he leaves the job and leaves for California to find Skylar. Will has the realization that trying to avoid relationships because of his doubt has caused him to miss out on the most important things in his life. If he allows himself to take the risks he can live a more fulfilled life. And that releasing himself from his sorrows about his childhood can help with his healing as an adult. Good Will Hunting is a awfully great example to show why authoritative parenting and secure attachment are important in a child’s life. The effects that harsh parenting styles have on a child is far worse as they progress into adulthood. Giving a child space to fail but also giving them guidance when they fail and ensuring them that it is to explore provides the child with certainty. However, giving children the reverse effect will cause them to end up in cases like Will. But with the proper support they can overcome their obstacles just like Will.

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Analysis of Psychological Concepts Presented in The Movie Good Will Hunting. (2022, Jun 22). Retrieved from