The Case of Marjory Winkler
The subject is an 18 year old female who just had a plastic surgery. Experiences loss of weight, nervousness, crying spells, and fainting attacks. The subject showed resistance to the counseling session. Along the counseling session, the subject displays extreme hatred with her mother. At the later part of the interview, the subject is able to project realizations and good attitude towards herself, others. Attitude towards her mother is also redirected from anger to pity. A good attitude towards the counselor is also developed.
Personality & Development
The resistance of the subject to go through the counseling session required by her surgeon is defense mechanism to explore her real problem. When she said “I am only here because the doctor insisted..”, I am emotionally disturbed but thats a lie..” , “ For no reason at all, I cry..” Since she is experiencing a difficult situation, she begun to act out during the first part of the counseling session.
She cried and expressed anger and hatred towards her mother. She also displays a feeling of inferiority by always emphasizing her mother’s dominance. According the core personality of Adler, feelings of inferiority are normal and inevitable feelings of weakness, which result from ones helplessness during childhood. This is not necessarily pathological or undesirable. “My mother made all the arrangements for me to have a plastic surgery—she didn’t consult me as to how I felt about it..” is a statement which shows a feeling of rejection and insecurity from her mom. She seem to have a traumatic childhood and hated her mother so much. Strong statement she made like “ I hate my mother and wish she would die” or “My life has been intense hell. As a child I was a kitchen slave..” shows her hatred and a feeling that she was abused as child.
If we are going to relate it to the attachment theory of John Bowlby, she was unable to secure attachment form her mother. Research suggests that early attachments can have a serious impact on later relationships like the subject has with her mom and friends. I think the plastic surgery is one self image she has to build along with joining sororities and stature. As much as her physiological needs are satisfied, her social needs specifically belongingness and affection are unsatisfied. Back to Adlers theory on personality, Marjorie feels neglected by her own mother. A child who feels neglected or abused develops inferiority because they are told and shown every day that they are of no value. They tend to learn selfishness because they are taught to trust no one. As the saying goes, we cannot give what we do not have. So if she was not given affection, it would be impossible for her to give affection to other people. Since she can only see hardness on her mother, she tends to develop it within herself It should be noted that the neglected child includes not only orphans and the victims of abuse, but the children whose parents are never there, and the ones raised in a rigid, authoritarian manner like Marjory and her mother. The subject as a socially useful type of person. She highly involves herself in activities and shows social interest as depicted in her joining sororities. A socially useful type of person have the ability to copes with life’s problems within a well-developed framework of social interest such as what happened to her. He or she have the potential to be successful in vocational, love, and social roles areas of life.
Looking back at the later part of the counseling, it is observed that the subjects had realizations. “ It just occurred to me , really right now, that I’m big enough to live and let love….I was really putting off facing a decision by hoping that something would happen to her…I really pity her…” It affirms that she is able to recognize her hatred to her mother and is willing to redirect her anger and hatred. She is able to formulate a goal for herself and is even looking on reconciling with her mother in the future. According to Bandura, self-efficacy is “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations” (1995) Meaning, self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. Bandura described these beliefs as determinants of how people think, behave, and feel (1994). One of the main sources of self-efficacy is psychological response. Responses and emotional reactions to a particular situation is said to play a critical role in self-efficacy. Moods, emotional states, physical reactions, and stress levels can all affect how a person feels about their personal abilities in a particular situation. A person who becomes extremely nervous before speaking in public may develop a weak sense of self-efficacy in these situations. However, Bandura also notes “it is not the sheer intensity of emotional and physical reactions that is important but rather how they are perceived and interpreted” (1994). By learning how to minimize stress and elevate mood when facing difficult or challenging tasks, people can improve their sense of self-efficacy. In this case, the subject is able to develop some positive insights through the interview that may help her overcome her hatred and her past feeling towards her mother.
I think that the subject is undergoing depression basically because she has felt rejection in the family particularly her mother as a child and people around her. Though she is masked with a pretty face, deep inside she has full of insecurities. It is important to note that the number of teen depression is alarming. Studies indicate that one in eight adolescent may suffer from depression. Of all these teens struggling with emotional and behavioral problems, a mere 30% receive any sort of intervention or treatment. Good for Marjorie though she can afford a counseling session.
The counseling process has been effective in such a way that it giver her some realizations on her problems. It made her realized that it is wasteful to continue hating her mother and gives her sense of hope and resolution to herself. It makes her perceive
things differently like a shift from hatred and anger towards pity.
The interview allowed her to give a positive insight about herself , towards other people, and life in general. It also made her plan what to do with her current situation. More importantly, she is able to acknowledged her hatred and anger and realized that it would be wasteful to continue to do so. The follow-up information of the case seems to tell us that she is able to moved on with her life and able to reconcile with her mom.
1. The Case of Marjory Winkler. Introduction To Psychology
2. Statistics: Adolescent Depression www.aboutteendepression.com
3. Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Human Behavior,4. New York: Academic Press, pp. 71-81.
4. Bandura, A (1995). Self Efficacy in Changing Societies. Cambridge University Press.