Dissociative Identity Disorder Essay

1185 words - 5 pages

I have never met anyone who has any sort of psychological problem, so I had to start thinking about fictional characters who displayed such characteristics. After thinking about the numerous movies that exist with characters who display psychological problems, one particular film came to mind. Teddy Daniels, played by Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island is a perfect example of someone who displays dissociative identity disorder. Even though the movie leaves the audience curious as to whether Daniels actually has multiple personality disorder, it is evident by the end of the film that Daniels has dissociative personality disorder. The people who are unfamiliar with this film and main character, Teddy Daniels was once a detective who had a family, but also had experienced past traumatic experiences. In the movie, Daniels goes to an island that has a mental institution that contains psychologically disturbed patients who have committed heinous crimes. He goes to this island because he thinks that there is a run away patient who he has to look for, and while conducting his investigation he intends on revealing the harsh realities of the institution. Daniels believes that this facility is conducting harsh experiments on its patients, such as lobotomies in order to progress scientific research. The actual reason for his presence is due to that Daniels himself has a psychological disorder, and is completely oblivious to it, and the fact that he himself is a patient of the mental institution. Psychologist can use the numerous theoretical models to describe Daniels disorder.
The psycodynamic view takes a very convincing and descriptive look at dissociative disorders. According to Ronald Comer (2011) “psycodynamic theorists believe that dissociative disorders are caused by repression, the most basic ego defense mechanism: People fight off anxiety by unconsciously preventing painful memories, thoughts, or impulses from reaching awareness”(p. 184). Taking this statement into consideration, it is evident to see how Teddy Daniels in this movie has developed his dissociative identity disorder. In the movie, Daniels wife murders all three of their children, and upon Daniels discovering this he experiences a great deal of depression and in turn murders his wife, which results him being committed to Shutter Island. The psychodynamic perspective makes that point that people with dissociative identity disorder have a tendency to repress their memories from traumatic experiences, and attempt to do so by pretending to be another person, just like Daniels. In the movie, he makes up a character by the name of Andrew Laeddis who Daniels claims had actually murdered his wife, but it is made clear to Daniels by the end of the movie that he is also Laeddis. Using the this model makes it easy to see how Daniels develops his dissociative disorder. Beyond the psychodynamic view, there are other views that can explain this psychological disorder.
The behavioral view is...

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