Good Will Hunting Character Analysis

Topics: Psychology, Therapy, Good Will Hunting Pages: 7 (2168 words) Published: December 2, 2012
Social- Cognitive theory believes that humans are individuals who are capable of proactively making things happen to assist in their own development (Parajes, 2002). In Good Will Hunting, Will Hunting did not believe that he was able to make a positive change in his life. Will is a prodigy, particularly in mathematics, who did not recognize his gift. He was born and raised in the slums, where he is now comfortable. He was abandoned by his parents and in and out of numerous foster homes. He experienced abuse and neglect in these homes. He was not only physically abused but also mentally and psychologically.

His ability to solve complicated mathematical equations caught the eye of a professor at the university where Will was employed. These equations had taken geniuses years to solve. The professor immediately took a liking to Will and desired to help him see his worth. He wanted Will to move forward in life. Will was not interested. His past failures influenced his decisions (Pajares, 2002). After seeing that Will was not at all interested, the professor seeked the help of his friend, a therapist.

The therapist used empathy to assists Will. Wills view on life was negative. He does not feel he deserves a better life. His therapist helped him develop ways to change his behavioral pattern (Glanz, Rimer & Lewis, 2005).

Section 1: Character Personality Matrix
Major Components

Growth and Development
1. Social-Cognitive Theory
In Social-Cognitive theory the mind contains schemas. Schemas are “preexisting ideas in the mind” (Pervin, Cervone & Oliver, 2005). We use schemas to make sense of the chaos around us (Pervin, 2005). In Good Will Hunting, Will Hunting was abused and endured a hard life. His knowledge kept him and helped him make sense of his crazy world. He secretly answers difficult math problems at MIT, where he works as a janitor. He demonstrates many different schemas. Will Hunting has a negative self-schema. He believes he is worthless and deserves nothing better than the “southie” life he has. He is extremely intelligent, which could take him to greater places in life, but he doesn't feel he deserves it. He is scared of change and feels more comfortable in the world he grew up in. Will meets a girl who he falls in love with but will not allow himself to show her how he feels. He didn't want to accept her love for him because he felt he did not deserve it. Self-discrepancies have to be resolved to avoid conflict in one's self (Higgins, 1999). Growth and development occurs through observing and direct experience. Will was in need of therapy. He met with many therapists who were not able to connect with him. The choice of therapy used by these therapists was not effective. Will's issues stemmed from “distorted, incorrect and maladaptive cognitions concerning the self, others and events in the world” (Pervin, p.322, 2005). The one therapist that was able to eventually connect with Will was able to help him replace his maladaptive cognitions with realistic thoughts. This therapy is called Rational emotive-therapy (RET). Will was asked how he felt about different situations and what he said to himself. Cognitive Therapy was also used. Will's therapist told him about his relationship with his wife and the positive outcome of letting go and falling in love. This was something that Will was not accustomed to. Will was able to make changes in his life with the help of his therapy. He finally realized that he did not have to remain in the situation he was in. He finally accepted the fact that the negative things that affected his life were not his fault. In the end he accepted the love of a woman by leaving his hometown and following her to an unfamiliar place. He also now had the confidence to take on whatever employment or career that would come his way. 2. Rogers' Theory

Rogers' phenomenological theory states that an...
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