Good Will Hunting Reflection

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The basic process of interpersonal relationships and communicative interactions with

others is based primarily on emotions. In the film "Good Will Hunting", the characters

experience many emotions that impact their interpersonal relationships and communicative

interactions. Taking into consideration that each character grew up with a different lifestyle,

their interpersonal relationships and communicative interactions are affected in their

continuing years. The film allows us to see different personalities in each character and how

their emotions affect how they communicate.

Characters in the movie Good Will Hunting express a great deal of nonverbal

communication. It is one of the key aspects of communication. The characters demonstrate

nonverbal communication by proxemics, physical attractiveness, territoriality and

paralanguage among many others. Will and Skylar share a lot of these by a communicative

value that is intentional. When Will and Skylar first meet, they communicate using all of these

attributes including physical attractiveness. In addition, as they get to know one another they

continue to share all of these communicative values and include haptics as a way they

communicate as well as increase their level of proximity as they become more intimate in their

relationship. Will and his therapist Sean Maguire, during counseling, share communicative

value including proxemics, territoriality, paralanguage, regulators and kinesics. Will and Sean

keep a social distance while communicating. After a few weeks of getting to know one another,

they also experience communication through haptics. After Will reaches such a dramatic

emotional decline, Sean reassures Will that his emotional instability is not his fault. Will and

Sean then hug each other and experience a calming sense of communication.

The concept of mindless vs. mindful listening is also used within the movie. Will

identifies a repeated amount of mindless listening. Will reacts to the professor's math

problems, even though he is not one of his students. He does this routinely and almost

seemingly unconsciously with very little effort. He filters out the professor's on-going

mathematical challenges that don’t require such careful attention as they would with others.

Sean Maguire, Will’s therapist, expresses a large amount of mindful listening. He assesses Will

giving thoughtful attention and feedback on what is going on in his life. He gives his undivided

attention to Will, trying to listen and understand him. Mindless and mindful listening can have a

large impact on the way individuals communicate.

Other significant themes in the film are poor listening habits. Defensive listening, the

practice of perceiving remarks made by another as a personal attack, is a natural

communicative interaction that Will has acquired throughout his childhood. In the film, Will is

not psychologically stable, therefore he doesn't know what he really wants. Will has a specific

psychological strategy that allows him to cope with reality and maintain his self-image. He

displays paranoia and an irrational distrust towards others and analyzes into every word that is

being said to try to decipher if it is a personal insult directed towards him. His unintentional

defense mechanism is persistent due to things that happened throughout his life, resulting in

abnormal behavior and constantly pushing others away. Will was physically and emotionally

abused in his childhood years. Eventually, Will's physical and mental health is unfavorable to his

interests and well-being later in life. Another example of poor listening habits is stage hogging.

Will only cares about expressing his own ideas and doesn't care about what anyone else has to

say. Will also illustrates a great deal of poor listening habits by pseudolistening, rehearsing and

interrupting. He does this a lot...
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