Personality Assessment of Felix Unger in the Odd Couple

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A Personality Assessment of the character Felix Unger in the Movie The Odd Couple Argosy University

Abstract

This paper analyzes and assesses the personality of the character Felix Unger (played by Jack Lemmon) in the movie, The Odd Couple. The paper starts by offering a synopsis of the movie, which is followed by a description of Mr. Unger, his presenting problem, a mental status examination of him, and a history of Mr. Unger’s background. Next the paper offers a five-axis diagnostic impression of Mr. Unger and rationalization for such diagnoses. The paper develops a case formulation which includes the pathology behind Mr. Unger’s diagnosis and recommendations for treatment. Both the case formulation and recommendations for treatment are validated by empirical research on the disorder and treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder. The paper concludes with a hypothetical analysis of what the author imagines it would be like to work as Mr. Unger’s therapist

SYNOPSIS OF THE ODD COUPLE

Felix Unger (played by Jack Lemmon) is thrown out of his house by his soon to be ex-wife. Despondent, Felix makes a feeble and unsuccessful suicide attempt. When his best friend, Oscar Madison (played by Walter Matthau), gets word of Felix’s attempted suicide he insists that Felix move into his apartment. After all, Oscar is also recently divorced and figures he will enjoy the company. However, after just a few days Felix and Oscar’s differences are drive each other mad. Felix insists on the apartment being exceptionally clean and that routines are followed to the minute. Oscar, on the other hand, longs for the messy apartment and unstructured lifestyle he enjoyed before he allowed Felix to move in. When their differences become too much to handle Oscar orders Felix to leave his apartment and Felix abides without a place to go. As time goes by Oscar begins to feel guilty and worries his now homeless friend may try to commit suicide again. Oscar sets out to find his friend but is unsuccessful. Shortly thereafter, however, Oscar receives a knock at the door and is surprised to find Felix standing in his doorway with a large smile across his face. Felix reports that he was invited to stay with two nurturing sisters who appreciate his cooking, cleaning, and sensitivity. Oscar is happy to see that his friend is doing well.

INTAKE REPORT

Identifying Information:

Felix Unger is a Caucasian-American, straight male, who is approximately 55 years-old. He is of average height and weight. He dresses in impeccable pressed suits and polished shoes. He is recently separated from his wife with whom he has two school-aged children. He sees their two school-aged children on a daily basis. He works as a news-writer. Felix sought out therapy on his own volition due to interpersonal difficulties with family and friends; most notably a separation from his wife.

Presenting Problem:

Mr. Unger came to me in significant distress. At the time he was experiencing suicidal ideations for the second time in as many weeks. During our first meeting he made it abundantly clear how much he missed his wife and children. He showed me pictures of them and discussed at length how great they are and how angry he was with himself for screwing things up. Mr. Unger told me it was his wife’s decision to separate and that she did so because “he is impossible to live with.” When asked to elaborate, Mr. Unger went on to explain that that he is an orderly person who relies on structure and routine in his life. The problem is, however, that his excessive structure or in other words, a complete lack of spontaneity, comes at an exhaustive price to his family and friends. Most recently he was asked to leave his friends house where he had been staying for two weeks. Mr. Unger reported that his friend got annoyed by his excessive need for cleanliness and obsession with cooking. Just two weeks prior to being kicked out of his friend’s house, his wife...
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