Psychological Analysis of Girl Interupted

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Running Head: BPD in Girl Interrupted

Borderline Personality Disorder in Girl Interrupted

Girl Interrupted is a movie based on Susanna Kaysen’s novel, which was inspired by her stay in a mental institution in the 1960s. Incidentally the main character, played by Winona Ryder, is named Susanna. She is eighteen years old and begins the movie by reflecting back on the events leading up to her visit to the psychologist. She has just graduated from high school and other than being an aspiring writer, has no plans for her life. In addition she has flashbacks of her attempted suicide, though she denies taking a bottle of aspirin with vodka. When she was brought to the hospital they found bruises on her wrist, but she claimed she had no bones in her wrist. The psychologist concluded that Susanna needed some rest and sent her to Claymore, which is a private mental institution. In the institution, the psychiatrist diagnosis’s Susanna with borderline personality disorder. While in the institution Susanna meets various other women with disorders ranging from eating disorders to psychopaths. After two years she is released from the institution and deemed clear. There are many theories behind why people develop such personality disorders. The theories take psychoanalytic, contemporary, and/or developmental approaches to discover the various reasons why people develop with given personalities. According to Otto Kernberg, there are two developmental tasks an individual must accomplish. Failing to accomplish a certain developmental task often corresponds with an increased risk in developing certain personality disorders. The first developmental task is psychic clarification of self and other. Failing to complete this task causes one to not be able to differentiate one’s own experience from those of others. Not accomplishing the second task, overcoming splitting, results in an increased risk to develop a borderline personality. Kernberg theorized that...
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