Introductionof the family
‘Larsand the Real Girl film’ talks about a troubled young man by thename Lars. Lars got too sick for a long time but later on he washealed through using a life-sized female doll. Besides, a localdoctor who was much concerned about Lars’s health came to his help.Lars lives in a frosty rural Wisconsin town with his family where heworks at a boring office Job. Lars is a strong Christian who attendsthe Lutheran church services weekly.
Larsmother died at his birth leaving him with his dad. Some years later,his father ran into depression after the death of his wife. Lars’sfather went through this depression till he met his death. After thedeath of Lars parents, they were left with his brother Gus asorphans. Gus laments for having left home early. He feels that if hehad stayed, he could have changed his family including giving supportto his brother. Lars undergoes misery and hard life in his community.In the family, there is Karin who is a sister-in-law to Lars. Sheplays a major role in uniting the family[ CITATION Mar13 l 1033 ].The unification is seen through her effort of inviting Lars foroccasional dinners. The intention behind these invitations is toshare more about their lives as a family. Besides, we see anothercharacter by the name Margo. Margo is a core worker to the family ofLars. She is as well interested in knowing more about Lars.Unfortunately all her efforts of trying to unite Lars and his familybear no fruit.
Itis interesting to note that Lars pays attention to a male coreworker, unlike the rest. The incident is experienced when the malecore worker makes Lars aware of an atomic love doll on the internet.At some point in the film, Lars is seen knocking at Gus and Karin’sdoor. He excitedly introduces a doll by the name Bianca. Bianca is alife-sized plastic woman in a wheelchair. Lars gives the doll a humancharacter. Lars introduces Bianca as a visitor who is in the realsense is a doll. He goes ahead and explains that Bianca is amissionary from Brazil with Danish blood. He is much interested inBianca’s religion.
Allthese happenings leave other family members in suspense. Gus and thesister in law, Karin seems to be concerned about the unusual behaviorin Lars. The unusual behavior makes Gus and Karin to make anarrangement with their family doctor, Dagmar. The doctor has adequateknowledge about psychotherapy. The doctor advises Gus and Karin toleave Lars to go on with his love doll fantasy.
Thefamily’s presenting problems
Lars’sfamily goes through some problems. To begin with, the death of theirmother leaves everything in a mess. His mother dies at his birthleaving him behind with his abusive and uncaring father. The fatherseems so arrogant to Lars. He is emotionally affected andtraumatized. Due to this depression, the family faces more problemswhen the father also passes. Lars is left home alone far away fromhis brother Gus.
Theincreasing numbers of problems make Lars develop a schizoidpersonality disorder. The disorder made Lars lose the interest ofstaying with his family. Lars is not interested in staying close toany of his family members. Lars rather prefers spending most of histime alone where he feels less stressed. When other family memberstry much to bring Lars together with other family members, Lars triesto avoid them. Besides, this disorder makes Lars lose interest insex. He doesn’t want any female around him. It is evident when hetries to avoid his pregnant sister in-law and the female core workersas well.
Anotherproblem emerges when Lars becomes so close to love a dollanatomically. He is fully convinced that this is the right choice tobe with in life. He is not interested being with other familymembers. He feels so comfortable when spending time with the doll[ CITATION Bir07 l 1033 ].At one point, Lars brings the doll to Gus and Karin as a surprise.The two are surprised about the same. The two decide to seek helpfrom a family doctor in town. The doctor advises them to leave Larswith the doll.
Larsinsists that he has every reason to be with Bianca, the doll. Heargues that he knows every reason as to why Bianca is neither eatingnor drinking. He explains by saying that Bianca is the only companionhe can tolerate. Lars goes ahead and exchanges his feelings withBianca. Moreover, their conversations entail love messages. At thispoint, the disorder tends to become immense. This psychologicalabnormality makes Gus feel mortified. Gus becomes worried of whatother people are thinking about their family. He feels too humiliatedby the behavior of Lars. To some extent, Gus is not aware of what ishappening in Lars.
Thepsychological disorder causes the family a problem. Even though it ishumiliating, Gus and other family members are unable to separate himfrom the family. It makes Gus tolerate the doll since he has nootherwise. It is either he rejects Bianca and separates Lars from thefamily or accepts Bianca as part of the household. For Karin, thisseems not to be a big challenge since she feels that for Lars, anybehavioral change observed is a progress. This extends wide to othermembers of the community. The community starts treating Bianca as afamily member. They do this so that they can lure Lars feelings.
Atsome instance in the film, Lars goes ahead and takes Bianca to thechurch. The church members are surprised about the same. The folksare worried about the change in behavior in Lars. Since theyunderstand, they seem not to judge Lars’s behavior. Even thoughthis is a big problem encountered by the church as a whole, theyagree to own the challenge. The church goes to the extent ofinvolving Bianca in social activities. It is aimed at separating Larsand Bianca. They struggle hard to ensure that Bianca is away fromLars.
Laterin the film, the doctor chips in to help in salvaging the situation.The doctor pretends to treat Bianca. At the same time, Lars is keptin the next room waiting for treatment. After that, the doctor treatsLars and he observes some changes in him[ CITATION Max16 l 1033 ].The doctor observes that Lars can be able to tolerate touch which heinitially did not. Some weeks later, the doctor prescribes thatBianca is sick, and puts her on medication. A few moments later thedoctor declares that Bianca is dead. It was just a trick to make Larsbelieve that his beautiful Bianca does no longer exist. The ideabehind this is that the doll has already served the intended purposeof healing. The healing power is realized later on when Lars opens upto Margo whom he rejected initially.
Culturaland social contributors to the problem
Cultureand the society contribute much to the problems that the family ofLars undergoes. Lars lived in a remote rural area. In the village,people seem not to be informed. In this case, we expect that afterthe death of Lars’s parents, the community was to take up theresponsibility. But this does not happen but rather Lars is left withthe rest of the family members suffering. Their culture did notencourage togetherness. It was more of individualist affairs ratherthan communalism. Furthermore, Lars’s social class contributed tomost of the problems.
AsLars was from a middle-class family, he was not able to sustainhimself after the death of his parents. It is crucial to note thatall the problems that Lars faced were as a result of the passing ofthe parents. It is after the death of the parents that Lars was leftalone. After being left alone far away from his brother, he wasaffected psychologically. The society contributes to the problems inthat were it Lars was from a rich social class he could not haveundergone all these problems. It is seen at the start of the filmthat Lars was working in a boring office which probably paid toolittle.
Likewise,the society contributed to Lars’s problems in that it did not takeup the responsibility at early ages. Lars was orphaned, so it wasexpected that the society was to take care for him. The church aswell failed to play its role of taking care of the need since it isnot mentioned who take care of Lars’ needs. Additionally, thechurch where Lars used to go every Sunday was supposed to guide andcounsel Lars’s father after the death of his mother. It could havebeen helped Lars to be brought up in a peaceful manner withoutfeeling traumatized at earlier ages.
Assessment:family rules model and self-manifestation analysis evaluatedifferent-ness.For personal growth to take place, each and everyfamily member must be integrated into the system. It means that forone’s innate potential and maturation to develop, there must be aproper use of the family rules. Family members should not blame eachother. Members of the family should not point fingers at other peoplebecause of loneliness and low self-growth. Like the case of Lars inthe film, other family members ensured that they were close to himalways.
Anotherfamily rule is that, members should act super reasonable like Gus andKarin in the film. Besides, family members should ensure that nobodyis distracted from what he or she wants to do. Like in the film, Gus,Lars’s brother left home without anybody stopping him from doingso. It made Lars feel alienated and lacked family care.
Likewise,a self-manifestation analysis is another way to intervene to a personwho feels alienated. In this case, members of the family shouldensure that the words that are spoken fit with how they look. Also,it is important to review each family member’s early life to findout whether he or she has inborn character as in the case of Lars.
Psycho-education:present link behavior to past models, challenge family roles, andmake covert rules explicit. In the film, Lars’s disorder was linkedwith his early childhood life. During his early age, Lars was leftlonely. It was one of the major reasons as to why he developed thedisorder. If it could have been known at early ages, Lars could nothave suffered from the psychological disorder? Besides, individualsshould challenge family roles. Lars failed to challenge the familyroles. He gave up with life after losing his parents. He was notready to take in the challenge at such an early stage. Lars neverwanted to be responsible for him since he considered it tooimpossible.
Karintook up the responsibility of taking care of Lars. She was ready tochallenge his brother’s role. She played a role of a mother andensured that all the needs of Lars were catered for even at a laterstage. She took Lars to the hospital and also ensured that he wasattended to by the right doctor. Gus as the elder brother took up theresponsibility as well. The two characters in the film are goodexamples on how a brother and a sister should relate.
Modelhow to express negative emotions. Work in dyads. Build self-esteem,label assets. In the film of Lars and the Real Girl, Gus shows a goodexample of how to express negative emotions. As much as his brotherLars was more attracted and comfortable with the love doll, Gus wasable to accommodate the humiliation and fitted into Lars’s shoes.Gus opted to show love to Bianca even though he knew that was a doll.Lars lacked self-esteem, he never believed in himself.
Negotiatenew rules of interactions: take responsibility, learn to disagree,respect separateness. For people to fit in the society, they shouldbe ready to negotiate on new rules. Therefore, people should not berigid but rather be flexible for different interactions. Like in thefilm, it was against the church rules to incorporate idols in theplace of worship. But the church was ready to bend the rules. Thefolks agreed to accommodate Bianca in the church and went ahead togive her some social responsibilities. It shows that they wereflexible and ready to negotiate. Moreover, people should learn todisagree.
Learnhow family members see each other. Family members are required tohave a clear picture of each other. They should be ready to help eachother in times of suffering. To achieve this, members should be closeall the time. Keeping long distances may end up breaking goodrelationships. In the film, Gus was so far away from his brother.After coming back, he was feeling guilty finding his brother in thatcondition. Gus wished if he was around, his brother could not havesuffered from the disorder.
Rationalefor using Satir’s approach
TheSatir approach is based on the belief that every person has theability to access, experience as well as live from spiritual lifeenergy (Satir, 2015). It further asserts that the pain experienced bypeople is often related to how they experience their emotions,expectations, cognition and their behaviors. The approach impliesthat people have the ability to change using their intraphysic systemto enable them live more in the present using their positive energyof life. This approach works by giving therapists a chance to learnand walk with the clients into their deeper point and help themrealize and own their intrinsic experiences that in most cases existwithout their awareness.
Usingthe Satir approach, I will have the ability to look at Lars and hisfamily as a unit that is tied by emotional bonds and by the use ofsystems thinking I can be able to explore and describe the complexinteractions in this family. Similarly, this approach will motivateand help the family members of Lars to call for and receive therequired emotional affection and support (Satir, 2015). Additionally,the approach will help in the articulation and resolution of theinterpersonal tensions that may be the key contributors to schizoidpersonality disorder. The satir approach can also enhance congruentmethods of interaction between the therapist and the client which islikely to give Lars a better arena to air her problem resulting to aclear understanding of Lars’ situation. The approach is likely toraise the self esteem of the client, Lars in this case. This will bepossible since the Satir approach works on the basis of oneexperiencing his/ her spiritual life energy which is only possiblewhen one has a high self esteem.
Toinstill responsibility is another rationale for the Satir approach.In accordance to instilling responsibility the approach asserts thata person is only aware of his/her external experiences and becomesresponsible of their feelings, yearnings, expectations andperceptions only if they are living from the self (Satir, 2015). Withrelation to the approach, all the internal experiences belong to ushence human beings should take responsibility of their own growthtowards becoming totally human. In addition, Lars and family memberswill become congruent through the application of the Satir approach(Satir, 2015). The model is crucial to both the therapist and theclient.
Analysisof family dynamics and structures
AfterLars being diagnosed of schizoid personality disorder, he felt theneed of cutting his links from his family members who had tried tomake him social (Chemerinskiet.,al 2013).Hefelt that he could easily transfer all his family affection to thelife sized sex doll which he refers to as Bianca. According to Larshe feels that Bianca is a real person and of course the only creaturehe can entrust himself to. Lars cuts all emotional bonds with hisfamily and redirects them to his doll. Whenever he feels he has theopportunity to become social or network with others he works withinall the possible ways to avoid them.
Larsfears having children of his own, because he is strongly convincedthat he will die if he gives birth to children just as her motherpassed away. This fear made Lars to lose that sense of intimacy andtouch more so after the death of his father and the disappearance ofhis older brother Gus. Gus believes he could have controlled thesituation if only he had stayed back after the death of theirparents. According to him (Gus) the condition was worsened by leavingLars alone without any close family relation.
Dueto his condition, schizoid personality disorder, Lars resides in aseparated area of his brother and pregnant sister in law who feels itis essential for Lars to improve his social skills. The familydynamics are evident immediately Bianca is introduced in the family.Bianca’s presence strains and even changes the existing familydynamics. This is because Lars withdraws himself fully from thefamily members and feels safe relating with the doll than any humanbeing. The two family members of Lars (married couple) recordsdifferent reactions towards Lars’ presented problem. Karin (wife toLars’ brother) shows compassion and understanding with regard tothe problem. She understands the reasons to why her brother in lawhad developed his funny characteristic and was still ready toconvince him to be social with them and not the doll. Gus decides toblind himself regarding the condition resulting to him viewing Larsas a psycho even before taking time to learn the condition, itscauses and treatment.
Karinis ready to take in what people will have to say about her brother inlaw. She is ready to do anything in her power to protect Lars. Shegives Lars the opportunity to express his trust and intimacy to hisdoll because she understands that is the effect of the condition. Guson the other hand, feels it is insanity to replace family links witha non-living creature. He feels that the condition is definitelyenough to make his brother a psycho. Gus cares so much of what thecommunity and neighbors will say on his brother’s condition. He isso angry and suspicious of his brother’ insanity resulting from thecondition. He feels it is likely to ruin their family reputation tothe town residents and the community. He fears the ridicule, mimicsand ostracized reaction from their neighbor who will view his brotheras mad through his actions for instance conversing with his doll.
Gusis not ready to take his time to understand the new behavior of hisbrother to enable him come up with ways to control him. Lars feelsthat by his brother rejecting his doll is like he doesn’t love himhence doesn’t consider his relations. Gus puts the community’sview in front of his brother by fearing on what they will say ratherthan what his brother may be going through as a result of having thecondition. The only condition that has influenced Gus to contain andadapt into the situations he finds himself in is the pregnancy of hiswife. He fears for what may happen to his wife and the baby if heover reacts over the condition of his brother. This has pushed him tothe actions he takes, his new behavior and perception towards Lars’condition. This has forced Gus to understand why Lars prefers beingsocially isolated and end all close relationships. Gus finally hasaccepted Bianca as the new friend to his brother and the only thinghe can happily relate to closely and trust. Karin has played a greatrole in maintaining the family structure by trying to make Gusunderstand the situation of Lars. This has resulted to the marriedcouple trying their best to include Lars socially and ensuring heunderstands himself. Some of the effort that they have made includesaccepting Bianca the doll as one of their own to make him feelappreciated. Another effort is ensuring most part of the day he isnot alone to enable him build back the broken social ties. This hasbeen done by engaging in the activities she likes most such asplaying with Bianca.
Assessmentof strengths and resources of family
Karin,Gus’s wife is very supportive both emotionally and physically toLars which has pulled her husband to join her. She is ready to doeverything to ensure Lars feels at the right place. She showscompassion and understanding towards Lars’ situation. She alwaysconsults with the therapist to know what she can do to maintain Larssociallyandensure he does not feel alienated. Karin shows her commitment andsupport in maintaining the relationship between Lars and the doll. Bydoing this Lars feels that he is still accepted since the doll heloves most is appreciated. Someof the activities that Karin engages in include involving the doll intheir talk pretending to include Bianca in her conversation withLars and involving the doll in their play.
Similarly,Gus is adopting to go on with the relationship his wife has builtwith Lars, even though at the back of his mind he believes hisbrother is insane. Heworks closely with the therapist who guides him in how to build goodrelationship with Lars and how crucial it is. Gus tries to go alongwith this relationship just because of his pregnant wife whom hefeels he shouldn’t affect. Both Gus and Karin have shown theirsupport by escorting Lars to his therapist sessions and ensure Biancaalso attends. “Bianca” has also been supportivesinceLars attends all the meetings that Bianca attends, Karinand Gus ensure that Bianca is always present in all Lars’ sessionswith the therapist.
Thecommunity is also very supportive, they have been made to understandLars’ situation and treat him with love and understand what heneeds. The therapist has also made a point to meeting Gus and Karin.He has offered advice to the married couple on how to take care ofLars and include him both socially and emotionally in the familyactivities. The therapist has also arranged sessions for Karin andGus to advise them on how they can lead their normal life while onthe same time taking care of Lars.
Thetherapist has also appraised the family on the efforts they haveshown in incorporating Lars’ situation into their daily lifefunctioning. In addition, the therapist keeps on advising them on theimportance of family unity in this period as Lars needs them morethan before he developed the condition. He also advises them on theimportance of informing the neighbor on the condition of Lars and howhe should be treated. Finally,the therapist insists that the condition of Larsshouldtighten the family bond than before, empathize with one anotherdespite the challenges they face by trying to balance their dailylife and accommodating Lars’ condition
Identifyingthe effectiveness of the interventions
Theabove-discussed interventions play a significant role in the film.For instance, family rules put everybody in the family at liberty todo anything he or she wishes. They help people to know how they aresupposed to live and related to each other. Additionally, the familyrules help individuals to communicate effectively.
Psycho-educationalso plays a crucial role in nurturing the family. It enables one tolink the present behavior with the past model. It acts as a mirror ofthe past. Through psycho-education, an individual can understand pastbehaviors of an individual. Through this, the future can easily bepredicted.
Besides,a model on how to negotiate new rules is vital in psychology. Peoplehave different minds with different thoughts. The only way to unifythe diversity of the minds is by becoming flexible in mind. Peopleshould be flexible to new rules. Once this is achieved, communicationbecomes effective and also there is mutual understanding. Peopleshould be ready to take up responsibilities. The moment an individualevades a responsibility, he or she depreciates regardingpsychological growth.
Finally,family members should see each other as one thing. It is veryimportant because when people recognize each other as brother andsister, there becomes togetherness. Similarly, people can help eachother in times of problems and in time of need. Individuals shouldnot be self-centered since it adds no value to a family. In the film,the togetherness between Gus and other family members enabled Lars toget out of the disorder.
Chemerinski,E., Triebwasser, J., Roussos, P., & Siever, L. J. (2013).Schizotypal personality disorder. Journalof personality disorders, 27(5),652.
Clarke,M., Jinks, M., Huband, N., & McMurran, M. (2014). Strategies forengaging people with personality disorder in treatment: Preparingclients on what to expect during therapy and taking steps to promotetheir continued attendance can help tackle the problem ofnon-completion, say Martin Clarke and colleagues. MentalHealth Practice, 17(8),23-27.
Satir,V. M. (2015, January). Going behind the obvious: Thepsychotherapeutic journey. In EvolutionOf Psychotherapy……….: The 1st Conference (p.58). Routledge.
Birgit, W. (2007). Lars and the Real Girl. Therapeutic Movie Review, 13-27.
Margaret, J. (2013). A Psychoanalytic Look at Lars and the Real Girl. Reflectionns on Psychology, Culture and Life, 22-37.
Max, B. (2016, October 2016). Family Counseling Paper Outline. Amera Labib , pp. 1-3.