Ordinary People

1923 words 8 pages
I decided to base my clinical assessment of a movie character on Conrad Jarrett, the lead character of the film Ordinary People. Conrad is seventeen years old and is the only child of Beth and Calvin Jarrett. The Jarrett’s live in the affluent suburb of Lake Forest, Illinois, where Calvin works as a successful tax attorney. The Jarrett’s have just recently experienced a family tragedy, where their eldest son, Buck, drown in a boating accident, while Conrad witnessed the entire event. Six month after the accident, Conrad has become severely depressed, and slit his wrists with a razor blade in a failed suicide attempt. His parents discovered him unconscious in the bathroom, and immediately committed him to a psychiatric hospital. He …show more content…
I believe Conrad is functioning at a 50 because he is still struggling with suicidal ideation and has serious impairment in social and school functioning. Since the suicide of his friend Karen, he has had considerable flack backs of his own suicide attempt and has been increasingly depressed. I have chosen to analyze Conrad’s diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy seeks to change the way a trauma victim feels and acts by changing the pattern of behavior. I believe Conrad can greatly benefit from this approach because he has always been very hard on himself and struggled with self esteem issues, and since the accident his feelings of self worth have plummeted. If Conrad works on specific techniques to change the way he views himself, he can take the first step toward recovery. Part of Conrad’s diagnosis has to do with feelings of extreme guilt, or survivor’s guilt. Conrad was on the boat when Buck drown and could do nothing to save him. He feels responsible for his death and struggles to understand why he survived and his brother didn’t. To make matters worse, Conrad feels that his mother would have rather him die and Buck be alive today. For Conrad, this isn’t just an irrational thought; in fact his mother has always favored Buck, and has been very cold and unsupportive


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