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Movie Review Prince of Tides

A therapeutic change is known to occur when a therapist enables the client to make revelations about their past by way of eliminating their pretenses, and which in turn facilitates change in the behavior of the client. The therapist can accomplish this by expressing sympathy or consideration for the client and in turn provide the client with a positive response which will produce positive changes in the client. There are several instances therapeutic change in the film which were dramatized in several scenes.
In the film, Dr. Lowenstein has been identified as using the ‘Family Therapy’ theoretical orientation. She is initially involved with the treatment and therapy to enable Wingo’s sister overcome her suicidal nature and helps her in dealing with the past issues of her life. However, during this process, Wingo initially provides information and help to aid his sister’s therapy and while doing so, reveals his own issue about his wife’s desire to leave him, to which Dr. Lowenstein sympathizes.
In the beginning of the sessions with the doctor, Tom is helped by her overcome some of the issue of repression which he had earlier faced in his childhood, and which he was unable to deal with in his married life. The doctor facilitates an enhanced understanding of these issues thereby enabling him to deal with them. As a therapist, the doctor effectively impacts Tom’s behavior so that he shares a better relationship with his family, marking the beginning of the therapeutic change in Tom.   
Tom begins to share his deepest and most guarded emotions and sentiments with Dr. Lowenstein and the doctor reacts sympathetically.
In the process of providing therapy to Tom, the doctor also makes revelations about herself such as her father’s name, her favorite color and even more personal issue like when she has first been kissed; following which Tom makes more serious revelations regarding the molestation of his mother, sister and even himself. When Tom breaks down before the doctor, she reacts with compassion stating, “I feel your pain”, embracing him and allowing him to cry. The doctor and Tom begin to have close relationship with each other and the doctor also reveals to Tom, the difficulty of her own marriage. What follows is a series of dramatic events which are indicative of the therapeutic changes. Later, in the film, after the intimate relationship between Tom and the doctor, Tom’s wife calls him and wishes him to be back home, to which the doctor is overcome with grief, kisses Tom, embraces him  and cries on his shoulder marking the final indicator of therapeutic change.
In the movie, The Adlerian person-centered approach would involve the identification of the pain and anguish of the primary client, which were the primary cause of his issues. Tom and his sister have been molested in childhood; a fact revealed by Tom to the doctor confirms the root cause of his problem. Tom longed for compassion and sensitivity, which he never received from his parents, thus when the doctor treats Tom with sensitivity, he responds instantly. In the company of the doctor, Tom finds himself comfortable and able to speak his minds there by revealing his true self, his fears and his emotions attributes of the person-centered approach of Adler.    


The Prince of Tides at The Internet Movie Database.

Watts, R. E. (1996). Social interest and the core conditions: Could it be that Adler influenced Rogers? Journal of Humanistic Education and Development, 34, 165-170.

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