A View of the Symbolic-experiential Family Therapy of Carl Whitaker through Movie Analysis

Author/s: Pınar Cag, Nilufer Voltan Acar

DOI: 10.12738/estp.2015.3.2477 

Year: 2015 Vol: 15 Number: 3

Abstract

The movie “Ya Sonra” is evaluated in respect to the basic concepts and principles of symbolic-experiential family therapy. Carl Whitaker, who called his approach “Psychotherapy of Absurdity” mainly emphasized the concepts of absurdity, experientiality, and symbolism. Based on the hypothesis that film analysis supports and develops theoretical information, this study aims to reveal the theoretical perspective of symbolic-experiential family therapy, and through the method of film analysis, exemplify the assumptions, perspectives, and emphases of therapy. Emotional deadness, pathology as a symptom of development, the focus person of the problem in the family, marriage greater than its parts, blind marriage, flexibility of roles, the role of therapist, seeing family and client, the objectives of therapy, and the techniques used in therapy are among the theoretical concepts of symbolic-experiential family therapy. To this end, these topics were addressed in the movie “Ya Sonra,” which is about a woman in her seventh year of marriage who starts to feel that she does not belong in her marriage with her spouse and that she is seen as insignificant by her spouse. Therefore, she becomes identified as the patient in the family. The sensitivity of the spouses increases as the problem becomes more serious, eventually leading her to leave the house. The breakdown of communication between the spouses during the ensuing process finally results in divorce, due to a gradual increase in misunderstandings between the two. The previously described concepts were exemplified through analysis of the film. As a conclusion, it is believed that this study can serve as a resource to specialists by supporting the theoretical information concerning symbolicexperiential family therapy and exemplifying this approach in practice through the method of movie analysis.

Keywords
Symbolic-experiential family therapy, Carl A. Whitaker, Film, Family therapy

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