Silver Linings Playbook Essay

  • Length: 4 pages
  • Sources: 4
  • Subject: Film
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #14863887

Excerpt from Essay :

The 2012 movie, Silver Linings Playbook, provides a rather correct view of numerous mental health-related aspects and the impact it has on families and relationships. Bipolar disorder-diagnosed Patrick Solitano Jr. is enrolled in an eight-month court-commanded psychiatric hospital intervention after viciously assaulting a man his wife was cheating on him with. This mood disorder is accompanied by manic episodes (discrete minimum-seven-day-long periods of uncharacteristically and continually cantankerous, elevated, or expansive moods). Symptoms include escalated self-esteem, reduced need to sleep, impulsiveness, and quick speech, accurately portrayed by Pat in the movie. This results in vacillating extremely good and extremely bad moods together with acute impairment and distress, necessitating rigorous, steady medications (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Also, bipolar disorder patients typically have highly intense and charismatic personalities, as seen in Pat Jr. The character is quick to form an emotional bond with Tiffany, an unusual lady who is herself burdened by mental problems following her husband's demise. Intriguingly, Tiffany, described as an unpredictable, wild sex addict, exhibits clear Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) symptoms, while not explicitly having received a diagnosis for it. Her past reveals unsteady interpersonal relationships, anger management issues, self-harm tendencies, impulsivity when it comes to sexual activity and intense emotional reactions. The movie's list of mentally-disturbed characters doesn't stop here; Patrick's father, an unemployed man obsessed with sports betting, suffers from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). The man cannot relate to Pat Jr. and considers himself blamable for his son's present state. While the father-son relationship doesn't form the movie's chief focus, one can safely state that it stirs audiences' hearts. Pat's passive mom, Dolores, is shown to keep an anxious eye on the volatile family dynamics, using diverting foods and forcing a smile onto her face to prevent it from falling apart (LeBeau, 2013). The objective of this paper is to thoroughly describe and interpret the movie character, Pat Jr., by employing a couple of personality constructs/theories. Psychologists have proposed multiple psychological theories for explaining bipolar disorder. This paper will concentrate on the Psychosocial Developmental Stages model of Erik Ericson and the defense mechanisms model of Sigmund Freud for relating to and explaining Pat's behavior and pathology.

Erik Erikson Psychosocial Stages of Development

Erikson's human developmental stages are grounded in his psychosocial development theory, wherein he posits that a person encounters 8 key psychosocial conflicts in life (at these stages), capable of leading to bipolar outcomes. Failed conflict resolution at any stage(s) can affect the evolution of subsequent stages and result in pathology (Erikson, 1968; Erikson, 1982). This may be applied to the case of Pat; a developmental phase conflict, perhaps, remained unresolved, interrupting his personality evolution and causing the disorder. The early phases, distrust against trust, doubt and shame against independence, and guilt against enterprise hinge on primary caregivers (i.e., parents). Parental rejection, punishment and inconsistency in reacting to their baby may give rise to distrust, guilt and shame. Here, a healthy conflict balance is imperative to developmental advancement (Fleming, 2004). Pat's parents, perhaps, failed to properly fulfill his primary psychosocial requirements, thus impacting his personality growth (Pat Sr. agrees he wasn't an attentive father). Pat Sr. himself is an OCD patient and Dolores seems anxiety-prone. This may have impacted Pat's childhood home atmosphere balance, thereby leaving some of his developmental conflicts unresolved. Erikson's developmental phases extend to a person's adult years as well (Erikson, 1968). Young adults face an isolation-against- closeness conflict which, if unresolved, can cause overdependence on a spouse/partner or anxiety when committing to long-term relationships, as seen with Pat. A fear of closeness and the ensuing distance between partners, as seen with Pat, might lead to isolation…

Sources Used in Document:


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5®). American Psychiatric Pub.

Bragazzi, N., Pezzoni, F., & Del Puente, G. (2014).Investigating aggressive styles and defense mechanisms in bipolar patients and in their parents.Health Psychology Research, 2(3).

Erikson, E. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: Norton.

Erikson, E. (1982). The life cycle completed: A review. New York: Norton

Cite This Essay:

"Silver Linings Playbook" (2017, February 10) Retrieved February 27, 2020, from

"Silver Linings Playbook" 10 February 2017. Web.27 February. 2020. <>

"Silver Linings Playbook", 10 February 2017, Accessed.27 February. 2020,