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Theory and Rationale - Good Will Hunting

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Application of Personality Theory

Simone Whitehead

Capella University

COUN 5214 Theories of Personality

December 4 2012


Good Will Hunting was an interesting movie about a young janitor who was a mathematical genius. Will had the special gift or talent for being able to solve any of the most complex equations given to him. The most baffling concept was that Will did not study at any of the prestigious Ivy League colleges; in fact he did not even have a high school diploma. He simply had the mind of a genius. The film begins with one of the key math professors at MIT Technology leaving a very complex math problem as a challenge for any of his students to solve. The problem is solved but not by one of his bright students. When no one comes forward to confess solving the problem the professor places another and discovers that it was solved by a young man working at the school as a janitor. The film continues to depict the life of the young janitor as the professor saves him from spending time in jail and instead offers him counseling sessions as well as working alongside him at the school helping prove and write mathematical equations.

While the character of Will is an extremely interesting and complex character, I decided to venture from the norm and tackle the counselor being used to assess Will. After having used several different counselors who were no match for Will's wit and charm, Professor Lambro decided to rely on one of his old college friends, counselor and professor McGuire. It is Professors McGuire character that I will analyze.

Theory Description and Rationale

Trait Theory Personality

The trait theory approach lends to the suggestion that each individual's personality is made up of broad dispositions. Our personality traits are relatively consistent over time and across situations, our traits are made up or our; thoughts, emotions and behaviors. I believe that all types of personalities stem from one basic group of characteristics and individual personalities are just selections of a few of those available traits, which are biological in nature.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV is definitive in its view of traits, it views traits as patterns of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and oneself that are exhibited in a wide range of social and personal contexts. It is the patterns which are familiar to all humans that are believed to be the foundation for all types of demonstrated human behaviors, emotions, and thought. David Funder (2012) stated that "Personality traits are patterns of though, emotion, and behaviors that are relatively consistent over time and across situations. They can be described with familiar words such as "reliable", "sociable", or "cheerful".................."

The five-factor model of personality, known as the Big Five, consists of five broad categories of personality traits: agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience. This model has been backed by an enormous body of research and shown to be common among all people and easily identifiable by outsiders.

I chose this as one of my theories because I do believe our personality is what defines us and I do believe that we (humans) are creatures of habit and tend to handle situations and issues pretty much the same way most of the time. As with everything there are exceptions and deviations from the norm. As a counselor if I can understand the behavior or thought process of my client with regards to situations or

Social - Learning Approach

Bandura's Social Learning Theory is based on the premise that people learn from one another, via observation, imitation, and modeling. People watching seems to be the basis of how one learns, we observe others' behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviors. "Most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action." (Bandura). Social learning theory explains human behavior in terms of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences. Our learned behavior is referred to as modeling there are conditions that must be in place for effective modeling to take place. These are; Attention -- various factors increase or decrease the amount of attention paid; Retention -- the act of remembering what you paid attention to; Reproduction -- reproducing the image; Motivation -- having a good reason to imitate.

I believed that this was a good theory to consider because it allows a counselor to look at the environment of the client, both past and future. Understanding who the client models their personality after will help in determining how to help him/her with some of the prevailing issues.

Character Description

My client Professor McGuire is a very learned counselor who teaches at a well known university.



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