Lorna Smith Benjamin

The latest in SASB and IRT

Movies that center on a Gift of Love theme (GOL)

Mental health professionals often find the ideas about copy  process and GOLs  to be strange until they begin to find them in themselves and their patients.  The GOLs are  particularly difficult to see, I think, because it is just plain painful for adults to recognize that their old brain, their child’s subcortical brain, continues to, in effect, direct their lives in  “irrational” ways.   The other part of this story that is so unwelcome and so important is that it truly matters how we treat our children. We need to provide far more support for parents and children if ever we wish to diminish the costs of treating mental illness, running prisons and a lot else.

Novelists, story tellers, playrights, movie makers have recognized copy process and GOLs.  Here are some examples:

Movies that Hinge on a GOL Theme

The Aviator.

This story allegedly about Howard Hughes begins with his mother bathing him as a young adolescent in the library of their home. She is very concerned about germs.  He grows up to be a wildly successful, daring entrepreneur, but ends up locking himself in a hotel room, wherein for years, he  runs around naked, alone, terrified of germs.

The General’s Daughter

A very talented, successful female graduate of West Point is brutally raped by her peers in a war game exercise.  Near death, her father, a General, visits her and tells her to forget about it.   Eventually, she develops a pattern of extraordinary promiscuity among all the officers on her father’s staff. She  stages a replication of the rape scene in a way the  allows her father to see what it was like, and perhaps this time rescue and take care of her. He does not; he walks away, leaving her there. Shortly thereafter, she actually is raped and killed.


A poor stonemason and his wife struggle to find work, shelter and food. They travel through the countryside in Europe, with the son from his first marriage in tow.  Two more children are born, and it becomes even harder to make ends meet. The oldest boy often is charged with caring for the two younger ones. Rejection of the family’s requests for lodging “because” of the children is a recurrent theme. One day, the parents come home to find the two younger children stabbed to death, apparently by the oldest son, who had hanged himself.  He left a note indicating that times would be better for them now without the children. He seems to have introjected his treatment as a perceived unwanted non-entity, and gives his parents what he thinks they most want.  Of course, it was not, and the loving couple separated.

This list is from Benjamin, L.S. (draft book, Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy for Anger, Anxiety and Depression, copright American Psychological Association, 2012).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: