Essay: Nina Sayers

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[. . .] II. The film does an adequate job of depicting the terror related to psychotic behavior and the ramifications of severe psychological abuse yet it would be very difficult to form a clinical diagnostic impression based on the events of the film alone. There are five questions in addition to standard clinical interview questions that would help develop this formulation.

A. What is your relationship with your mother? This particular question could potentially open up a can of worms; however, the initial response to this question would most likely be that they have a very close relationship and that her mother helps guide her on her goals. It such a question would be designed to get her to talk about her relationship with her mother and two explore her feelings towards her relationship with her mother by a series of follow-up questions to this particular opening question.

B. Do you ever see or hear things that are not really there? This is a standard question in clinical assessment; however, given what we know about Nina it is extremely important to determine her understanding of her experiences (hallucinations). Again, this is a lead-in question and it would be important to follow up with secondary questions in order to understand what her perception of her experiences really is. The best guess here is that she would answer in the affirmative but would attempt to downplay her experiences as being more imaginative than actual hallucinogenic. The goal here would be to try and clarify her beliefs regarding her hallucinations and to understand how her lucent nations are related to her own sense of self and her needs and goals.

C. What are your greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses? Based on the film would guess that she would answer that her greatest strengths are her technical skills regarding her dancing and her greatest weakness is her inability to emotionally connect to the particular character she is supposed be portraying on stage. The reason for asking this question is to follow-up with secondary questions to have her elaborate on her own perception of herself as a person and to try and understand her motivations and needs as a person. This writer would expect that Nina's motivations and needs are pretty much dictated by what her mother expects and wants for her and not really what Nina wants. Opening with this question and then following up of a series of questions based on Nina's responses can help understand this situation better.

D. Besides your mother, who do you most admire and why? The question is designed to ascertain what types of relationships with others Nina perceives that she has and what qualities in others she admirers and disapproves. The writer's guess here is that anything she offers as an answer is pretty much a confabulation and that Nina's personal relationships are very constricted and are based on her professional goals. Again, a series of follow-up questions would be needed to understand how Nina perceives relationships with coworkers and others. In addition, there will probably be a significant amount of projection and her answers and it is important to take note of that as well.

E. If you could change anything about your life what would it be? This writer doubts whether Nina really would have a coherent response to this question and might opt out to say that she would simply change nothing about her life; that everything was fine as it is despite her obvious pain and suffering. This question might require some real prodding but if Nina were to offer an answer about what she would change we would suspect that she would like her mother to lay off of her a bit. Again, because there is a significant contribution from her abusive relationship with her mother to her own issues is important to understand how this relationship plays out her fantasies and dreams.

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental

Disorders -- V. Washington, DC: Author.

Sadock, B.J. & Sadock, V.A., (2007). Kaplan and Sadock's Synopsis of Psychiatry:

Behavioral Sciences/Clinical… [END OF PREVIEW]

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