Quick summery – The interdependence of dependence and independence – by allowing yourself to depend on other people for their assistance, you free yourself to be more independent in those aspects of your life in which independence is more suitable and enjoyable.
Why does Hollywood portray therapists as they do?
One of the most common themes in Hollywood is rugged independence… there are literally countless movies about a single action hero who single handedly saves the city or the world etc. Perhaps therapists are misrepresented in movies on purpose as a way of exemplifying and romanticizing the stubborn independence of the main character. In short Hollywood both consciously and unconsciously makes therapists appear ‘useless’ to further prove that the ‘ideal’ hero or protagonist is not dependant on anyone (especially someone who is in the profession of strengthening relationships by harvesting an understanding of the ironic interdependence of dependency and independence.)
I was recently asked what therapist character in a movie accurately portrays what I do as a therapist. I couldn’t think of any character that has really been all too close… sure some use ‘real techniques’ that you might see in therapy, but almost all of them seem to give therapists a bad name… why? As I stated above it seems to be to the benefit of our most lucrative plot line to cast certain professions into a negative light. This is not a phenomenon that only the therapeutic profession can relate to… the theme of independence ultimately ends up throwing the vast majority of professions under the bus (example: in police movies all the police are useless except for that one detective that has learned that you must break all the rules and rely on no one in order to attain ‘true justice’.)
Back to the irony of the interdependence of dependency and independence, and perhaps the ultimate point of this piece – by allowing yourself to depend on other people for their assistance, you free yourself to be more independent in those aspects of your life in which independence is more suitable and enjoyable. If I had had not depended on my parents for support and guidance I would not be enjoying the gift of independently running my own private practice. More specifically if I continued on as the stubbornly independent teenager that I was in my youth I never would have achieved the successes that I hold today… which then afford me a very high degree of independence.
The fact that Hollywood romanticizes the stubbornly independent protagonist might make for some really entertaining cinema… and in life the ability to ask for support from others will not only help in the formation of greater independence… it is also a sign of integrity, humility, and strength.
Last thought for humor – I remember the 1st time that I really accepted the fact that I was completely dependent on the rest of society in my teenage years. Like many teenagers I thought I pretty much could handle the whole living things without anyone else’s assistance whatsoever. I have always loved cheese and while eating a cheese sandwich it dawned on me that I had no idea how to make cheese… It then dawned on me that I didn’t have a cow even if I did know how to make cheese… then it dawned on me that my parents had bought the cheese that I was eating while I was trying to maintain the belief that I was fully independent. I ate my sandwich while pretending to be more independent than I knew that I was.