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Personality and Counseling Theories: Case Analysis
It is an incredible, yet trying time in this day and age to live by one’s self. Even a productive member of society can have particular issues coping with the harsh realities of the world. This can bring about a tumultuous amount of feelings, emotions and trauma; sometimes it can result an individual in devolving to a more childlike personality. My name is John C. Hemby and I am a counselor at the Bikini Bottom’s Mental Health Institution. I’d like to utilize the psychotherapy technique made known by Sigmund Freud. I’ll be conducting a case analysis on this individual named Sponge Bob Square-Pants.
A young man, around the age of 28, comes into the room. He has a happy, childlike stare on his face. He is of average height and skinny, despite working at a fast food restaurant. He also has blonde hair and blue eyes. He has two enlarged front teeth and wears a pair of brown pants, a white shirt and suspenders. The individual walked into the room with a spatula and a dog that he named “Gary”. The young man lives close by in a two story house that his rich parents gave him; it is painted and designed like a pineapple. He has a sunny disposition and enjoys being constantly in a state of euphoria. He gets along quite well with his coworkers and everyone in the city of Bikini Bottom knows of him. He has a couple of close friends that have mental issues as well. He has a boss that is overbearing and has a near obsession with money, a coworker that is lazy, spiteful and has delusions of grandeur about his artistic and musical ability. His has two other companions; one thinks she is an astronaut and lives in an enclosed environment, and the other is jobless, living off the government and lives in the basement of his own house rather than live upstairs. I had the client lay down on a couch, as in the classic psychoanalysis that Sigmund Freud would have done.
Mr. Square-Pants’ childhood must’ve been one of ease and simplicity. He probably didn’t want for anything as his house has been paid for by his parents. His parents are despondent; always being gone on “trips” and even going so far as purchasing their not grown up son a house in order to have out of their domicile faster. He didn’t have any difficulty due to the fact that now he is still very much childlike. Even his grandmother described him as a ‘baby’, despite his protests that he wasn’t. Growing up probably was a difficult ordeal with him and his parents coddled him because he has little to no coping skills or resiliency when things don’t go just right for Mr. Square-Pants.
Symptoms and Problems
SpongeBob Square-Pants is experiencing a constant display of childlike behavior. He is altruistically helpful and can be seen trying to assist others at all times. This is somewhat of a nuisance to the other citizens that live in Bikini Bottom. Mr. Square-Pants embodies what Freud described as the ID (Segrist, 2009). The Id is defined as the unconscious part of the mind that is impulsive and very childlike. It constantly strives for immediate satisfaction for needs and desires. For example, instead of going to work sometimes, Mr. Square-Pants desires to immediately go jelly fishing and spend time with his friend Patrick Star. He is also consistently driven with passing boating school and the need to move ahead at the fast food restaurant, the Krusty Krab. The Id may not only be driven by biological drives and the desire for pleasure, but also by curiosity; The Id is driven by psychic energy (sexual energy). This can be seen by Mr. Square-Pants always wanting to impress his female companion, Ms. Sandy Cheeks, his boss’s daughter, and his boating teacher.
Sponge Bob is experiencing a lack of motivation and desire to become more adult-like despite having goals. He is constantly being used by citizens in the city to further their own agendas. This decreases Mr. Square-Pants’ happiness and allows him to go deeper into his psychosis. He goes from one spectrum to the other, possible manic depressant or bipolar. For example, when Mr. Krabs (his boss) fires Mr. Square-Pants, he uncontrollably starts sobbing, as if his purpose in life has been taken away from him. He then leaves and falls further into a depression until he hears his friend, Patrick crying. His friend then comes and tries to show Mr. Square-Pants on how to be unemployed, which makes Sponge Bob worse. The only way he got better was to try and find another job. He goes through various jobs, he projects working at the Krusty Krab at every other job he was at, so much so that the owners fired him because of his odd behavior. Then, he hallucinates seeing a hamburger grabbing him and taking him back to the Krusty Krab. Once there, Mr. Krabs, feeling sorry for him due to his delusional state, rehires him. This is just one of the episodes that Mr. Square-Pants experiences in his dealings with people in the city.
According to Freud, a client must go through psychoanalysis in order to be treated for their mental disorder. This is done by exploring the interaction between the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind. These parts of the mind can be brought to the surface by uprooting repressed fears and conflicts through free association and dream interpretation (Segrist, 2009). In Freud’s theory, Mr. Square-Pants is utilizing his defense mechanisms in order to protect his identity. Defense mechanism is defined as way for the mind to protect the individual from being consciously aware of things that are too hard to understand or cooperate. Since the feeling too hard to understand or tolerate, the defense mechanism will allow the unconscious feeling to express in a certain way or fashion (Thurshwell, 2009). Since the thought or feeling is too difficult to tolerate, the defense mechanism only allows the unconscious thought or feeling to be expressed indirectly in some type of disguised form. This allows the Mr. Square-Pants to reduce the stress that’s been caused by the feeling. For example, when he was fired, he tried to cope by outwardly looking like nothing was wrong and tried to find other occupations (Corsini, and Wedding, 2010, p. 30).
Another portion of the psychoanalysis is dream interpretation. According to the text, dream analysis is a way for a person to understand the focus of a person’s issue by looking at symbols in the dream (Rudnytsky, 2008). This technique shows that the mind and motivations to a person’s behavior resist from being easily interpreted and the symbols have to be ‘decoded’ in order to obtain a person’s inner mental workings. Mr. Square-Pants describes one of his dreams in which he goes into other people’s dreams and experiences them. An interpretation of this is that Sponge Bob fantasizes being each of his friends and coworkers. He wants to embody their best characteristics, thus showing his unconscious side trying to absorb a super ego. The super ego is defined as the main action to entirely suppress any urge from the Id that is considered unacceptable by society standards. The superego is constantly going for perfection or a better individual; hence Mr. Square-Pants wanting to acquire the better characteristics of his friends and coworkers (Segrist, 2009).
The conclusion of this analysis is that Mr. Sponge Bob Square-Pants needs an intensive therapy utilizing psychoanalysis. Perhaps, even I should look into utilizing other techniques like Cognitive Behavior Therapy in order to alter his behavior and teach him additional coping skills. Mr. Square-Pants is not a danger to society; however society is a danger to him. People in his environment can and will take advantage of his trusting and childlike nature, since he genuinely wants to help people. He has symptoms of delusions and impulsivity with hallucinations if he becomes depressed from some kind of stress or external stimuli. His parent coddled him too much and therefore has no coping mechanisms and a minor defense mechanism. His dreams show that his unconscious is trying to absorb the better characteristics of his friends in order to make a better superego and eventually have the Id be replaced by the superego. However, I have noticed that his friends do genuinely care for him and try to keep him from harm, so at least he has a decent support network. He also has an unfailing ability to see the best in others, often making that individual begrudgingly act how Mr. Square-Pants sees them. For example, his coworker, Mr. Squid-ward, tries to get out of daily tasks at their work place. On one occasion however, Mr. Square-Pants encouraged Mr. Squid-ward and said that he could do this because he was a great organizer, and Mr. Squid-ward did the task quite well and at a fast pace. Sponge Bob will be alright, in the end, provided that he can learn how to grow up and be not overly trusting of others.
Corsini, R. J. & Wedding, D (2010). Current psychotherapies (9th Ed.). Brooks Cole.
Matthews, E. (2013). Revisiting Freud. Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, 20(3), 243-245.
Rudnytsky, P. L. (2008). Inventing Freud. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 68(2), 117. doi:10.1057/ajp.2008.5
Segrist, D. J. (2009). What’s going on in your professor’s head? Demonstrating the id, ego, and superego. Teaching of Psychology [H.W.Wilson – EDUC], 36(1), 51.
Thurschwell, P. (2009). Sigmund freud. Hoboken: Routledge.
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