Sybil Essay

1673 words - 7 pages

In the movie Sybil, Sally Field portrays a woman who survived severe sexual abuse as a child by her paranoid schizophrenic mother, Hattie Dorsett. This is an unbelievable true story about a young woman who suffered from Multiple Personalities (Dissociative Identity Disorder). Sybil developed sixteen different personalities as a result of being a victim of childhood abuse. Despite the trauma Sybil had went through she was a shy and caring substitute teacher. She decided to reach out for help when she realized one of her blackouts occurred in front of her students. The sounds of the squeaking of the swings at the playground caused her to have a flashback, and in a dissociative state she was found standing in the water with no memory of what she was doing. She contacted a psychiatrist Dr. Wilbur, and was given a neurological examination. She was at first treated for social anxiety, and memory loss before her treatment continued.
The field of psychology in this movie is clinical, due to severity of the womans diagnosis. Sybil had many symptoms of psychological and mental disorders. “Clinical Psychologists are not the only people who work in the field of mental health. Psychiatrists also work in this field, they are medical doctors who treat mental disorders, often by doing psychotherapy,”(Coon-Mitterer, 39).  For example, when Sybil experienced one of her blackouts she cut her hand while breaking a glass window. She went to a hospital to treat her injury, and as she was patched up by a surgeon she was confused so he called in Dr. Wilbur to look at Sybil. During the neurological examination, Sybil was covering her eye and speaking as if she were a little girl. Sybil wasn't aware of it at that moment until Dr. Wilbur made her aware. The results of the neurological exam revealed that she had tunnel vision. She then had Sybil smell a jar of disinfectant and Sybil reacted in extreme disgust to the smell of the alcohol. Sybil lost track of how much time had gone by and wasn't aware she had gone through other tests. Her blackouts were so severe that one of them lasted two years. She told Dr. Wilbur she once woke up and she was two years older. Sybil began to tell Dr. Wilbur not to touch her, it hurts when touched, and she doesn't cry like people. She then described Sybil's fear as some type of hysteria.
Another clinical field shown in the movie was when Sybil's physical health records were revealed. When Sybil was a girl she was examined many times, by her physician Dr. Quinones. Dr. Wilbur went to visit Dr. Quinones to learn more about Sybil's history. Dr. Quinones at first began to say he only treated Sybil for childhood aches and pains, and not for any nervous conditions. He then confessed to hidden information, and revealed her records. Sybil first had a Tonsillectomy, then torn ligaments on the right shoulder, fractured collarbone, the palm of her right hand burned on stove, fractured larynx, beans stuck up her nose, and gas problems. He stated...

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