Psychological Issues of Will Hunting in the Movie Good Will Hunting

In the movie, Good Will Hunting, the main character of the film, Will Hunting, shows many psychological issues and issues throughout the movie. His main issues focus around his inability to trust others, a serious case of attachment disorders, childhood trauma and his constant thoughts of failure. Erikson’s stages of psychological development can explain some of the issues that Will Hunting faces in the movie. We know that Will Hunting was abandoned by his father and mother, the two people in the world that are supposed to love him the most in the world.

We also know that his foster father was an alcoholic that heavily abused him when he was just a child which heavily affected his adult life. This childhood trauma can explain the cause of Will’s cynical attitude of not trusting anyone Erikson’s first stage of development is the infancy year called Trust v Mistrust where the baby is supposed to look towards his or her caregiver for nurture and care.

If his or her needs are met, then the baby will develop a sense of trust and hope will’s infancy year was easily neglected as his childhood was a rather traumatic one. The lack of care and nurture during will’s childhood can be the reason why will has a hard time opening up to people and his relationships outside his circle of friends can be shaky. This also led to attachment disorder where will has a hard time maintaining social relationships due to the lack of attachment with the caregiver.

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Will Hunting also used a series of freudian defense mechanisms which was obviously developed by Sigmund Freud. Will most notably uses displacement and repression as ways to hide his trite psychological state from others, Displacement is shown when Will becomes angered by Skyler’s curiosity about Will‘s childhood, When Skyler asks Will about his past and family.

Will becomes filled with anger and starts to yell that skyler asks too much of Will. This leads to his decision of breaking up with will due to his refusal to tell Skyler about his past. However, repression is seen the most throughout the movie. This is first seen when will goes through his first 5 therapists. Will refuses to open up to them and simply makes a mockery of them which leads them to give up on helping will, even though will remembers the times he had to suffer in his childhood, he pushes it back to his unconscious thoughts and refuses to open up this memory to anyone.

It is not until will meets Sean and develops a very strong relationship with sean that will is finally able to open up and let go of his feelings. Will hunting is arguably one of the most interesting character in cinema history. Will shows intelligence that is limitless but is bounded by his childhood trauma, his decision to become a simple janitor construction worker and his decision of which friends to hang out with regardless of his high IQ is also very interesting. Hopefully, more characters like Will will come out in the box office as it is fascinating to analyze them through the eyes of a psychologist.

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Psychological Issues of Will Hunting in the Movie Good Will Hunting. (2023, Jan 10). Retrieved from

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