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Rehabilitation Readiness in “Half Nelson” Movie Essay


The rehabilitation of a patient has much more chances to be successful if a patient is ready for it. In this context, readiness does not mean an individual’s capacity to go through a rehabilitation process and complete it, but their willingness to do it and the interest in doing so (Cohen, Anthony, & Farkas, 1997). To assess the readiness for rehabilitation, five factors have to be addressed. Those are the need and commitment to change, self- and environmental awareness of a patient, and personal closeness with a professional who wants to help. In view of these variables, the paper assesses the readiness of Dan Dunne, the main character in Boden and Fleck’s (2006) movie, called Half Nelson. Dan Dunne is a history teacher and a basketball team coach in the middle school of Brooklyn who is addicted to cocaine.

Need for Change – Highly ready

The need for change is determined by both internal and external factors (Moxley & Finch, 2006, p. 150). Internal factor is an individual’s dissatisfaction with his or her own life. Dan is dissatisfied. He understands the need for change. Many times during the movie, he says something that proves that: “I’m supposed to do something”, “It can’t be black and white, it can’t be right and wrong. It has to be one or the other”, etc. (Boden & Fleck, 2006). External pressure comes from Dan’s surroundings: his family wants him to change; his ex-girlfriend probably wanted the same; the director of the school is dissatisfied, even though she does not know about Dan’s addiction for sure.

Commitment to Change – Not ready

Commitment to change refers to an individual’s desire to change (Moxley & Finch, 2006, p. 151). Dan is dissatisfied and understands the need for change, but he is willing to stay unhappy instead of changing his life. He says that the “rehab thing did not work”, and that he can handle his addiction, even though he obviously can not (Boden & Fleck, 2006). While talking to his ex-girlfriend, who states that people can change, Dan responds, “Yeah, not me, I’m still an asshole” (Boden & Fleck, 2006). In other words, he does not want to do anything about his life, even though he realizes that he has to.

Self-awareness – Moderately Ready

Dan is aware of his likes and dislikes. For instance, we find out that he likes cooking and jokes. Evidently, he is fond of history and dialectics. However, his book about dialectics is still unfinished. He also does nothing except sniffing cocaine in the spare time and has no plans for the future, no objectives to be achieved.

Environmental Awareness – Moderately Ready

Although Dan knows a lot about history, he is not as good in the present and the environment he lives in. He fails to understand people, which is why his relationships with women never work out. Dan also does not seem very attentive. For instance, he could not remember the name of one of his best previous students. Still, he managed to make friends with Drey.

Personal Closeness – Moderately Ready

Personal closeness to a practitioner who wants to help is hard to estimate since there is no such character in the movie. However, Drey, the girl Dan has made friends with, can be considered as such a character. Dan does not always listen to her, but the progress in their relationship can be seen, which is why I would conclude that Dan is moderately ready on the scale of Personal closeness.

References

Boden, A. (Producer), & Fleck, R. (Director). (2006). Half Nelson [Motion Picture]. United States: Hunting Lane Films.

Cohen, M., Anthony, W., & Farkas, M. (1997). Assessing and Developing Readiness for Psychiatric Rehabilitation. Psychiatric Services, 48(5), 644-646.

Moxley, D. P., & Finch, J. R. (2006). Sourcebook of Rehabilitation and Mental Health Practice. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.

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IvyPanda. (2020, June 13). Rehabilitation Readiness in "Half Nelson" Movie. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/rehabilitation-readiness-in-half-nelson-movie/

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1. IvyPanda. "Rehabilitation Readiness in "Half Nelson" Movie." June 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/rehabilitation-readiness-in-half-nelson-movie/.


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IvyPanda. "Rehabilitation Readiness in "Half Nelson" Movie." June 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/rehabilitation-readiness-in-half-nelson-movie/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Rehabilitation Readiness in "Half Nelson" Movie." June 13, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/rehabilitation-readiness-in-half-nelson-movie/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Rehabilitation Readiness in "Half Nelson" Movie'. 13 June.

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