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Therapy Aspects in the “Antwone Fisher” Movie Essay

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Updated: Mar 30th, 2021

What role did Dr. Davenport play in Antwone’s life other than his therapist?

Antwone Fisher is a violent young man with visible rage issues. He serves in the U. S. Navy where such behavior is unacceptable, this is why Antwone ends up being sent to a counselor, doctor Davenport. The doctor and the patient gradually become closer. Over time the relationship with the doctor starts to fulfill Antwone’s lack of a father figure in life. For example, he starts sharing dating experiences with the doctor and visiting his family gatherings.

What was the quality of the relationship between Dr. Davenport and Antwone?

Antwone shifts from being locked up, stubborn and silent to open and sharing mode, he tells Davenport about very intimate fears and experiences. For example, about sexual abuse, he has been through in childhood. His aggression lessens; he becomes more confident and controlled, it takes him longer to break down and start a fight.

What was Antwone’s contribution to treatment and what role did hope play?

Antwone contributes to the treatment by listening to the doctor’s advice, answering all the questions, even personal ones about his sexual experience, reading the book Davenport suggests, and practicing sublimation of his anger through drawing, as one of the peaceful forms of channeling his anxiety and rage.

Hope is one of the major moving forces of Antwone’s treatment, as soon as he realized that he had problems and they could be cured, he started being very dedicated to the therapy.

What role do you think Dr. Davenport’s theoretical orientation plays in Antwone’s progress?

Doctor Davenport’s theoretical orientation is directed at mildly pushing Antwone towards his progress. Davenport does not force or make his patient speak or act against his will. Instead, he waits till the patient is ready for the next move and empowers or directs him. For example, when Antwone was reluctant to discuss certain intimate experiences, the doctor asked simple and short questions that did not require elaboration that could cause pain and discomfort to the patient.

What role did Antwone’s girlfriend, Cheryl, play in his treatment and his life?

Chery, Antwone’s girlfriend is the force that stimulates the young seaman first to stop practicing denial and blocking his emotions, or hiding them through isolation of effect. Besides, Cheryl is the reason why Antwone works out his issues considering sexual experience based on fears and stress coming from his childhood.

What cultural/class issues are relevant to Antwone’s treatment?

Antwone suffers from unrestrained aggression based on race and class issues. He is a child, who grew up in a highly abusive home, always hated and punished for having black skin by his foster mother, Mrs. Tate, who also was of African American origin. In her case, such behavior is anger displacement, her hidden hatred towards who she was racially, and her inability to accept and embrace her cultural background resulted in her violent attitude towards the black children she adopted. Antwone grows up to be prejudiced about other people’s words or actions seeing potential insults and offenses in them. For example, he attacks a white peer for an innocent question, getting triggered by the word “face” in it.

Is the relationship between Antwone and Dr. Davenport cross-cultural? If so, in what ways?

Doctor Davenport is also African American, but he belongs to a cultural group of people of color that are used to living in a diverse society without feeling discriminated against or oppressed based on their background.

How are cultural and or class differences addressed?

To explain the roots of his psychological problems to Antwone, the doctor wants him to understand the issues of Mrs. Tate first. This is why he gives his patient a book about slavery and its consequences. Using educating Antwone, Davenport empowers him and allows him to re-evaluate his interpretation of the abuse Antwone had been through as a child.

In what stage of change is Antwone at the start of treatment?

Fisher first arrives at Davenport’s office being in the pre-contemplation stage of change. He does not recognize that he has serious issues. To explain his aggressive behavior Antwone uses the defense mechanism of rationalization, stating that a white seaman attacked him first just because he felt racially superior and that it was discrimination to send him to the therapist as the Navy command could not stand the fact that “a nigger attacked his master” (Washington, 2002).

When and to which stage does he shift?

Through the course of his therapy, Antwon gradually moves through such stages of change as contemplation, realizing that he has issues, determination, being ready to treat them, and action, the sequence of steps and behaviors directed to resolve his problems. Finally, he achieves termination by finding emotional closure through a visit to his foster home and confronting the Tates.

To what is that change attributed?

Love became the main moving force that made Antwone work on his issues, try to be safer, better, and calmer. He realized that holding on to his past was threatening his future and preventing him from having healthy friendships, loving relationships, and open conversations. For a young man of almost twenty-five years, it is highly important to have a successful love life. Cheryl was the first person Antwone wanted to become close with, this was his stimulus throughout the therapy.

Is Dr. Davenport an ethical psychiatrist? Why or why not?

Davenport is not an ethical psychiatrist. Doctor breaks one of the most important ethical rules of his profession by becoming emotionally attached and experiencing paternal love towards his patient, which he admits by telling Antwone that he loves him. This behavior is unprofessional and may lead to a biased perception of the information shared by the patient. The doctor also crossed therapeutic boundaries by inviting and engaging the seaman into his personal life and meeting with the patient outside of his office.

Reference list

Washington, D. & Haines, R. (2002). Antwone Fisher. United States: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Therapy Aspects in the “Antwone Fisher” Movie'. 30 March.

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