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David and Lisa

Keir Dullea, Janet Margolin, Howard Da Silva
Sigmund Freud | Murray Bowen
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Student David overreacts when student Simon touches him: "One touch can kill." Haphephobia? (0:03)

Psychiatrist Dr. Swinford tells David, "It's just talking things over so that perhaps I can help you." (0:07)

Student Lisa stomps around the day room reciting made-up rhymes: "Big fat cow; big black Sow; how and how and how." Clang association? (0:09)

At the dinner table David wipes his spoon with a clean handkerchief before starting to eat. (0:12)

Lisa rhymes in the day room: "I'm not a lump and I'd like to jump." She mentions "Muriel" as though this is another name for herself. (0:14)

Apparently to avoid talking to David, Lisa instead shows a message she has written on paper. (0:17)

Lisa talks in rhyme to counselor John: "John, John, be gone, be gone..." David tells John, referring to Lisa, "My diagnosis is adolescent schizophrenia, undoubtedly of a chronic variety." David overreacts when John touches him. (0:21)

Dr. Swinford walks outside with David. David tells him, "My ability to relate, or any other psychiatric term you might use..."
Swinford: "I take particular pains not to use psychiatric terms, yet you accuse me of doing it."
David: "All the idiot psychiatrists my mother dragged me to."
David describes a recurrent nightmare. (0:23)

David engages in conversation with Lisa in rhyme. (0:26, 0:30, 0:37, 0:45, 0:48, 1:07)

In Swinford's office David criticizes Swinford for a "typical psychiatrist's dodge."
Swinford: "You don't like psychiatrists much."
David: "Don't play Dr. Freud."
"I think I'm crazy."
Swinford: "Now who's playing Freud?"
Swinford interprets David's nightmare. (0:27)

David with Swinford in his office: "This must be strictly confidential." Swinford connects David's fear of being touched with his fear of death. (0:33)

David in Swinford's office: "Compulsive versus non-compulsive."
"I'm a real compulsive nut, aren't I.?" (0:41)

Lisa rhymes. David defends her to Simon. (0:44)

David's mother asks him about Lisa, "What's wrong with her?"
David: "Schizophrenic." (0:48)

David and Swinford in a psychotherapy session.
David: "Alan Swinford, headshrinker." (0:54)

At home David's mother denigrates his father in front of David. (0:56)

David's father tries to connect with David in David's room: "My father didn't give a damn about me." (0:59)

David and Swinford in a psychotherapy session. Swinford tells him, "When you get to know your parents you understand that they had parents too." David: "it's depressing." (1:07)

David and Swinford in a psychotherapy session. (1:13)

David and Lisa start conversing in rhyme, but this time when David reverts to ordinary speech Lisa does not run away. (1:16)

In the kitchen David tells Swinford, "Maybe I could be a psychiatrist like you." (1:18)

After Lisa completes a drawing John asks her to sign it. Instead she writes, "Lisa + Muriel," circles the names, and writes "ME," as though to indicate to John that she has integrated two personalities or alters. (1:22)

David finds Lisa at the museum. Lisa talks to David without rhyme for the first time: "Lisa. Muriel. The same. I'm me."
David: "Take my hand." He allows her to touch him. (1:29)

Do you agree with David's diagnosis of Lisa as suffering from schizophrenia? Although the rhyming might suggest thought disorder we see no psychotic symptoms and her affect seems appropriate if exagerated at times. Dissociative identity disorder might fit, but might the screenwriter have mistaken schizophrenia for split personality?

Despite the reference to Freud Dr. Swinford's allusion to David's grandparents suggested a multigenerational perspective more worthy of Murray Bowen.