Conditions of Worth, Incongruence and the Aging Rock Star
I went to see a film last night and I was so struck by how, for me, it really illustrated Carl Rogers theory that informs much of my work. The film Danny Collins charts Danny’s sometimes painful journey from incongruence to congruence (terms used to describe one’s drift from true self (congruence) to who we become to fit with others’ expectations (incongruence)). Or in terms of the film, literally dancing and singing to someone else’s tune and the growing awareness of the discomfort of this, and how this discomfort caused Danny to look inside to discover his own calling, his own truth and his own way of being. I am not sure if my take on the film is anything like anyone else’s, or in line with the intent of those who created the film, but for me, it really did express and illuminate Rogers theory.
One aspect of the film that struck me was just how much courage it can take to live one’s own truth, especially when others place so much importance upon the aspects of a person that do not in fact fit with their true selves; in this case the desire of Danny’s fans for him to sing his hit records and “play” the role they so desire. I was also struck by the way that Danny became his truer self in the context of relationship: another key aspect of the work I do being the therapeutic relationship as a major part of the therapeutic process.
The film ended at a place that I didn’t want it to end, and this reminds me of the journey from our truth to our becoming what’s expected of us, to the discomfort of this, to the journey back to truth; a journey that is the thing in itself: it’s not the end that counts, it’s the getting there, and maybe the film might never have been able to conclude neatly, as I am not sure it would have respected its authenticity.
What an uplifting experience it was to see this film and it has for me, reaffirmed my respect for those that enter into therapy to seek their truth, to face their fears and to do their best to dance to their own tune. It has also reminded me of the simplicity and truth to be found in the work of Carl Rogers and the therapists who carry on doing as he did and witness the growth of people as they rediscover who they truly are.
I hope I haven’t spoiled the film for anyone, and have on purpose left out a number of other parts of the film, I would be interested in others’ take on the film; do feel free to email me.
Links to information that may be of interest in relation to the above.
Andrew is a therapist and counsellor in Nottinghamshire working both in private practice and for Priory Group.