Doctor Jeff Green
Psychotherapy in A Clockwork Orange
I analyzed the movie, A Clockwork Orange, to show an example of psychotherapy in film. The movie follows Alex DeLarge. A young man who is frequently participating in devious crimes such as rape and violence. The movie specifically focuses on behavior therapy which is the application of classical and operant conditioning to fix a behavior, rather than achieve some sort of moral change.
The therapist used an aversion therapy called Ludovico which is an “experimental psychological conditioning technique.” They tied Alex, the main character who, down as he was forced to watch films that reflected the violence and invasive crimes that he was committing previously before being committed, with his gang.
The therapist used classical conditioning him by playing the vulgar films that showed the crimes that Alex and his gang was committing while pairing it with the nausea-inducing drug in order for him associate the sick feeling with the gruesome actions.
After the session, he expressed how he’s never felt disgusted by the crimes the way he did during the screening, but the therapist told him that he felt like that because therapy was working and because such crimes are viewed as morally wrong. This will further the conditioning and complete the therapist’s mission.
The therapy was very effective because Alex explained that after the second film showing multiple women being raped and abused by a group of men, similar to his own, he began to feel really sick.
He’s aware of the effectiveness of the conditioning so much so that on the second day of the screenings, he doesn’t want to become disgusted by the Beethoven music in the background of the film because he actually likes it. He feels himself becoming unnerved by the music as the film progresses and begs the therapists to stop the film due to the music.
After a certain portion of the aversion therapy process has passed, Alex is presented to a board of officials so they can observe the results of the experimental therapy. The observat...