1). First give a brief description of the character with enough detail for me to understandthe character in context (10 points).
Dr. Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy (2005)
Dr. Meredith Grey is the main character in Grey’s Anatomy which is aired on ABC channel. Meredith is the daughter of Ellis Grey, who was a renowned General Surgeon. Ellis worked at Seattle Grey Hospital where Meredith spent most of her childhood because her mother was always very busy doing surgeries. When Meredith was five years old, her parents got divorce, because her father (Thatcher) came to know about his wife’s affair with one of his colleagues, Dr. Richard Webber. Later on, when Dr. Richard left Ellis, she went to Boston to work there and took Meredith with her.
Meredith was a neglected child and had severe abandonment issues. She graduated from Dartmouth and spent most of her time with her friends. She did not like her mother at all, who thought of Meredith as a reckless kid who cannot become as successful as her. However, when Ellis was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and was admitted to old house, Meredith returned to Seattle and got admission in Seattle Grey teaching Hospital.
Meredith had a lover named Derek Shepherd, who is now her husband and she also has a best friend named Christina Yang. Her personality is heavily influenced by her past. In her teenage years, she used to drink and party a lot. She has trust issues and a behavior similar to an avoidant. She finds it difficult to share information with others even with those who are closest to her. Throughout the series, Meredith experiences serious, life-threatening situations in which she behaves like an introvert, risk-taker, trustworthy and sincere lover. Moreover, she proved to be an excellent doctor just like her mother. In other words, she challenged to be a better person than her mother .
2). Identify the diagnosis that you would make of the character (60 points). You should back up your diagnosis with the relevant symptoms displayed by the character. Discuss all the possible symptoms of the disorder; does the character show all the possible symptoms, or only some of the possible symptoms of the disorder? Discuss possible origins of the disorder. Do you think, for example, that it is genetic? Is it likely to be caused by stress or by exposure to certain life events? Explain.
Meredith Grey suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. In this psychological disorder the patient suffers from high emotional instability and fear of abandonment. Mood swings, doubts on self-image, irritability, uncontrollable anger and suicidal or self-destructive thoughts are common symptoms of BPD. The patients suffering from BPD get into reckless behavior that later on cause psychological distress like shoplifting, reckless driving, excessively beating someone, sexual encounters and many others .
Meredith suffers from BPD because she had emotional instability periods for a long time. The series start with such a scene in which her one of the BPD symptoms is highly visible. She went to the bar last night and had a one-night-stand with a stranger, whom she later found out was her boss. Her boss, Derek Shepherd was interested in knowing more about her, but she was not interested in him and regretted spending night with him. This shows how reckless she was.
When Ellis came to the hospital as a patient, she created a big scene by scolding everyone. Meredith avoided confronting her mother because she did not tell anyone about her mother’s illness. She did not share this even with her closest friends, Christina, Alex or Derek. The entire day she kept calm and composed, but later on in front of Derek she broke down and told him what she was truly feeling. That showed that Meredith indeed was in a very emotionally unstable state. Because her father abandoned at a tender age and because she did not have any siblings around her so she was confined to her shell, thinking that no one is trustable in this world. Mere is quiet around new people; however, later on when their meeting become frequent, she slowly start to trust them and be open to them. This does not mean that Mere was quiet person, because she spoke what was in her mind regarding others and not herself whether anyone liked it or not.
Afterwards when Meredith along with other doctors went to a place of ferry boat accident, she tried to save a man’s life, but that man panicked and pushed her into the lake. Derek Shepherd comes to rescue her and although she is saved, but Derek fears that Meredith let herself drown although she could have swam as she is a good swimmer. Meredith’s suicidal thoughts are a sign that she suffered from BPD.
Meredith had chaotic relationship with everyone who was close to her. Her BPD problems began from the time when she entered teenage. She yearned to have her father’s attention, but she did not get it. Her mother was always busy at the hospital so she spent a lot of time feeling lonely and abandoned. She spent her younger years doing reckless and chaotic activities, which she later regretted. Meredith is not a mean and selfish person; she just tries to hide her feelings because she does not trust anyone. However, later on she proves to be a great doctor, a wonderful wife and loving mother to her kids. The BPD was not genetic, but it developed because of all the experiences Meredith went through, which is understandable .
3). Identify which form of treatment (psychotherapy, medication, etc.) you would suggestgiven your diagnosis of the case. Be specific in what type (30 points).What sort of therapy would you provide based on what you feel would be themost effective?Would you expect the character to respond well to the recommended therapy?
Borderline Personality Disorder, like all other personality disorders is difficult but not impossible to treat. It is tough to teach patients deal with their social and personal feelings in an appropriate manner to lead a problem-free life. Hence, the treatment plan is lengthy, and if the patient wants to recover faster then she should be consistent is getting this treatment.
Meredith BPD can be treated with a comprehensive treatment plan. This plan will include psychotherapy to make her share her feelings and thoughts and medicines to reduce her symptoms. Moreover, in this plan, her friend’s, colleague’s and family’s support is also needed, so that they can understand her emotions and take the right step in soothing her feelings.
Psychotherapy is used to treat all kinds of psychological illnesses, because it is the most effective way to train patients to control their urges, regulate emotions and behave like a normal person. One of the main concerns of psychotherapy is to ensure that the patient does not frequently have suicidal thoughts. Meredith should be monitored and assessed during the treatment plan, and if the suicidal thoughts are occurring often then she should be given serious consideration.
On the other hand, Meredith can also be given Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. This therapy is considered more effective than the psychotherapy in the case of Borderline Personality Disorder. In this therapy, the therapist will teach her to counter her self-destructive urges, emotional instability, fears, and anger. She will be educated to take control of her life. DBT also helps in normal breathing, relaxing and meditation. This therapy is done in a small group setting because the skills taught in this are new to the patients and they can have difficulty in learning them if they are taught individually.
Medicines will help in calming her mind and refrain from having frequent mood swings. DBT and medicines are the best treatment option for Meredith because she already has her friends and family support (Lexi Grey, Meredith’s half sister wants to be close to her). She just needs to reach them and have proper talk when she is depressed. Meredith therapist should teach her conflict resolution and persist on social learning theory, because these tactics will help her cope up with her emotions in the right manner, which she could not do because of faulty cognitions. This treatment plan will help in eliminating her BPD symptoms so that later on, her husband and her kids are not affected by behavior caused by BPD .
Dr. Meredith Grey. (2005). Retrieved from IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0021666/bio
Kelley, M. (2011). Meredith Grey. Retrieved from PersonalityPsych2011: http://personalitypsych2011.wikispaces.com/Meredith+Grey
M.D., K. D., & M.D., J. L. (2012, November). Mental Illnesses. Retrieved from National Alliance on Mental Health: http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Inform_Yourself/About_Mental_Illness/By_Illness/Borderline_Personality_Disorder.htm
Meredith Grey- 'Grey's Anatomy'. (n.d.). Retrieved from MSN- Healthy Living: http://healthyliving.msn.com/health-wellness/the-10-most-dysfunctional-characters-on-tv#7