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Case Study: Shawn Spencer

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Joanna Franco

on 19 December 2014

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Transcript of Case Study: Shawn Spencer

Besides Shawn Spencer’s narcissistic and antisocial personality and motherly attachment issue that both cause him to distance himself from people, his incredible innate intelligence and his father’s tough conditioning make Shawn the great “psychic” detective he is and the few close relationships he has allow him to function well with others.

Shawn Spencer
Male, roughly around his mid 30s
Recently in a relationship with colleague Juliet O’Hara, relationship may have ended after she discovered he had lied to her about his psychic abilities
He opened a psychic investigation company with his friend Gus and became a freelance psychic consultant for the Santa Barbara Police Department
His mother, Madeleine Spencer, is a psychologist and his father, Henry Spencer, is an ex police officer for Santa Barbara Police Department
He graduated from high school but did not perssu a college degree although he is thought to be very intelligent
He has amazing observational skills and eidetic memory but compulsively lies and has unusual relations with others

Bolwby's Theory of Attachment
Although his parents were not separated when he was an infant or young child, Shawn still experienced the affects of the loss of attachment from his prominent caregiver, his mother
Because he lost his mother, he becomes unsure and unsecured about life so he resort to short term relationships and jobs, things that do not require commitment or to be taken seriously
Like Father, Like Son...Or Not?
Shawn’s father and grandfather were both police officers so his father very much wanted Shawn to continue the tradition
Conditioned Behavior: To develop Shawn’s skills necessary for adequate police work, his father trained him from a very young age
Mommy Issues
Shawn’s parents seperated when he was 15 and later got a divorce
His senior year of high school, his mother left unexpectantly which affected Spencer immensely
Presently in his mid 30, Spencer has troubles retaining jobs and relationships
Before his settled career with the Santa Barbara Police Department, he constantly filtered through low, mediocre jobs even though he had the full potential to become a police officer or more though to his high intelligence
He also flirted with many women but never had a serious relationship with any of them, they were simply flings for him

Case Study: Shawn Spencer
Besides Shawn Spencer’s narcassistic and antisocial personality and motherly attachment issue that both cause him to distance himself from people, his incredible innate intelligence and his father’s tough conditioning make Shawn the great “psychic” detective he is and the few close relationships he has allow him to function well with others.


The opening scene of the first episode of Psych, Shawn and his father, Henry, and shown eating in a dinner
Shawn wants a piece of cake but Henry places a condition on Spencer’s treat

Henry: How many hats?
Shawn: Come on, Dad!
Henry: Shawn, you want a piece of cake. How many hats are in the room?
Shawn: Does a beanie count?
Henry: What do you think?
Shawn: Three.
Henry: Describe them.
Shawn: That’s not fair!
Henry: Time’s almost up, Shawn.
Shawn has a huge ability to speak and persuade others
He easily makes up situations or facts as he goes along and often wins arguments by speaking common things in a very intelligent way that tends to amaze the person he is going against
Although Shawn has very few close relationships besides his friend, Gus, and fiance, Juliet, he has an ability to understand people
Somehow, Shawn is incredibly perceptive to others emotions and intentions which makes him that much better in his line of work as a fake psychic detective

Gardener's Eight Intelligences
Creative intelligence: the ability to adapt to novel situation and creata novel ideas
Practical intelligence: the ability to manage onesef, one's task, others in order to acomplish everyday tasks

Sternberg's Three Intelligences
Shawn has many qualities that would make you think he was still in elementary school
He lives his life on a basis of lies and pretending to be someone else
He uses others physically and mentally without feeling generally bad about his actions
He violates the law very frequently without worries of being caught and disrespects authority figures, especially those he works with
He does not take responsibilities seriously nor the consequences of not doing them
He may come across as self-absorbed and not concerned with the affect he has on others
He is often controlling, especially in his partnership with Gus
These characteristics describe an antisocial and narcissistic personality disorder
The Personality of a Little Child
Gus: Shawn, you've had fifty-seven jobs since we left high school.

Shawn: Yes I have. And they were all fun. But this one takes the cake.
Shawn: We don't need friends! I have Gus and you have... whoever your friends are.
Shawn: Just make sure you act in awe of me when they come to say I was totally right. Oh and maybe a little afraid. Like my powers could possibly be used for evil.
Shawn displays multiple intellingeces which are the main reasons he is such a great fake psychic
A Unique Type of Intelligence...
Gus: Shawn was wearing the dead man's sandals!
Shawn: Huh. I was hoping you guys didn't notice that.
Juliet: You asked me to move in with you.
Shawn: Lassiter killed Williams.
Juliet: Lassiter killed Williams?
Shawn: Move in? We've only been together for like four months.
Juliet: Again: Lassiter killed this man?
Shawn: I don't think he did. Not anymore.
Young Shawn: How long do we have to wait?
Henry: Until we catch our bad guy.
Young Shawn: Can I sleep?
Henry: You can't sleep on a stake out, Shawn.
Shawn's Alright...And He Will Only Get Better
Yes, Shawn has some odd personality traitsnd negative family issues that affect the way he is but with the help of his best-friend Gus, he seems to be becoming a better person and has a long term relationship which seems to be leading to marrige.
Full transcript