As posted to the PCINTL listserve, 8 August 2011:
Here is a statement I made before Pamela's (Gloria's daughter, Pammy mentioned in the film) presentation at 2011 ADPCA:
WHAT DID GLORIA TEACH US? WHEN LESS IS MORE AND POWER IS WITHIN
Gloria was thrust into life in a patriarchal Catholic family during the era of the great depression. She heard the cacophonous sounds of WWII played in her young years and experienced the anguish of her Polish ancestors receiving the brunt of brutality in the beginning of that war. I imagine that she might have, in the glorious dreams of female adolescents in the 1950’s, fantasized herself as a princess to be swept up by a white knight removing her from her mundane struggles to live “Happily ever After.”
She was always on the edge and between, not only of the great depression but WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Peace and Civil Rights Movements of the 1960’s.
She coped with divorces, financial instability, and professional job training, not to mention the “Gloria Films”. She suffered from the illness and loss of her young son, Skip. She faced with courage, her own untimely diagnosis of a terminal illness. She had many struggles but also maintained her exuberance about life and was infused with happiness from her children and close friends.
A flickering moment in 1964 brought her face to face with three renowned psychotherapists of modern times; namely, Carl Rogers, Fritz Perls, and Albert Ellis. She overcame all of them. She found Rogers who, offering her less, provided more at a time when what she “needed most” was “to be me”. She grabbed the mantle, with puzzlement, from a man who primarily affirmed and confirmed her, steadfastly not taking anything away from her. She found someone to “back” her during her swirling biological thrust toward maintaining and enhancing her constructive growth process.
Gloria would surely have found something in the boring irrelevancies of the instructions from Albert Ellis, and from the bombastic observations of Fritz Perls to promote her growth. She remained positive, appreciative, and intent for growth even within her boredom and fury. She could have gained and stabilized herself in the “old” world through guidance, challenge and being pushed toward change. However, she found her own way in the interaction with Rogers. She reached out to find a life long contact, a ‘backup’ through her strength to ask Carl and Helen Rogers if they could consider themselves to be her ‘ghostly parents’. She would then follow her own direction including a mix of acquiring scientific knowledge of medicine to practicing meditation and examining spiritual teachings. Periodically, there were letters to and from both Carl and Helen Rogers but no longer personal meetings with either of them.
Gloria found freedom supported by ‘love’ to go in her own direction. Rogers was a touchstone that was a “backup”, a reminder of her inner power.
Gloria is the hero of the film. It is she who reminds us that it is the person and not the therapist. It is Gloria who reminds us that self-empowered individuals can make a difference in the world. She demonstrates that less is more, and that power lies within each individual as a connection to and influence on the world.