by Ros Kitson
I'm currently in an amateur production of Goodnight Mr Tom The Musical. The story isn't new to me - I've seen the film a few times. However, what has struck me most by revisiting this story, is the way Tom handles the trauma that William goes through. For those who don't know the story, there is a scene towards the end where William is in hospital after his traumatic imprisonment. A psychiatrist is talking to Tom about what is best for the boy in terms of treatment. Tom wants to take him home but the psychiatrist believes the boy's best interests would be served by putting him in a children's home and subjecting him to psychiatric analysis - something that was probably cutting edge back in 1940. William is quite rightly frightened of the medical profession who have sedated him every time he cries out, since he has arrived in the hospital. This was done so he doesn't disturb the other patients. Tom challenges the psychiatrist on this, and suggests that "mebbe he needs to" cry out. He also says that it's obvious as to what's wrong with the boy - "the boy ent had a lot of lovin'". This raises an important point in any therapy situation. The need to allow the emotions to come out and the need of everyone to have love and acceptance in their lives. Both are vital to healing.