EMMY’S 2015
Jon Hamm Wins!
Early Losses Not To Be Forgotten

I’ve been rooting for Jon Hamm. As a Mad Men enthusiast and psychoanalyst, I’ve written a number of pieces on the effects of Don Draper’s early trauma. Not only that, I’ve long admired the way Hamm brings Don’s very real struggles to life. Little did I know that his own early history, in some critical ways, mirrors Don’s. Jon Hamm, too, lost his mom at a young age. And, then Jon was orphaned at 20.  Jon Hamm knows well about difficult early losses.

I work with actors in my practice. And, I know how hard it is to enter into and come out of any intense role. If that role stirs up your own difficult experiences, it’s harder. Of course, such resonances are useful tools of empathy in portraying a complicated character. Yet, if any emotional piece of those earlier events is unprocessed or unresolved, there can be a rocky road to manage.

I don’t know how much help Jon Hamm’s had the sadness of his own losses. We can see how difficult grieving is for his character, Don Draper. Don could only turn to alcohol and sex to numb his losses without much-needed understanding. Did playing Don stir up residues of Jon’s own losses? If so, I hope Jon Hamm’s alcohol rehabilitation leads him to further help for the effects of those early losses.

Bravo on your win, Jon. That Emmy has been yours for a long time. It’s well deserved!

Posted in

Dr. Sandra E. Cohen

I’m Dr. Sandra Cohen, a psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. I work with creatives in therapy, story/character development, and entertainment consulting. If you are a writer, actor, or director and want help with a character – or a chance to do some of your own personal work - call at 310.273.4827 or email me at sandracohenphd@gmail.com to schedule a confidential discussion to explore working together.

Leave a Comment