© Arnold Holtzman, Ph.D. (July 2001)

Leonardo DiCaprio

Born on November 11th, 1974 in Hollywood, California. Extraordinarily successful movie star and described by many as the most beautiful person in Hollywood. He was twice voted as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world by People Magazine in 1997 and again in 1998. His dramatic climb to super stardom came with his role as Jack Dawson in Titanic (1997). Since then he had won additional acclaim for his roles in Celebrity (1998), The Man in the Iron Mask (1998), and The Gangs of New York (2001).

ne of the downsides of being knowledgeable of PDC is that it can often be the ruin of an otherwise good movie. We would be watching the actors so focused and dramatic in their roles when in some scene an actor (or actress) raises his (or her) hand for all to see. And what we see is often a personality in complete contradiction to what we find on the screen. The burly and darkly evil mobster becomes exposed as a very mild mannered, almost shy, intellectual. The frail, fragile, madly passionate, love stricken, heartbroken maiden turns out to have all the natural warmth and charm of a barber's razor, and just as inclined to draw blood.

So it is with Leonardo DiCaprio. This young and supremely talented actor, blessed with features which have earned him an admiring audience of women all over the world, recalls so perfectly the legend of Narcissus who fell in love with his own beauty and could love no one other than himself. In his movies DiCaprio has impressed his audiences as being a deep, sensitive, passionate, and emotionally responsive person... one who can become lost in a labyrinth of feelings and one who can give marvelous expression to the richest human needs and drives. In reality only the factor of sensitivity has some legitimacy and it is here that we find the foundation for his genuine acting abilities.

Otherwise we find an individual who is physically cold, emotionally shallow, and one who has all the natural charm of a tree, still standing but hollow and long dead. Inasmuch as his persona has been shaped to a degree by a multitude of relationships with glamorous women and publicized indiscretions with married women, within himself he would remain weakly responsive sexually. There would be no true gravitation to attachments. There is virtually nothing genuine about this person. Despite the many millions he earns with each new movie his inner image of himself is a virtual disaster area. The words which best describe the sum total of how he feels about himself (behind his own eyes, as it were) would include "insignificant", "insufficient", and "worthless". At the age of 28 his mother (assuming she is alive and well) probably remains the central figure in his life, and all his millions will mean little to him if his achievements won't bring her to commit herself emotionally to him. It would be easier to draw water from a stone.

The features of Leonardo DiCaprio's hands which serve as sources of information include:

The Softly Padded Fingertips - Figure 1:
An examination of the fingertips shows them to be very soft, delicate and mildly padded. Note the semblance of a bubble rising in the middle. Essentially a feminine motif, this feature is generally found in young, sensitive, vulnerable children who are acutely alert and responsive to stimuli. This heightened exposure and responsiveness to stimuli may be visualized in the context of the child's critical need to learn and adapt. Indeed, the young child is organized to learn as much as possible in the shortest possible time, and to be so supremely adaptable as to be one with its environment well before the age of two.

We would be inclined to link this feature with DiCaprio's accurate and tightly disciplined portrayal of the very different roles he adopted on the screen. Much as the chameleon we see making its way across his fingers, so too would his singular talent be in duplicating the coloring of the identities he would assume.

The Very Flat Thenar Eminence - Figure 2:
Where we find the ball of the thumb to be lacking in volume and essentially flat we can assume, without fear of contradiction, that the bearer of this hand, as an infant and child, never knew his, or her, mother's embrace. Physical contact between the mother and her child would have been minimal, and the same child, as an adult, would be without such references to himself (or herself) as might include a sense of belonging, attachment and completion. This feature identifies those who are without natural warmth and uncomfortable with touching. They would be cold and unresponsive sexually. In many instances these people adopt cerebrally inspired formulas which permit them to act out a determined sexuality. Often these people will endeavor to project an image of one moved to do and accept everything sexual - at times to an extreme. But it is all the manufacture of calculated mental decisions designed to support a desired image. Libido is just not there.

The Curvature of the Little finger - Figures 3 & 5:
This feature gives representation to a stressful and often traumatic reality in earliest infancy. We would speak of Fragmentation and Autistic Pockets and describe particularly difficult mother-experiences which Leonardo DiCaprio had suffered in the first weeks and months of his life. Although deeply lodged in subconscious memory these experiences would have him, today, suffer an identification with shame and guilt and be massively overtaken by feelings of anger and rage. He would be wholly incapable of being carried away and passionately moved by any sexual experience with a woman. (The reverse, of course, would be true when this feature is found in the hands of a woman). There is also the likelihood that he suffered some manner of eating disturbance, or had, otherwise, focused excessively on some aspect of the mechanics of his body. In some this translates as hypochondria, in others as body building. The possibilities are rife.

Essentially we would have a history with a mother who would have been in a constant state of emotional disarray. Almost from the time he was born she would have exposed him to explosive emotional outbursts. We would understand that while still in a symbiotic relationship with his mother Leonardo DiCaprio had been constrained to suffered badly her anger, frustrations, shouting, depressions or whatever. As a result, he quite lost every identification with his true nuclear self. His attentions, as an infant, had been forcibly displaced from his own, original, autoerotic, inner world environment and linked to the experience of trauma originating somewhere beyond himself.

The Angular, Backward Bent of the Medus and Ring Fingers - Figures 4 & 7:
Here we find that these fingers permit a mild backward bent at the knuckle (where the middle and base phalanges are joined). It isn't shown all that clearly in these images but a clearer picture of this feature is available at #12 on the PDC Profiles page. It offers evidence of a syndrome we call Exploration Deficit. The lines in the paragraph there which would be most relevant in the instance of Mr. DiCaprio commences with..." There we touch upon the sense of estrangement which, inasmuch as it is deeply felt, would be almost impossible to translate into words. His feeling would be that he is not an integral quantity in the dimension where everything else is found. It would be near impossible for Mr. DiCaprio to be really carried away with joy in the wake of any successes he would record for himself. Where others would be beside themselves with excitement at recording similar successes such excitement would not be known to him.

The Relatively Flat Upper and Lower Transverse Lines - Figure 5:
Simply put, this describes a relatively shallow capacity for true emotional expressions. It also describes cognitive patterns which stress calculated and analytical modes of thought. True emotional intuitiveness would be minimal. This would manifest as an inability to grasp the unspoken emotional needs and circumstances of others. There would also be a minimum capacity for abstract conceptualization, although this would be significantly compensated for by the softly padded fingertips and the heightened responsiveness to stimuli which this feature describes. Whereas the capacity for abstract conceptualization which lends itself to true creativity originates from within the person, the sensitivity and responsiveness to stimuli are essentially learned quantities and a function of conditioning.

The Narrowing Waistlike Base of the Medus Finger - Figure 6:
A close inspection of the base phalange of the Medus, or middle, finger where it connects to the palm shows a definite waistlike construction. This always identifies Intellectualizations and Rationalizations as important defense mechanisms. Whereas a person generally knows what he (or she) thinks as an extention of what he (or she) feels, namely the true emotional consequences of experiences, this defense mechanism has a person decide what he (or she) will, or should, feel. With intellectualizationa and rationalizations a person can consciously choose what emotional significance any experience will have for him (or her). This often leads to considerable dissonance in this person's innermost communication with himself (or herself). It also greatly hampers therapeutic intervention when the clinician accepts how the individual elects to explain himself (or herself).

The Relatively Thin Palm:
Where palms seem to be decidedly thin the center of gravity, as it were, in personality is understood to be with cerebral configurations. The cold and rational "intellectualizing" mind takes the lead in all the person's interactions with the world external to himself, or herself. We would expect fragile sensitivities and sensibilities to be clearly manifest in the instance of Leonardo DiCaprio. Where thickness is seen the center of gravity normally shifts to the biological needs and drives and every manner of libidinal expression. In such instances emotional dictates would be prominent and made central to the individual's interpersonal relationships.

© All rights reserved.
The 2 photographs of Leonardo DiCaprio shown here were contributed by Frederique Herel of Toronto, Canada.
The phototograph showing figures 6 and 7 was contributed by A. Hall of Christchurch, New Zealand.

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