Dean Winchester

Rebecca Parmalee


Jensen Ackles plays Dean Winchester on the CW's television show Supernatural. He drives a 1967 Chevy Impala, likes classic rock music and eats a lot of junk food. He does not like long walks on the beach, but enjoys a good hunt. The show is about two brothers, Dean and his younger brother Sam, who are brought up in a world full of supernatural beings when their mother is killed by a demon. While other children were playing baseball with their fathers, Dean had the responsibility of watching his brother in a hotel room while his father was on a hunt. While other children's parents told them there was no such thing as a monster in the closet, his father told him what it was and how to kill it. Dean was the prodigal son, following exactly in his father's footsteps and constantly seeking his approval. Where Sam rebelled, Dean stuck to his father's side and obeyed him without question. Dean is extremely loyal to his family, which is all he has, and will stop at nothing to keep them safe. When his brother was killed at the end of season 2, Dean sold his soul to bring him back, giving them only one year to find a way out of the deal that would send him straight to hell. Unfortunately by the end of season 3, Dean does not find a way out of his deal and goes to hell for four months before he is pulled out by an angel. Four months in hell is more like 40 years because time is slower there, and Dean is messed up over the things that happened to him while he was "in the pit." He becomes friends with the angel who saved him, Castiel, and his new mission is to stop the Apocalypse in season 5.

Psychoanalytic Perspective

If anyone needs to use defense mechanisms, it's Dean Winchester. When Dean is pulled from hell, viewers initially believe that Dean does not remember anything that happened in hell and that it is repressed. Every now and then he would get flashbacks and have nightmares of the events that occurred, and there is no doubt he suffered from posttraumatic stress. Dean is in denial about several things throughout the show. The first thing was when his father died at the beginning of season 2; Dean said he was okay and that he was sick of people asking how he feels. By the end of episode 2, Everybody Loves A Clown, his pent up anguish was let out when he took a tire iron to his beloved Impala. When faced with his impending death, he wouldn't help Sam find a way out of his deal and denied that he needed help. Trapped in a dream state in episode 10, Dream A Little Dream of Me, Dean is confronted with his subconscious who tells him that he is not trying to save himself because he is not worth saving. Ironically, it was a wake up call for Dean, who tells Sam that he doesn't want to die. Finally, Dean is in denial mostly about his brother. The demons have had a plan for Sam since he was a baby, and several hunters believe that he is evil. Dean, being Sam's older brother and having the responsibility of protecting him, refuses to believe that his brother will become evil, no matter what signs say the contrary. Dean's own father told him to kill Sam if he ever turns "dark side," and Dean would obey his father in any other instance but that one. In season 2 episode 11 Playthings, the innkeeper asked if Sam and Dean wanted a king-sized bed. Later, Dean asked Sam why she thought they were gay, and Sam said, "Well, you are kind of butch. They probably think you're overcompensating." Sam and Dean are quite opposite in the fact that Sam owns his feelings while Dean puts on a "tough guise." He wears the leather jacket, drives the muscle car, and flirts with every woman he sees. The brothers have been referred to as being gay more than once, and Dean could possibly be using reaction formation to hide his true impulses. As seen in episode 16 of season 5, Dark Side of the Moon, Dean and Sam have flashbacks to their favorite childhood memories, and Dean regresses to a day when his mother made him a sandwich. When Sam tries to interrupt, Dean asks for one more minute while she cuts the crusts off of the peanut butter and jelly. According to Freud, Dean Winchester would be a man ruled by his Id. He is constantly satisfying his pleasure principal with either sex, hunting, or food. You could put together at least an hour long clip of just Dean eating, and it's usually something really unhealthy. In season 2's episode Houses of the Holy, Dean asks Sam for quarters to make the hotel bed vibrate, to which Sam replies, "Dude, I'm not enabling your sick habit. You're like one of those lab rats that pushes the pleasure button instead of the food button until it dies." Dean is always making crude remarks and his favorite porn magazine and website is "Busty Asian Beauties." He's got quite the libido. In the stages of psychosexual development, Dean may be stuck in the oral stage on the basis of constantly putting something in his mouth. He is also very dependent on the people in his family. Heis almost a carbon copy of his father; wearing his jacket, driving his car, following in his footsteps, and watching out for Sam. In season 5's episode 19, Jump The Shark, Dean even says, "I mean I worshipped the guy, y'know. I dressed like him, I acted like him, I listened to the same music." Where Sam wanted to go off to college and do his own thing, Dean wanted the family to stick together. He couldn't live without his brother to the point where he sold his soul to bring him back to life so he wouldn't be alone. If Dean is not stuck in the oral phase, he is definitely still in the phallic stage. Dean was four years old when his mother was killed, and he had an Oedipal complex. In season 4 episode 4, In The Beginning, Dean is placed back in time to when his parents were young. When he sees his mother he says, "Mom's a babe. I'm going to hell...again." He definitely exhibits overt sexual behavior, and is narcissistic. In the episode Sam, Interrupted, the mental hospital doctor opened his file and said, "...paranoid schizophrenic, with a narcissistic personality disorder and religious psychosis." Besides his own family, Dean does not love anyone else. On the subject of free will, Dean wants to believe he has the power to make his own choices in life, but the angel Michael tells him in the episode The Song Remains the Same, that "Free will is an illusion, Dean."

Trait and Skill Perspective

In terms of the Big Five, Dean Winchester is extroverted rather than introverted. He is shy in no way, shape, or form, and is always opening his mouth to say some smart remark. He is an assertive, take action kind of guy, and is not quiet even when it suits him to do so. In season 5 episode 10, Abandon All Hope, Dean tells Lucifer to "suck it" before he shoots him. One thing Dean is not, is agreeable. He is only cooperative when it suits him, and he trusts no one except his family, and even by the end of season 4 he did not trust Sam. He is generally not a warm, share-your-feelings type of guy, and will get into a fist fight with anyone, even his brother. Dean is, on the other hand, conscientious. Because of his inability to trust anyone, Dean is a very cautious person. He always has a plan and does not like to go into anything blind. He is loyal and you can always depend on him to do the right thing. He won't leave a friend or family member behind, as shown by his rescue of his half-brother that he barely knew in season 5 episode 18, Point of No Return. Dean is highly neurotic, and understandably so. After being stuck in hell for 40 years, he is constantly brooding about his time spent there. He doesn't tell Sam about his time there until episode 10, Heaven and Hell, and he tells Sam that he wishes he couldn't feel anything. His hostility knows no bounds, and he even threatens an angel saying, "Angel or not, I will stab you in your face." Though it is not obvious, he channels his anxiety into drinking and other reckless behaviors. Although Dean is more or less a replica of his father, I would say he is high on the openness scale for the fact that he is not simple. He may seem like a shallow person, but he has his moments where his feelings come out. His motives for hunting were, in the beginning, to hunt down the demon that killed his mother and to be obedient to his father. Now he does it because he feels that it's right and he has to save people. When the doctor in Sam, Interrupted asked Dean why he has to save people, he said, "It's my job. Somebody's gotta save people's asses." Dean's need for affiliation may have been another factor. Growing up he tried constantly to make his father proud of him. His cardinal disposition is his hostility toward evil along with his feeling of obligation to save everyone.


Before season 2, Dean Winchester saw things in black and white. If it was a monser, he killed it. No question. In season 2's episode Bloodlust, Sam and Dean come up against supernatural creatures that they were always taught were bad, but are unsure this time if it is as clear cut as good and evil. Dean is faced with the moral dilemma of seeing things in gray for once, and wonders how many innocent supernatural creatures they have hunted down without a thought as to whether or not they were truly harmful. Dean is an extremely loyal son and brother who puts his loved ones' lives before his own. He did have issues with his father, though. In Dream A Little Dream of Me, his subconscious said, "Your own father didn't care whether you lived or died, why should you?" Dean found it unfair that he had to shoulder the burden of protecting his family when his father wasn't there for Sam. Dean is overwrought with guilt. He felt guilty when he learned that his father sacrificed his life to save Dean's in the beginning of season 2. When he went to hell, he felt guilty for the things he had done there. And when the doctor in the episode Sam, Interrupted told him, "That’s a crushing weight to have on your shoulders. To feel like six billion lives depend on you?" he didn't tell her that he felt personally responsible for starting the Apocalypse. The irony that Dean is the vessel for the angel Michael and Sam is the vessel for Lucifer is that Dean never believed in God or angels, and Sam prayed every day. Both brothers have the task of finding a way to stop the Apocalypse without having to kill each other. Though Michael told Dean that no matter what he does, he is fulfilling his destiny, Dean refuses to believe that he doesn't have a say in how his life will play out. All he can do is hope he makes the right choices and does not let humanity down.


Friedman, H. S., & Schustack, M. W. (2009). Personality: classic theories and modern research. Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.
Supernatural Fan Wiki. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2010, from