Description of the Client
Client is an African-American male in his late teens, currently enlisted in the United States Navy. When he first arrives to therapy, the client presents himself cleanly in uniform, but he refuses to talk. The client has been mandated to the therapist after getting into a series of violent altercations with fellow officers. After several more sessions, the client starts to engage.
The first several sessions did not yield any information, as the client was resistant to therapy and was not in therapy of his own volition. However, the client eventually reveals the details of his childhood. His story unfolds from the beginning, even from the time before the client was born when his father was killed. The client’s mother was arrested, convicted, and sent to prison, causing the client to have been born in jail. As the client’s mother was unable to take care of him from prison, the client spent his early childhood in foster homes. The foster parents were both physically and emotionally abusive, causing the client to run away at the age of 14. The client joined the United States Navy as soon as he was old enough, perceiving military service as a means to improve his life. The client got into many fights with his fellow Naval officers, often over petty verbal interactions, leading to disciplinary action. The client is not yet sexually active but recently became involved with a female Naval officer, and professes strong feelings for her.
Using a biopsychsocialspiritual approach is helpful for revealing the multiple dimensions of the client’s status. The client is physically/biologically in good condition, according to Navy reports. He also affirms his overall good physical health. The client’s psychological and emotional functioning are impeded by early childhood and middle childhood trauma. Not only was he abandoned, but his foster parents systematically and repeatedly abused him. The client also lost one of his best friends when he was young, giving rise to trust and attachment issues.
Macro issues are critical concerns when dealing with this client. Institutional racism has played a major role in the client’s life, particularly with regards to the status of both his parents. Strain theory offers some insight into the systematic violence and abuse the client has experienced from other adults. As a result of his past trauma, the client struggles socially. The client has difficulty engaging his peers or trusting other people, and perhaps due to modeling, has learned to use violence as a response to stress. The mezzo factors that might have mitigated some of the strain were also never structurally in place for the client. For example, the client never had any significant role models in his teachers or counselors. As a result, the client frequently exhibits violent outbursts, although he has never made an attempt to permanently harm another person. In fact, the client exhibits a tremendous amount of empathy and caring for the world. The Navy offers opportunities to strengthen the mezzo-level buffers against stress.
In addition to his high degree of empathy and caring, the client demonstrates numerous strengths such as discipline and determination. He seems embarrassed by being a virgin, but his attitudes towards and behaviors with women demonstrate kindness and respect. Other micro-level strengths include the client’s interest in and willingness to heal through therapy.
A positive psychology approach will be used when working with this client, to focus on solutions and the future rather than dwelling on the past. However, the past does offer keys to the client’s current status, which is why some cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques and interventions will also be incorporated into the evaluation and intervention plan. After trust was established with the client, the client was encouraged to discuss his memories, dreams, and reflections on past and current issues. The client was offered several exercises to exorcise the demons from his past, including the use of art and music therapy techniques. Ultimately, the client asked if he would be able to confront the people from his past in a healthy way to gain closure. It was advised that role playing might help the client to resolve…