In the case of the Harris family, Marine Corps Sergeant Patrick Harris is the husband to Alice Harris and the father to eight-year-old Sara and 16-year-old Rick. Sergeant Harris was again deployed for the third time overseas. This time, however, something is different. Alice has brought her family for counseling because she is worried about her daughter's sadness and anxiety, and is equally concerned with her son's irritability and anger outbursts. "She is not only experiencing intermittent anxiety and grief but also scared about her ability to cope" (Laureate Education, 2014). Sara exhibits a range of concerning behaviors in which she appears to be very shy and reserved. She feels sad because her mother and brother had been physically aggressive towards one another and she misses her dad. Sara experiences fear in which she worries that her dad will get hurt in the Marine. Sara expressed that her brother was stupid for yelling and fighting with their mom. She drew her brother`s red hair and an orange horn that represents his stupidity. Sara also drew her mother`s red hair for being so angry and yelling a lot. She becomes agitated and feels lonely when her mother and brother have the verbal and physical altercation. The two techniques the counselor used with Sara was play therapy and rephrasing. The counselor used play therapy to facilitate communication. As they begin to draw, Sara was able to express her feelings and emotions that were difficult to reveal previously. Once she began to speak about the situation, the counselor validates Sara feelings. Play therapy helps support children and develops a new way of thinking and behaving. According to Dorlee, "Play therapy is a type of mental health counseling that allows children to use a specially designed means to facilitate expression of emotions and feelings. In play therapy, children can take control of the therapy experience by choosing to play and talk" (Dorlee, 2017). The counselor also uses rephrasing so that the victim would be aware that the counselor is listening and understanding what they are saying. As the counselor was rephrasing her statements, this gave Sara the opportunity to clarify her meaning.
On the other hand, Rick appears to be uninterested and angry during counseling. At the beginning of the video, Rick began texting on his phone, and the counselor had to redirect him by asking him to put up his phone. The counselor then notices a red mark on Rick's arm near his elbow. Rick reported that he fell off a skateboard. He seems to be mad and agitated due to his father being deployed and absent temporarily in his life. Rick fears that his father could be hurt or even killed. He gets upset when his mother becomes emotional. The counselor uses the strength perspective to help focus on Rick abilities, experience, intelligence, and positive qualities that would help positive changes and solve problems. The counselor stated that the mother reported he has been doing well in school, adjusting to a lot of changes, and a good athlete. As the counselor validates Rick feelings, he uses empathy to enhance the worker-client relationship. The counselor conveys that he understood Rick evidence by demonstrating agrees with Rick`s sentiments. In this particular case, Rick needs a male to process with because his father is apparently away. Therefore, that will support him to overcome the challenges he is undergoing. Empathy also made the conversation less hostile.
The big ethical issue, in this case, was physical aggression and decision making for both the mother and brother. Based on the family patterns, they are very emotional due to their spouse/paternal absence that has a significant impact on the family well-being. "Family systems theory, sometimes called family emotional systems theory, provides a comprehensive framework for understanding how the emotional ties within families of origin influence people throughout their lives" (Bowen, 1978; Kerr & Bowen, 1988; Titelman, 1998). I would be able to choose the intervention by focusing on the major concept of family system theory that is anxiety and the family emotional system. According to Georgetown Family Center, "all family systems experience varying levels of anxiety, just as individuals do. Four relationship patterns that tend to foster family problems include marital conflict, problematic emotional functioning in one spouse, the emotional impairment of a child, or emotional fusion in which two members distance themselves from each other to reduce the intensity of their relationship" (Georgetown Family Center, 2001).
Bowen, M. (1978). Family therapy in clinical practice. New York: Jason Aronson.
Dorlee, M. (2017). Play Therapy: Healing Through Therapy. Retrieved from: http://www.socialwork.career/2015/08/play-therapy-healing-through-play.htmlLaureate Education (Producer). 2014. Getting Started [Interactive media]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
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