Constructive Action Sociology Helping System, Term Paper Example

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Term Paper

Education is now considered a right. This said it is also very important aspect in the psychological development of a child. Education is seen as a way of breaking generational poverty. Programs have been developed to address the psychological barriers that prevent children in these situations break free of the self-defeating misconceptions ‘poverty mentality’. This paper looks at my interaction with such a program. It will also show the philosophical and emotional out comes of such programs on client (Antonio).This paper is to enlighten one regarding the one on one skills relationship and to provide the history of the relationship with its negative or positive role with the client, agency and community. The paper will also clarify the helper and helped system along with the interaction that takes place between those systems. In addition, the paper will identify some of the target systems that provide resources and the action that takes place as a result of the relationship and the target systems.

Conservatism, Libertarianism, Liberal and Radical are often terms used in political and social philosophy. Conservatism  promotes status quo i.e. would like to maintain the existing systems, traditional institutions and would like, at best, only a minimal change in society. Libertarianism is in stark contrast to conservatism and holds to promote or maximize individual liberties. In US politics libertarians are those who hold conservative positions on the economic issues while at the same time hold liberal positions on social issues that face society.

Liberals belong to the liberalism ideology which has a strong belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights, these individuals therefore support individual freedoms like that of speech, religion, elections, democracy etc. Radicals on the other hand are those who seek to make fundamental changes to the existing ways or institutions, while Radicals in political philosophy can be towards the right (those who oppose socialism, communism and are extremely conservative) while there is another radical left wing (those who support egalitarianism and are competing for the system to move towards a classless society).

All these terminologies can be used to assess ideas or projects that are undertaken by the federation or private organizations. They are mainly used in terms of politics and serve as an interesting means of analyzing particular ventures.

The Harlem Children’s Zone project is the initiative of Geoffrey Canada and is aimed “at nothing less than breaking the cycle of generational poverty for the thousands of children and families it serves” (Harlem Children’s Zone website). Aimed at children from the Harlem neighborhood, the project extends to 100 blocks and is comprehensive in terms of the fact that it aims to keep children on track through college and into the job market. While the current size of the project is about 60 blocks, it aims to build up to the 100 block mark and serve a neighborhood which has ineffective civic organizations, religious institutions and public education to say the least. Coupled with that is the fact that area has one of the highest crime rates and poverty which leads a lot of children to opt out of school and turn to a life of crime. Very few of these children grow up to realize their full potential which is why this initiative aims to develop a solution that incorporates not only education but also the society in which these children grow up.

The one-on-one relationship discussed   herein is between the helper, Tracey Witcher, and the client Antonio.  This is a psychotherapeutic relationship in which they are bound to change through the therapeutic venture (Corey, 2009).   Recent statistics state that over one third of the black  population in the United States’ is below 18 years of age and the bulk of this population resides in urban areas, exposing the youth to risk factors that make them prone to drug and substance abuse, violence, alienation, difficulties socializing, and other risks factors (Adair, 2010).  Antonio has stated that his father is not around and his relationship with his mother is not as good as it should be.  He also indicated that he blames himself for getting into trouble. He stated he likes talking with the helper because he used to felt like a turtle and now he feels he is able to slowly come out of his shell, which indicates feelings of alienation subsiding and the beginnings of healthy attempts at socialization.  The session began as Antonio was asked the question what made him feel like he was in a shell? Anotonio replied, “he did not have anyone that would listen and understand his feelings.” This indicated feelings of a lack of empathy in his surroundings. Through observation, it was evident Antonio has a hard time making eye contact while expressing his feelings and concerns.

Education is viewed as an important aspect of a child’s life and is regarded as an imperative characteristic of the psychological development of the child, primarily because the majority of children spend most of their time in school (Lam, 2006). The scholastic environment, including factors like a supportive school atmosphere and the classroom context as well as language barriers, were determined to be directly related to student’s self-perceptions (Lam, 2006; Bai, 1995).  As our understanding of how children learn has grown, the many ways we teach children has also improved.  The scholastic environment is intended to act as a cushion and protects the psychological well-being of children as they develop (Lam, 2006).  Research has indicated that a teacher’s effect on their students is often the result of the students’ psychological responses to the teacher’s behavior (Wei, Brok & Zhou, 2009).  Studies have shown that children can begin learning from birth and as they age and grow, their ability to learn new ideas and concepts also grows (Sharp, Ward, and Hankin, 2009).

The primary goal of the early childhood educator is to meet the child’s needs in “culturally and developmentally appropriate ways” (Morrison, 2009).  Fostering a positive relationship with the family also helps the teacher develop the best and most effective individualized plan for the child’s care and education (Sorte, Daeschel, & Amador, 2011, p.7).  However, when students feel as though their status amongst their peers and in the eyes of their teacher is that of an outcast, this can create significant psychological barriers as well as feelings of anger.  These interactions create alternative perspectives by which the helper can re-examine their approach to assessing the child based on the child’s family background and their cultural diversity (Norris, 2010).  This is especially relevant to anger issues like Antonio’s, which seems to be based on feelings of caste rejection and an inability to transition successfully into his social environment (Chen, Kyle, & McIntyre, 2008).

In this helping plan was believed that the functional interview assessment was best in helping Antonio because various questions that he answered revealed deep seated issues that helped the interviewer develop reasons as to the core reason that He is displaying certain behaviors. He was able to tell how he has to take his younger siblings to the childcare facility before coming to school. He also has another sibling that he has to pick up from school sometimes at the request of his mother. Simultaneously, his mother is often not at home for extended hours, which puts Johns in charge of the house. When he’s mother is home, he makes every available effort to get outside so that he can play with his friends. Also, he’s father left the home and went back to Mali, Africa. He’s view of his own life suggested that he is often too occupied with taking care of his siblings to do homework.

Through the helping sessions, Antonio conveys information about how happy he was to receive a B on his math test.  He stated that he sought help with his math after school and realized it paid off.  Antonio indicated how reluctant he initially was about asking teachers for help because he did not want to seem like a dummy, indicating there was a synergy between his perceptions of those who sought assistance and inferiority. The helper made suggestions on how to suppress anger while angry, to go for a walk and take deep breaths before reacting in uncomfortable situations.  Antonio was conscientious of making eye contact while talking to helper and also stated he is making progress with his mother and had talked with her this week to inform her he is in helping sessions to be a better person.

I chose the Person-in-Environment (PIE) model so that through dialogue between me and Antonio some issues that may cause Antonio to act aggressive or angry may be highlighted.  Person-in-Environment (PIE) – In helping to understand the consumer better I will use the PIE model to examine Antonio behavior and story. The PIE model is a tool that helps practitioners collect relevant assessment information about the client’s environment (i.e social role, environmental problems, mental health, physical health) for the purpose of developing a treatment plan (Cormier, Nurius, & Osborn, 2009).

In prior sessions, Antonio’s appearance was more carefree and   typical of teenage adolescents in that his pants were hanging below his waist. However, following the initial sessions, there was a phase transition in his appearance, behavior, and   self-perceptions.  He wore a belt and was neatly dressed without prior discussions about his appearance, stating that he was trying to change the way he looked.  Antonio stated the changes were positive for him and he felt good about himself and especially good about coming out of the shell he was in. He indicated that he had a positive perception about working with a therapist, and was starting to feel comfortable. Antonio stated   he was uncomfortable in the past talking about anything so openly and began to convey that he had ingested paint as a child, which was the reason his speech was slow.  He stated the lead from  the paint poisoned his blood stream and as a result, part of his brain was damaged.  Antonio stated from a child up to now, he receives special education assistance during his time in school and was teased all through school. The caste discrimination he experienced as a result of being in special education could also be a source of Antonio’s anger issues and feelings.

The successful execution of qualitative therapeutic treatment requires the me to take into consideration what their clients are thinking, feeling, and doing, and design a comprehensive system of care that will allow all of these needs and aspects to be addressed.  While the issues related to Antonio’s difficulties are not unique, the source of the problematic thoughts, experiences, and emotional reactions are singular to each person and should be assessed and  treated as a distinctive attribute, but in the context of how it relates to his relationships and ability to successfully and positively interact with the people in his life.  Although much empirical research has been considered, there are still many facets of relational dynamics that are open to examination so methods to help patients overcome emotional obstacles that are interfering with their ability to form and maintain healthy relationships can be improved.  As indicated by Anderson (2008), “a working alliance focuses on the collaborative relationship between the client and the counsellor, as well as the ability of both to negotiate treatment goals and tasks that are appropriate to the relationship” (p.13) and this is necessary in order to be able to successfully implement the indicated praxis.

Problem Conceptualization; Problem conceptualization is defined as mental activity on the part of the helper; the helper considers what information to obtain, methods for acquiring the information, as well as putting all elements together so as to generate a hypothesis regarding the consumer’s problems, which ultimately provides clues for treatment planning.  (Cormier, Nurius, & Osborn, 2009). This helping plan is based on the life experience of a 12 year old inner city African American youth that goes by the pseudonym John Doe Jr. Upon the initial assessment Antonio appeared bright and aware of himself and his surroundings. He is the oldest sibling in his single parent female headed household. During the initial assessment he often referred to his mother and siblings in a caring manner. However, school and neighborhood  authorities have made many complaints to John’s mother concerning  Antonio’s constant defiance, disrespect to adults and authorities, failing grades, and prevalent displays of anger in his personality.

Identify the differences between your agency perspectives and the societal perspective, and discuss these differences in relation to your community as either positive or negative

The community perspective concerning children like Antonio is that they are problematic and have no future, and, in this respect, there is a synergy between the communal and societal perspectives.  However, it is the duty of the helper to facilitate healing through a process of genuine dialogue with the helpee and, in assisting the therapist to this end, the cognitive behavioural therapeutic approach supports the therapist’s ability to “highlight the necessity of learning how to challenge dysfunctional beliefs and automatic thoughts that lead to behavioural problems” (Corey 2009, pp.10-11). The cognitive behavioural approach helps the analyst steer the patient towards achieving feelings of acceptance, mindfulness, attention, or values to enable them to alter their self-defeating misconceptions so they can create new behavioural schema (Hayes, Vilatte, Levin, & Hildebrandt, 2011).  Another therapeutic approach supporting these goals is the Family Therapy model, which “stresses the importance of understanding individuals in the context of the surroundings that influence their development”, which is why the helper incorporated elements of familiar relationships in the helping sessions (Corey 2009, p.11).

Glossary

Alienation – This term has a wide variety of definitions. We consider that, fundamentally, it describes a state in which a person does not experience a synergistic linkage with a system (or component) that is significant to the person.

Caste – A fixed, distinctive and disadvantaged social status based upon the circumstances of one’s ancestry, identification, skin color, or cultural tradition, Hindu “untouchables” are the most frequently cited example, but any relatively rigid social class structure may have one or more groups with low social status an impermeable boundaries.

Empathy – The term translates as “feeling with.” It is the capacity to interpret and respond to other persons’ emotions and actions based upon one’s own experience (schemas).

Phase transition – from one steady-state to another, marked by significantly altered characteristics.

Praxis – putting theory into practice, or the application of skill or talent in carrying out a program (not identical to action” or practice”). In Marxian thought, praxis is a revolutionary, aimed at fundamental change in values or social arrangements.

Schema – precisely use, this is Piaget’s term for a single complex, or nexus, or associated responses that a person is capable of making. These responses or behaviors, accumulate through experience, and are integrated into larger wholes as the person develops. We use the term to mean to integrated knowledge, experience, and interpretations that underline any system’s responses.

Socialization – one form of social control intended to assure availability of components’ energies to the system. The means to achieve this are primarily through assimilating the culture. Hence, education, indoctrination, and enculturation are forms of socialization.

Status – a vertical dimension of ranking; it may be ascribed (assigned by society) or achieved (attained by dint of individual or group activity).

Synergy – increasing the amount of energy available in a system through increased interaction of the components. Loosely, it may be described as the creation of new energy through compounding the actions of parts, but this is a moot point in systems theory.

References

Adair, V.C. (2010), Poverty and the (broken) promise of education, Harvard Educational Review, 71(2), pp. 217-239

Anderson, R.S. (2008). Counselor gender self-confidence and social influence in counseling: Counselor perceptions of the therapeutic alliance. A dissertation presented to the faculty of the College of Education of Ohio University. Retrieved from http://etd.ohiolink.edu/send-pdf.cgi/Anderson%20Ruthann%20Smith.pdf?ohiou1213109004

Bai, X.S. (1995). Adapting to a new environment: the problems facing Hong Kong youth. Beijing University of Foreign Language.

Chen, C…T., Kyle, D.W.; & McIntyre, E. (2008). Helping Teachers Work Effectively with English Language Learners and Their Families. School Community Journal, 18(1), pp.7-20. [online] Available from ERIC Database, document ID (EJ798678). [Accessed 30 October 2011]

Corey, G. (2009). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. (8th ed.). California: Thomson Higher Education

Hayes, S.C., Villatte, M., Levin, M. & Hildebrandt, M. (2011). Open, aware, and active: Contextual approaches as an emerging trend in the behavioral and cognitive therapies. Annu. Rev. Clin. Psychol, 7, pp.1-48. doi: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032210-104449. Retrieved from http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/8446968/1212454009/name/Hayes+et+al.+ARCP+2011.pdf

Irl Carter. (2011). Human Behavior In The Social Environmenti. Piscataway: Rutgers – The State University.

Lam, S.C. (2006). Hong Kong primary students’ perception of satisfaction with their schools. University of Hong Kong [online] Available at: <http://hdl.handle.net/10722/51395> [Accessed 30 October 2011].

Morrison, G. (2009). Early childhood education today. 11th ed. New Jersey: Pearson.

Norris, K.E.L., 2010. Beyond the Textbook: Building Relationships between Teachers and Diversely-Structured Families. Multicultural Education, 18(1), pp.48-50. [online] Available from ERIC Database, doi: EJ916846 [Accessed 30 October, 2011].

Sharp, J. Ward, S. and Hankin, L. 2009. Education studies: An issue based approach. UK: Learning Matters

Sorte, J., Daeschel, I., and Amador, C. 2011. Nutrition, health and safety for young children. New Jersey: Pearson.

Wei, M., Brok P.D., & Zhou, Y. (2009).  Teacher interpersonal behavior and student achievement in English as a Foreign Language classrooms in China. Learning Environ Res, 12, pp.157–174.

Whatever It Takes.A White Paper on the Harlem’s Children Zone. Retrieved 28 January, 2012 from http://www.hcz.org/images/storiesHCZ%20White%20Paper.pdf

Harlem Children’s Zone. Changing the Odds: Learning from the Harlem Children’s Zone Model. Retrieved 27 January 2012 from http://www.hcz.org/conference2009

Harlem Children’s Zone. Company Website. Retrieved 26th January 2012 from http://www.hcz.org

Cormier, S., & Nurius, P. (2003).  Interviewing  and change strategies for helpers (5th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA:  Thomson-Brooks/Cole.

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