Margaret and Family, Case Study Example

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Case Study

Back ground information

The client, Margaret is a 27 year old woman, an employee and a mother of two. Her son James is 9 years old and her daughter is 3 years old. The father of her children was unnamed by the client, however, she mentioned that it was her former relationship and now she has a boyfriend L.J, the age of whom was not mentioned. Margaret’s mother is an employee as well and supports Margaret’s family. Margaret’s father died a year ago. The therapist believes that this case has to do with imbalance in the four fundamental elements of behavior formation, i.e. the environment, the education, the culture as well as the hereditary inputs. The above applies especially to Margaret’s children, James and Miranda. Thus, it is recommended that the family would need initial screening which can be done by interviewing the identified subject, i.e. the family members and others, before proceeding to recommend proper counseling and therapies necessary.

Case History

Margaret claims that she is not happy with the situation of both of children and more seriously about James who according to her had not been performing well in academics due to bad company. Margaret fears that James is likely to go for drugs and bad company. Margaret’s daughter, Miranda is hyperactive unusually for the kids of her age and her mischief seems to be too much for Margaret. Adding to this, Margaret has critical financial issues and has to pay her bills with hardship. Margaret was asking for help if something can be done to fix the situation with regards to her children, i.e. James and Miranda. Particularly, Margaret was asking if any drug can be administered to Miranda to reduce her hyperactivity. However, given that using such medication is likely to have side effects on Miranda’s health, the therapist negates the same. As for James, his behavior might possibly be because of the family conditions and disturbances in Margaret’s relationships. Although, Margaret believes that both her children need therapy, the therapist is of the opinion that she certainly needs family counseling to repair her relationship problems as well as the financial uncertainties associated with her case. As can be seen, the family has disturbing relationships background involving adult disorganization and certain other social problems. For every child, the environment and surrounding of being brought up, are utmost important as they form the basis of his her character (Butler & McManus, 2011). Here, one must observe that Margaret’s children do not have the right surroundings.

Problem areas and discussion

The information related to Margaret’s previous relationship was not furnished. Hence, it will be helpful if we have the details of her previous relationship and Margaret’s mother can be consulted to give these details. The age of L.J is not mentioned; hence that detail will be helpful to analyze the behavioral attributes of L.J. The therapist will need more details of Margaret’s family members, i.e. her mother and her sister and how they view Margaret’s current crisis. Margaret emphasizes on her children’s behavioral crisis from her point of view, so the therapist will have to articulate the causes for the abnormal behavior of the children. It is also to be noted that the safety of Margaret’s children is also an arguable question as L.J is mean to the family as Margaret herself admitted to it. Hence, the above problem should also be considered.

At one instance, Margaret mentioned that her boyfriend was mean to the family at times, so further information on what were the actions of L.J that seemed “mean” should be asked to Margaret. Margaret should be interviewed on her boyfriend and her behavioral alterations should be noted while she is answering. Moreover, Margaret’s mother and sister should also be asked to give their viewpoints on the relationship between L.J and Margaret. More information about James should be obtained from the school authorities, such as his performance card, attendance, etc. What does James really think of L.J? What was James’s association with his father? Answers to the above questions can be obtained from James. One important person to be interviewed is the husband/previous boyfriend of Margaret through the medium of either Margaret’s mother or sister. The previous husband of Margaret holds the key to the case, hence it is to be articulated whether he is willing for re-integrating with Margaret’s family.

Margaret’s sister is another important person to be interviewed to obtain more information about Miranda’s hyperactive behavior and can help the therapist in deciding the type of treatment for her. Margaret’s mother is another important interviewee as she cares for the family and can provide important observations on the case samples. Further, a friend of Margaret should also be available for interview so that any supplementary information about her habits, etc. can be obtained, it should be preferably from the club she works at.

The therapist would also need the help of certain important documents; they include medical documents, biographical inventories of the family, its demographic details, the history of the family from which Margaret comes, the financial status of the family, the educational details of the family members, documents related to mental illness of any family members if it ever existed as well as physical illness details (Butler & McManus, 2011). If there is any access to subjective information related to Margaret that will be of critical use. Any other information regarding substance/drug abuse can be obtained from medical history of respondents. In addition, any anecdotes, etc. related to Margaret or any other respondents would be quite useful. In addition, the therapist seeks to know the age and other demographical details of LJ.

Now, to this case, the therapist believes that the basic principles of ethics and moral boundaries should be employed to assist Margaret realize where the problem is and what can be done. Hence, the following interview questions were developed for the concerned identities within the case are devised alongside the possible responses and the rationale for choosing those questions is presented as well.

Table 1: Interview questions model

S. No Question Subject Question Type Anticipated Answer & Rationale
1. Regarding L.J, what did you imply when you mentioned his behavior was “mean”? Any examples Margaret Close-ended “He is rude when he is drunk, asks for money”. Margaret is likely to back L.J even though he was “mean” at times as she was backing him in her story as well. Her expressions will be keenly observed when she is answering.
2. What is your job at the club and when do you come back home daily? Margaret Open-ended “I am a server”, I come back home at about 12.00 in the night.
3. Can you furnish anything about your previous relationship? What was wrong with it? (If it is personal, please ignore). Margaret Open-ended A hesitant answer is expected, Margaret might not speak more. Her expressions and feelings would be keenly observed and noted.
4. Do you have any plans of marrying L.J? Margaret Close-ended She might say “No”, as L.J is not a serious man and has no earning. It will be clear whether L.J is capable of supporting the family and children
5. Did you consume alcohol during the pregnancy of child, Miranda? Margaret Close-ended If it “yes”, then alcohol consumption during pregnancy has serious implications on the child as she might develop cognitive problems due neurological impairment (Davis & Palladino, 2004).
6. Was your labor stressful? (during the birth of Miranda) Margaret Close-ended If it is “Yes”, then Miranda is likely to develop cognitive and behavioral disorders due to lack of oxygen during stressful labors.
7. Did you take James previously to any mental counseling? If so, please furnish those documents. Margaret Close-ended If it is “yes”, then those reports would be of help and it will be clear as to how James responded.
8. What is your opinion on L.J? Margaret’s mother Open-ended Her opinion on L.J would make it clear about the behavioral attributes of L.J
9. Does L.J cause any trouble to the family? Margaret’s mother Close-ended If it is “Yes”, then there is trouble with L.J’s relationship with Margaret
10. Please tell me about your daughter’s previous relationship? Margaret’s mother Open-ended Her opinion on Margaret’s previous relationship would provide details of her previous husband and could bridge the gap
11. Why did they break up? Margaret’s mother Open-ended Provides more information on what went wrong with Margaret and her ex, and can make up for re-uniting them
12. Please furnish the contact details of Margaret’s ex-husband. Margaret’s mother Open-ended The contact details of ex-husband will be helpful for negotiating on re-uniting their ties
13. How many friends do you have? How often do you go out with them? James Open-ended Information about his friends and their outings would through light on James outdoor activities
14. What do you not like at school? James Open-ended Given insight into James’s interest in studies or whether he has any other specific interests
15. What do you do when at home? James Open-ended “Watching television or just being idle”. If an answer such as the above is obtained it gives into James’s behavior when he is alone
16. Whom do you like to be with? L.J or your dad? James Close-ended If it is his dad, then the relationship will need a reunion as James wishes to be with his father
17. What’s wrong with Miranda’s behavior? Margaret’s sister Close-ended Gives insight into the character traits and the abnormal behavior of Miranda
18. Is sister drinking heavily? Margaret’s sister Close-ended If it is “yes”, then Margaret will need counseling
19. What kind of a person was your sister’s ex-husband? Margaret’s sister Open-ended Provides more information on Margaret’s husband and if her response is similar to the response of her mother, it can be validated.
20. Did your sister or any other family member have history of drug abuse? Margaret’s sister Close-ended Provides about the information which cannot be directly obtained from Margaret.

The following ethics as studied within the provided material were applied to the case as hereunder:

Ethical considerations

The above identified subjects would be screened and their behavioral attributes would be assessed with consideration to ethics studied. Firstly, Margaret would be given consent form for obtaining necessary information and full information with regards to medical, biological and family history. Margaret should also give her consent to communicate freely with any or every family member identified as subject. In addition, each of the family members chosen as subject should be given consent forms and should be obtained permission to be interviewed with cooperation in this regard. According to (Fawcett & Neukrug, 2010), therapists should also explain the assessment procedures to the client; hence Margaret along with other subjects would be explained in brief the assessment procedures adopted. In addition, any information obtained from the subject will be kept confidential as confidentiality should be adhered to while dealing with sensitive issues as also the general issues (Cooper & Schindler, 2006). Parents’ permission for underage subjects should also be obtained.

Privacy of the subjects will not be, in any circumstance, invaded and their responses will no way reflect their identities. Essentially, there are three fundamental types of ethics as studied within the material supplied, i.e. the consequential ethics, non-consequential and the virtue ethics. The ethics to be followed within this case mentioned in the above paragraph fall under any of the three ethics types mentioned. Consequential ethics assess whether an action is ethical basing on its consequence (Tubbs & Moss, 2000). In this case for instance, if Margaret refuses to undergo counseling, court’s insistence for the same can be obtained as the consequence of not undergoing treatment might negatively impact her. Non-consequential ethics rely on fundamentally established structures such as religion, culture, etc. (Wood, 2010, p.27). Here, Margaret’s religion, beliefs, etc. can be used to impose certain societal beliefs to abide by moral living. Another instance would be that the therapist should not give same treatment to all subjects as their behavior and sensitivity to treatment differs. Virtue ethics are the actions that would take place to strive for common good (Weiten, 1995), for instance, the therapist should serve each of the subjects unconditionally with the same extent of adhering to ethical guidelines regardless of their economic and social status.

Other than the subjects mentioned to be interviewed, the therapist would like to interview a friend of Margaret to have a better insight into her life at the club. In addition, by obtaining the contact of her husband through any of the subjects, he would be requested for interview session. As interviewing the husband can fill in many gaps would progress towards reuniting the family. The therapist believes that disturbed family relationships along with adult disorganization and lack of childcare attention have disturbed the life of James.

Conclusions and Recommendations

In conclusion, the subjects that would need counseling are, James, Margaret, and Miranda. James would need child therapy at least two hours per week. James will also need care from Margaret’s sister and mother who will be crucial in reconstructing his social life. James will also need encouragement from his school faculty for improving his studies. Family therapy is recommended for Margaret and her husband to reunite them and resolve their relationship issues. Miranda would require physical tests for assessing whether she has behavioral and cognitive disorders due to Margaret’s pregnancy period and related issues. Miranda and James are recommended for IQ tests. Miranda should not be given the hyperactivity reducing drugs mentioned by Margaret as she is not of legal age for drug administration. Moreover, the medication recommended by Margaret is likely to have side-effects, hence, such medication is not recommended by the therapist. Margaret’s sister and mother should share the responsibility of repairing the family’s adult disorganization and relationship issues. Adult disorganization can have negative impact on child growth and psychology and can go to any extent of even developing anarchist ideas in children (Davis & Palladino, 2004). The above indication is clear in James as his activities reflect the development of recklessness and being drawn to situations resulting from idleness. Hence, it is important the children need proper company and companionship more importantly with their mother. The family surely needs male support and hence the current relationship issues have to be resolved through proper family counseling from experts. The family would also need financial support and hence opportunities can be suggested. One good opportunity based on Margaret’s education would be to recommend her for a freelance opportunity as she can stay at home, spend time with children yet manage to earn for the family. Margaret can be a home maker of suitable choice to resolve the disturbances in the current scenario of her family.

References

Butler, G., & McManus, F. (2011). Psychology: A brief insight. Sterling.

Cooper, D. R., & Schindler, P. S. (2006). Business Research Methods. McGraw-Hill.

Davis, S. F., & Palladino, J. J. (2004). Psychology. London: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Neukrug, E. S., & Fawcett, R. C. (2010). Essentials of testing an assessment. California: Cengage Learning.

Tubbs, S.L. & Moss, S. (2000) Human Communication. 10th Edition. NY, NY: McGraw-Hill Publishing.

Weiten, W. (1995). Psychology: Themes and variations. Brooks/Cole Pub. Co.

Wood, J.T. (2010). Interpersonal Communication Everyday Encounters 6th Edition. Chapel Hill, NC: Thomson Wadsworth Publishing.

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