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Studies of Psychological Cases, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 890

Essay

The causes of Jennifer’s stress are her inability to have a baby, her constant strive for perfection at work, the contemplation of putting her father in a nursing home against his wishes, the inability to keep up with household chores, feeling tired and overwhelmed (yet insisting that she is happy and not feeling stressed).

A major factor in Jennifer’s predicament is denial.  This is an ego mechanism.  According to psychologist Dr. Christopher  L. Heffner, “It is the ego’s job to satisfy the id’s impulses, not offend the moralistic character of the superego, while still taking into consideration the reality of the situation (2001).”   Jennifer is a 29-year-old administrative assistant and owns a marketing company.  She is a leader and role model who is intelligent, motivated, organized, and results oriented.  Therefore, she has probably relied on her intellect – focusing on the details of running her business or the factors relating to her health issues – instead of acknowledging the discomfort, sadness, or grief she is experiencing.

Self-concept is a multi-dimensional construct that refers to an individual’s perception of “self” in relation to others.  So, Jennifer is probably feeling like a failure in her personal life, since she was unable to have a child and since she is unable to attend to her father’s needs effectively (i.e. – putting him in a nursing home).  Additionally, her inability to have a child may make her feel like less of a woman.  Self-esteem is defined as a person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth.  It encompasses beliefs and emotions.  Jennifer may be thinking that she is not a good person or that she is not competent.

The situation illustrates adjustment by suppression.  Jennifer focuses on her career and tries to forget that something is causing her anxiety.   This could become an opportunity for personal growth by Jennifer acknowledging her true feelings.  Unlike being the head of her company, she can not always control everything that happens to her.  But, she can decide what actions to take to deal with it effectively (behavioral therapy).

Behavioral therapy is “basically interested in how our behavior results from the stimuli both in the environment and within ourselves. . .  what motivates us to change or remain the same.  They, study, often in minute detail, the behaviors we exhibit while controlling for as many other variables as possible.”

Jennifer is using denial and intellectualization as a defensive coping mechanism. Her active coping mechanisms are going to the doctor numerous times over the last six months, complaining of headaches, backaches, and indigestion.  All of these are physical symptoms, but her doctor can not find and physical cause for her discomfort.

Relaxation Therapy might be healthier because she will be acknowledging that there is a psychological problem manifesting as physical conditions (mind/body connection).  Obviously, Jennifer is tense. Relaxation refers to “focusing on the mind and a relaxing of the body’s muscles. Research has shown that being too tense and/or living with too much stress has a significant negative impact on our lives. It can lead to physical illnesses such as high blood pressure, ulcers, fatigue,  headaches, and many psychological issues. . . including misdirected emotions, confusion, difficulty concentrating, and burn-out (2001).”  Also, Jennifer should consider using stress management.

The Dogmatism Personality Theory explains that as human beings, we seem to have a natural conservative tendency.  We stick to what has worked in the past.  And if we devote our lives to developing a personality theory, if we have devoted our time and energy to it, we can be extremely defensive (as described by Freud).

Dogmatic people do not allow for questions, doubts, or new information.  Telltale signs include how they deal with critics. They will tend to make circular arguments. They insist on proof.  Jennifer is very intelligent. However, she is not accepting the information her body is giving her.

Jennifer is in the initial stages of development of depression.  Symptoms include significant loss of interest in pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable, agitation or slowing down of thoughts and reduction of physical movements, fatigue and loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt, and poor concentration of having difficulty making decisions.

Her success in business, her age (young), and her sense of responsibility (everyone is counting on me) might affect her perspective.  In the past, she was in total control.  But, now, things are not happening according to plan.  Jennifer is not yet 30.  So, she has plenty of options and opportunities yet to be experienced.  Her ego will not allow for her to experience a public failure.

The relationship factors that might be influencing Jennifer’s problems are Antonio’s parents asking Jennifer is she is expecting again, hoping to encourage her to have her next baby.  I’m sure they have good intentions (positive reinforcement), but it only makes Jennifer feel worse because it is a constant reminder of what went wrong.  Jennifer is experiencing guilt about the prospect of facing her father in a nursing home against his wishes.Other relationships might include per professional contacts and employees who look up to her.

Although the passage did not state it, it can be assumed that her relationship with her husband, the primary relationship in her life, is under strain.  Another aspect is the cultural dimension.  Antonio is Italian and having a big family is a tradition.

References

Heffner, Christopher L.  Psychology 101. April 2001. Retrieved from www.allpsych.com/onlinetexts.html.

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