Introduction to Counseling Psychology

Alice is a 16-year-old single female who is three months pregnant. She seeks your advice concerning her pregnancy. She lives with her parents and her 15-year-old sister. She has not told her parents about the pregnancy and is concerned that, before long, they will find out. Her family has little money, and she is worried about having enough money to pay the medical expenses for the pregnancy and birth. Her parents do not have medical insurance. Alice has come to you because she feels depressed and “at the end of her rope.” She is looking for help. When you go to meet with her, she sobs throughout the interview and at times seems to whine.

Alice’s 36-year-old father Arnold is a part-time truck driver. Alice state that he has rigid views and tends to be rather “authoritarian.” She also thinks that he will “lose it” if he learns she is pregnant and will want to “take care of the situation” to make it go away. Although he has not physically abused her in the past two years, when she was younger he would often “take a belt to me.” At times he drinks too much, and there seem to be conflicts between him and his wife. He was married at age 18.

Alice states that her mother “cares a lot about me”; however, she also notes that her mother would never go against her father’s wishes. Alice’s mother Linda, who is 35 years old, works part-time at a fast food restaurant and is very concerned about her daughter’s well-being. Because she got married when she was pregnant with Alice, Alice thinks her mother will probably understand her situation.

Joan is Alice’s 15-year-old sister. Alice states that Joan is a good student, but sometimes acts like a “wise-ass.” She feels as if Joan has always received all of the attention in the family; and now that she is pregnant, Alice is concerned that she will be even more of an outcast. Alice notes that Joan has many friends and is often out of the house doing things rather than staying home with her “drunk dad” and her mom.

For this week’s assignment, decide whether you believe that Alice should be counseled individually or in family counseling and state why you made that decision. Try to address some of the following questions in your response and continue your discussion with at least two of your classmates.

Group Therapy:
Ed. Laurie J. Fundukian and Jeffrey Wilson. Vol. 1. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2008. p536-541.

Ed. Bonnie Strickland. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2001. p284-285. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale

Family Therapy:
Ed. Bonnie Strickland. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2001. p241-242. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale

Ed. Laurie J. Fundukian and Jeffrey Wilson. Vol. 1. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2008. p459-462.

1. From a systemic perspective, how might you describe Alice’s problems?

2. If you were viewing Alice’s situation from an individualistic perspective, would your understanding of Alice’s predicament change?

3. What risks are involved in working with Alice from a family perspective?

4. What risks are involved in working with Alice from an individualistic perspective?

5. How might you proceed if you were to work with Alice in family counseling?

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