Case Study of Logotherapy
Dee, is a 34 year-old, single, white female, who lives in the Midwest. She works as a group home supervisor for head-injured adults. She has recently lost her father (please be specific I am assuming her father died), ended a domestic relationship (did she end it, the partner or was it a mutual decision?), and has taken a leave of absence in order to "get herself together" after experiencing conflicts at her job. Dee initially comes to therapy as a requirement of getting her request for a three- month family leave of absence approved. Dee says that she is experiencing hopelessness, outbursts of anger and frustration over what she describes as "little things, like other people driving too slow, a broken shoe, or the computer messing up." She says, "I feel so bad because even though I don't act like this in front of other people, I even scare my dog! But I just can't help it, and it's getting worse." She adds, "Especially when I drink." Dee feels "overwhelmed with everything," and she says, "I don't see the point of anything right now." She has been approved for a family leave due to the death of her father. Although seeing a therapist was initially a requirement, Dee, wants to continue the therapy once a week until her leave is over. Session One
Existentially oriented psychotherapy might be ideal for Dee. However, in light of her self reported drinking, the therapist asks how often Dee engages in drinking, in order to determine whether or not this is a critical issue. Dee reports that she finds herself drinking mostly with friends, about once per week. Dee reports further, "But when I do go out, it depends. Sometimes, like if I'm drinking to get drunk, things really do get out of hand because I'll drive that way or I'll make a scene sometimes." The therapist asks Dee to elaborate and when she does, the therapist addresses her own reactions to the issue directly. The therapist expresses concern and asks Dee to consider attending an AA group meeting or an Al-Anon group meeting as well as make contract not to drive while intoxicated. Although group therapy is suggested by the therapist in order to directly address what may be critical and dangerous current behavior, group therapy is also suggested in this case in order to aid in helping Dee become aware of how her behavior is viewed by others (Yalom, 1980). In addition to addressing this initial and potentially critical issue, the therapist continues to focus on building being authentic with Dee. The therapist asks Dee to determine her goal in therapy and is, in this way, preparing Dee to identify her "ultimate concern" (May & Yalom, 2005, p.281) in future sessions. As Dee describes her current behavior and her current experience, she shares that she is extremely distraught about the loss of her father. The therapist compliments Dee's courage in acknowledging those feelings and her ability to share them. Session Two
Dee shares that her father was an alcoholic, and that he was cold and critical to everyone in the family, including Dee while growing up. She says, "But about a year ago, I almost got in a car wreck, and I thought, I can't die without ever being close to my dad at all.' So, I wrote him a letter and I think that we at least made some steps. So, I feel better because I had put out an effort and things did improve a little bit." The therapist asks Dee to share how she deals with her distraught feelings and to elaborate on how the letter and subsequent improvement of the relationship affects her now. For example, the therapist asks, "Did you see him any differently after that and now?" and "Did you feel that he saw you differently?" The therapist uses this as a way to guide Dee in connecting her behavior with her perceptions of her experience in the world. Dee says that it made her feel like she "did her part." The therapist will identify this and continue to compliment and...