When treating psychological patients, there are many factors which need to be considered. In fact, depending on the problem, the context under which the evaluation takes place may influence the outcome of the evaluation. Looking for solutions to psychological problems, there are times when known relationships can be leveraged to make a difference. In this paper, the relationship between education and poverty, in light of psychological inquiry, will be considered, compared and contrasted within multiple contexts.
Social Change in Context:
Poverty and Education
During treatment, it is important to establish an open, honest relationship with the psychologist; however, often times a client may be embarrassed, or ashamed to be completely honest. For example, when an individual has not achieved even a minimal degree of education, say past grade school, or when an individual's financial situation places him/her below the poverty line. As clinicians, the way patients are treated, the advice they are given and ultimately the path chosen to move past illness may have a profound impact on the individual's life. As a result, many persons who are poverty stricken, or who have not gone through basic education training may choose not to reveal these facts for fear of being ridiculed. That is to say, persons who struggle financially, people who have not achieved in the world of academia may have a difficult time in treatment. Is difficulty cause by clinician bias? What about client bias? "Will the Psychologist understand the plight of someone in my situation"? "Will the psychologist treat me differently"? Surely the daily struggles of an individual who has concerns about paying for the next meal, or the daily grind of an individual who cannot read will impact the possibility for the individual to build and maintain a relationship, especially a relationship clinical in nature. Is it possible, however, the relationship between poverty and education goes deeper than what is on the surface? Lack of education and poverty, are they really two distinct problems?
In the United States, the term poverty is thrown around with absurd freedom. However, according the US Census Bureau, poverty is calculated quite precisely. To begin, poverty is computed by including: earnings, unemployment compensation, public assistance, pension or retirement income, alimony, child support along with various other sources; whereas many non-cash benefits are not counted, items such as: food stamps and housing subsidies (2005). Diagram 1, below, shows the calculations used to determine "poverty". From a clinician's perspective, if poverty can be described by the numbers below, is it likely an individual making $9,393 per year is going to spring for psychological treatment? Certainly it is not likely the individual will pay for treatment by his/her own volition. In the context of a family whose family income is at or around the mark determined by the US Census bureau, the first real problem is seen. How does an individual become considered for treatment?
Poverty Thresholds for 2003 by Size of Family and Number of Related Children Under 18 Years (Dollars)
WeightedRelated children under 18 years
Size of family unitaverage Eight
One person (unrelated individual).
Under 65 years....................
65 years and over.................
Householder under 65 years........
12,384 12,321 12,682
Householder 65 years and over...
11,133 11,122 12,634
Three persons....................... 14,680...