Topics: Family therapy, Family, Emotion Pages: 6 (2355 words) Published: October 9, 2014

D240 TMA 03


Therapeutic approaches to counselling have evolved over the last century as therapists’ attempt to help their clients’ resolve negative patterns of thoughts and emotions. Whilst fear and sadness are said to be naturally occurring human emotions that evolve and form part of ‘life and living’, society is becoming increasingly aware of the negative physiological implications of stress caused by changes in environmental conditions, and clients’ are encouraged to seek professional help before their emotions spiral out of control leading to anxiety and depression, and in some cases mental health concerns. Whilst different in their approaches, existential methods, person-centred and cognitive-behavioural therapy share the same objective. Through one-to-one therapy, in cooperation with the therapist, the individual receives feedback which perpetuates their improvement, empowering them to deal with their problems, to independently take control of feelings and emotions which fulfils their own expectations of life. The systemic approach in psychotherapy focuses not on the individual, but emphasises and takes into account the wider social context of living and how this relates to the client. These structures include their family origins, current relationships, work, and importantly culture. (Vossler, pg. 192). This essay will present Darren as a case study and show how important it is, as the therapist, to explore both systemic and sociocultural issues. I will look at different ways of working with Darren in order to help him with his problems. In doing so, I will consider if one-to-one counselling or family therapy would best suit him. I will explore if Darren’s neglected and adverse childhood is contributing to his present role within his family. I will discuss issues around Darren’s relationship with his girlfriend and child and look at how these relationships affect his current role with his family. I will look at different methods and techniques that may potentially help in addressing Darren’s problem of not feeling part of his family, and the reason for this. I will conclude this essay with a summary of my decisions as a counsellor working within the systematic approach, of what this essay has covered and my views on its functional acceptability in practice.

Darren is 39, a manual worker, born and raised in Nottingham by his biological mum and stepdad. He has a younger sister and he was raised by his parents up until the age of 7, at which time both Darren and his sister were rehomed with their grandparent’s. Darren’s relationship with his mum and stepdad was extremely destructive. They were heavy drinkers who argued constantly, and were physically violent to one another and consequently neglectful and physically abusive to their children. Darren no longer has any contact with his parents but sees his sister occasionally. Darren was referred for counselling by his GP after showing signs of becoming addicted to prescription medication and expressing that he felt worthless because he had no control within his relationship with his girlfriend and child. He has been in is current relationship for 7 years and they have a 4 year old boy. He has 2 other children aged 14, and 18 from 2 previous relationships who live with his ex-partners. He has no contact with these children. Darren and his girlfriend Jane use to drink heavily. When Jane became pregnant she gave up drinking completely. Darren started taking prescription medication after a back injury and is addicted to prescription drugs, often encouraging Jane to obtain prescription drugs for him from her GP. Jane supports Darren but regularly gives him ultimatums about stopping drugs. Finally, when Jane threatened to leave him, Darren decided to seek help for his addiction. His problem is that he feels like he is struggling to fit in within the family...

Bibliography: Vossler, A, 2010. D240 Understanding counselling and psychotherapy, Chapter 9 Systemic approaches. The Open University, Milton Keynes.
DVD D240 Understanding fear and sadness exert. Excerpt 14 Systemic counselling.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this assignment and hope it meets the expectation of the OU. I found it very difficult keeping to the word limit and have tried to reduce the word count over several sitting but gave up! I welcome comments from my tutor on where I waffled on; this will help with my EMA.
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