Developing a Counseling Plan

Topics: Mark Wahlberg, Family therapy, Family Pages: 5 (1692 words) Published: September 15, 2013
Developing a Counseling Plan
Genna Bovinet
Walden University
Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories
Coun 6722-18

Developing a Counseling Plan
This paper focuses on a case study of famous actor/musician, Mark Wahlberg. Mark Wahlberg began a life of juvenile crime at age ten that culminated in his attempted murder arrest, and subsequent prison sentence, at the age of 16. The paper will explore his early life and family issues leading to his delinquent behavior as well as counseling theories and interventions that would be successful in treating a youth with similar difficulties. Case Study

Mark Wahlberg, known to many as Marky Mark, was born the youngest of nine children in a working class Irish Catholic family ("Mark Wahlberg biography," 2013). For Mark Wahlberg, trouble started when his parents divorced. He was eleven years old at the time and was deeply affected. The divorce took a detrimental toll on Mark’s mother, Alma, and she “has since blamed her own emotional neglect for her youngest son's descent into juvenile delinquency” (“Mark Wahlberg biography”, 2013). It was during this time that Mark’s older brothers introduced him to drugs by getting him high for the first time. By the age of 14, Mark Wahlberg was spiraling deeper into a life of crime. He had dropped out of school and had several arrests for theft and various drug charges. He had developed a cocaine addiction and was making a living on the streets by dealing drugs (“Mark Wahlberg biography”, 2013). Mark’s case became serious at age 16 when he was arrested and convicted for his part in the beating of a Vietnamese man that left the man blind in one eye (“Mark Wahlberg biography, 2013). He was charged with attempted murder, but took a plea bargain for a lesser charge of assault. He was sentenced to two years in prison but only served 45 days. Treatment Plan

Mark Wahlberg’s delinquent behavior is directly related to disruption in the family unit. A successful counseling plan for Mark would address both the family issues that precipitated the behaviors as well as individual concerns that developed as a result. To achieve the desired results the counseling plan for Mark would be based on family systems theory.

Mark Wahlberg does not suffer from any major mental health issues. Until family turmoil caused excessive amounts of anxiety and lead to deviant behavior he was normal adolescent. In an interview with Jon Wilde, of Associated Newspapers Ltd, Mark stated “Everything I did wrong was my own fault. I was taught the difference between right and wrong at an early age. I take full responsibility” (Wilde, 2009). Mark’s individual difficulties include impulse control problems, drug addiction, and anger issues including violent tendencies. Presumably, much of his impulse control problem and some of the anger/violence could be related to excessive drug use. A portion of the lack of impulse control may also be related to his stage of development at the time. According to psychotherapist John Schureman, impulse problems stem from deficiencies of the frontal lobe which is the region of the brain known as the executive control center. “The frontal lobes are responsible for planning, organizing, inhibiting inappropriate behaviors, and controlling affect and emotion” (Morgan, 2004). Development of the frontal lobe continues throughout the teens and into the early twenties, according to Elizabeth Sowell, an assistant professor of neurology at UCLA (Morgan, 2004). Family systems theory would address the other issues relevant to Mark Wahlberg’s case. The first issue in the family that needs to be addressed is the emotional climate. Mark’s mother had a difficult time dealing with the divorce and became emotionally unavailable to her children. This poor emotional climate leads the children to have differentiation problems (Cook, 2001). When family emotions become fused it creates high levels of anxiety for all family members (Cook, 2001). Juvenile delinquency...

References: Cook, L. S. (2001). Adolescent addiction and delinquency in the family system. Issues In Mental Health Nursing, 22(2), 151-157. doi:10.1080/01612840117669. Retrieved from
Mark Wahlberg biography. (2013). Retrieved from
Morgan, J. (2004, March 15). Mark Wahlberg helps juvenile offenders. USA Today. Retrieved from
Sexton, T. L., & Alexander, J. F. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, (2000). Functional family therapy. Retrieved from website:
Wilde, J. (2009, December 26). Mark Wahlberg: I left the mean streets for Hollywood. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved from
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