Consider sociocultural issues in a counselling case study.
In this assignment I will provide a fictional case study of a counselling client with issues relating to fear and sadness and then consider how their individual problems might be located in the social context in which the clients are embedded. The case study will clearly focus on sociocultural issues, such as culture, race, gender, sexuality, etc. It will look at how useful it can be to recognise how important sociocultural issues can be when considering individual distress. The main focus this assignment will be drawing on with regards to sociocultural issues will be, race, culture and sexuality. The counselling approach being used will be person centred therapy. The Case Study is based on 32 year old woman who is mixed race and gay. She suffers anxiety around men which is the result of an intimidating, dominant father and verbal abuse from men regarding her sexuality. Case Study
Alex is a mixed race 32 year old woman from the North-West of England but is currently living in London. She moved to London when she was 19 with her then boyfriend for a job she had been offered. Alex told me she is from a working class background but when she first came to London she was living a very middle class life style which she always felt uncomfortable with. Alex states that after 6 years of living what she calls “that life” she realised she was gay. This resulted in her relationship ending and leaving her job and life behind to embark on her new life in the gay community. Alex said her parents (Father Jamaican, Mother English) are supportive. Neither she nor her parents are religious. Alex came to us via self-referral for help regarding her anxiety issues. She suffered a controlling, dominant, intimidating father and now suffers verbal and sometimes physical abuse from men, she feels, because she is gay. Her father was intimidating towards everyone in the family especially her mother. As a result of this she adopted the role of her mother’s carer and protector giving her love, reassurance and emotional support that was never returned to her leaving her feeling very scared and vulnerable. Alex states that her fear of men in general is immense and that her true lifestyle which she is now living is increasing that fear as most of the abuse she is subjected to, is from men. She also states that living in the gay community sometimes makes her feel like a minority within a minority because she is mixed race. She likened it to growing up mixed race and not completely fitting in with whites or blacks and felt rejected by both. Alex made a self-referral to our agency to seek help with her anxiety. The approach used when working with Alex was person centred therapy. Alex actively sought out this approach feeling it is more open minded compared to old traditionalist such as psychoanalytical.
Relating sociocultural issues to the client
In society today, there are hierarchies with regard to race, gender (status), sexuality, (dis)ability, age, mental health and class. You are considered “normal” if you are white, male, straight, able bodied, young, mentally healthy and within the middle/upper classes. In light of this, Barker points out that, when we are part of the norm we often don’t even see that aspect of our identity, but when we are in the other group we may be all too aware of it. (Barker, 2010) (Barker, 2010, p.214) It has been argued by, feminist, multicultural and LGBT afﬁrmative therapists that such norms are present in mainstream psychotherapy and counselling. We all know that the main approaches of today all emerged in a western context and were largely founded by straight men. Barker asks: Can counselling theories and practices be usefully applied to people outside these groups, without reinforcing the notion that their members are lesser or problematic in some way? (Barker, 2010) (Barker, 2010, p.215) In answer to Barkers...
Cited: in (Barker, 2010) p.224
This assignment has produced a fictional cases study of a 32 year old mixed race gay woman and has outlined how those facts have affected her and her life. It was believed that person centred therapy would be best suited because of its lableless approach which for a women who has spent her life being labelled and subjected to negativness because of those labels would be a positive change. We have looked how sociocultural issues relate to personal issues for people such as Alex and how to be aware of them whilst working with clients that are affected by them. The description of myself as a counsellor showed how I would work with a client like Alex and how being in therapy would aid her.
Word Count: 2088
Barker, M. V. (2010). Understanding counselling and psychotherapy. Milton Keynes: Sage Publications Ltd.
I found this assignment very interesting and enjoyed it. I think it was because it was a more creative assignment which enabled me to use my own thoughts a lot more. Also I think I may have a better understanding of what is expected of my assignment’s regarding writing style and referencing and hope to be told weather im correct in thinking this or not.
The most difficult aspect of it was deciding which approach to use. I wanted it to be the best suited for the clients issues but was worried it would be considered my out and out fav which im not decided on yet, it’s a possibility.
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