COUN 6626: Research Methodology and Program Evaluation
Final Project Case Studies
Case Study 1
Chloe, an 8-year-old African American female, has been brought to counseling by her foster mother. Cloe was removed from her biological mother’s home after reports of physical and sexual abuse were substantiated by an investigation by the Department of Human Services. Law enforcement became involved after reports that Chloe’s biological mother was allowing adult men to sexually abuse Chloe for drugs. Initial concerns of this behavior started when Chloe was just 5 years old. It was only recently that these concerns were able to be substantiated, resulting in Chloe’s placement into foster care and the parental rights of her biological mother terminated. Chloe currently lives in foster care and is available for adoption. Her foster mother indicates that she tends to withdraw from interpersonal interaction with adults. Chloe is a highly sensitive child and cries easily. The foster mother, Elaine, has noticed that Chloe is demonstrating distress anytime she is separated from her foster parents. When Chloe is dropped off at school, daycare, or swimming lessons, she is tearful and chews her fingernails until they bleed. Her teachers indicate that the distress tends to resolve within about 30 minutes, but Chloe often isolates herself and will not participate in any activities until after this time passes. As a result, she is behind in her schoolwork and she has not made friends within her social or academic environments.
Case Study 2
Jim is a 14-year-old Caucasian male whose parents have requested services. Jim’s sister, Helen, died suddenly 5 months ago in a car accident. Since then, Jim has had changes in his behavior that his parents are worried about, but they assumed Jim was simply trying to cope with the loss of his sister. This week, however, his mother found empty beer bottles and empty compressed air cans hidden in his bedroom and this alarmed his parents enough to bring him to counseling. Jim claims that he has only tried drinking or huffing on a couple of occasions, and that he does not have a problem. His grades have stayed intact with mostly As and Bs, but in the last month, his peer group has changed. He no longer spends time with friends that he has grown up with and now hangs out with kids that his dad describes as “goth.” He has gotten in trouble at school for skipping class and received in school suspension. Jim has historically been a cooperative child who was obedient at home and school. He is not verbally disrespectful to his parents at this time, though he has become more secretive putting passwords on his phone and locking his bedroom door. When his parents ask him to unlock the door or remove the password, he does so, but only temporarily. Jim’s teachers indicate that he has become more introverted in his behavior in recent weeks and no longer engages in classroom discussions or is cooperative during group activities. Jim’s biological father is in recovery for alcoholism and is very fearful that Jim will develop an addiction to substances. Jim’s mother is adamant that this is just a “stage” and that Jim is just “being a teenager.” Jim’s parents do not talk about his sister’s death which has left Jim to find his own way of coping. Mom is an enabler who ignores her death and Dad goes to AA meetings to get support in maintaining his 7 years of sobriety, leaving all members of the family to hurt in isolation.
Case Study 3
Natasha is a 40-year-old Latina woman who is self-referred to counseling. Natasha reports that she is in love with a woman, Nicole, and she is afraid that if her family finds out she is a lesbian they will disown her. She describes her family as “die-hard Catholic” that views homosexuality as a sin. Natasha has lost 20 pounds worrying about what will happen when her family finds out she is gay. She experiences nightly sleep disturbances and frequently tosses and turns and gets less than 2 hours of sleep. She has stopped participating in activities and spends most of her time at home isolating herself. She reports that she is no longer able to enjoy being with friends or participating in things she enjoys such as yoga or bicycling because she can’t think about anything but her family. Because she is not eating or sleeping well, her performance at work has deteriorated and her boss has put her on a performance improvement plan. In addition to her concerns about her family, she is now also worried about losing her job. Her partner, Nicole, has a very accepting support system and has never experienced the anxiety of being rejected for her sexual identity. Nicole’s family is accepting of Nicole’s identity and her family has been a safe place for the two of them to be themselves. Nicole is angry at Natasha’s parents for not being accepting of Natasha and because of Nicole’s protectiveness of Natasha, the their relationship is strained. Natasha feels torn between the woman she loves and her family who has raised her. This has caused conflict in the relationship because Natasha feels that Nicole is being insensitive toward her circumstances. Their communication has deteriorated and Natasha fears “losing everything” including her family, her partner, and her job. Her daily functioning is impacted by her inability to find joy in activities and her sleep and appetite disturbance. She doesn’t know what to do.
Case Study 4
Jared is a 37-year-old African American male who is referred to counseling by his girlfriend, Sheila. Sheila is worried about Jared because he is short-tempered and on edge, shouts at his girlfriend, and loses his cool with his kids, ages 13 and 15. Jared was served with divorce papers upon his return from deployment and now only sees his children every other weekend. Jared reports that he “can’t think straight.” He describes wanting to lock himself away and draw the curtains. Jared cries openly when describing that he served four years in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a marine. He also expresses reluctance to enter into counseling because he fears being labeled. In the 12 years since returning home from his deployment, Jared has struggled with his divorce and homelessness. He reports believing that people with mental problems are wimps or fakers. He explains that when he was a medic, he coped with the horrors that he had seen in war by trying to block it all out. He would have a few beers or smoke marijuana, and try and put it behind him. However, he admits that he has a particular event that plays over and over in his head. One scene, that of a young child who had been mutilated but left alive, is particularly haunting to him. He has daily thoughts and dreams of homes being burned down or people screaming with bloody injuries or over the dead bodies of loved ones. These feelings have impacted his daily functioning and interpersonal relationships. Neither his girlfriend nor his kids want to be around him, and he is worried that he is losing his mind.
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