Client’s Status with Regard to Biological Changes
Joe is passing through a critical developmental stage that is characterized by a number of biological changes, some of which he may not clearly understand. The first change that he may find unique is deep voice that was not there before. He is becoming an adult and such changes are expected in men, but he may find it strange. Another biological change is the growth of hair under the armpits and pubic area.
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This may also have a psychological impact on him as he tries to comprehend on how to deal with such changes. According to Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman (2007), adolescents always undergo massive psychological torture when they notice major changes happening in their bodies that they might not fully understand. It is at this stage that parental guidance becomes critical in creating awareness about their bodies.
Joe is also experiencing rapid physical growth in the body. He is probably becoming as tall as the father. Sometimes this growth may create fear in the adolescents. They were comfortable being small in body size as a symbol of their young age. However, the growth in body size may make them feel that they will soon become independent individuals in the society. Joe must be going through such mental torture at this stage in his life.
Developmental Stage of the Client
Ericson, Marcia, and Kohlberg developed a human developmental theory that explains various stages of development from the time a person is born to the ultimate old age. Based on this concept, Joe’s current stage can be classified as Erikson’s Adolescent Stage. According to Saleebey (2012), the adolescent stage is one of the most important stages in a child’s development because it defines one’s future and the kind of relationship he will have with other members of the society. This developmental stage begins at 12 years and lasts till 18 years when one graduates to become an adult. At 15 years, Joe is at the middle of the adolescent stage where major biological and social changes are expected to occur.
The current status has a major influence in the behavioral pattern of this teenager. The most important influence of this stage is the need to develop a personal identity. Joe is trying to identify himself based on what he likes, how people view him, and whether or not his peers accept him. He is very vulnerable to peer-pressure and can do anything just to have a sense of belonging at school and in the social groups that he relates with outside school.
Psychological Issues That the Client is Experiencing
At this stage of development, Joe is experiencing a number of psychological issues that have changed his social life to a great extent. Depression is one of the psychological issues he has to deal with because of the group of friends he is hanging out with. These friends are introducing him to practices he was not used to before such as smoking of cigarette. He is constantly having a battle in his mind on whether or not he should follow the advice given by the parents.
He wants a sense of identity and acceptance among his friends and the only way of doing this is to get involved in their popular practices. However, he also knows that such practices may not please his parents and teachers. These practices may also lead to serious health problems given his tender age. Without a clear guidance on what should be done, Joe must be undergoing a psychological torture. The biological development he is experiencing, such as the increase in body size and changes in voice might also be influencing his psychological status. He must be feeling that with these bodily developments, he should be at liberty to make decisions in life without having to get approval of the parents. This might be the reason why he is getting increasingly rebellious with his parents.
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Impact of Diversity Issues on the Client
The issue of diversity may also have serious impacts on an adolescent. Tom, Joe’s father, is of German descent born in the United States. He rarely visits Germany because his entire family is in the United States. Before joining college, he practiced Lutheran as a family religion. Sarah, Joe’s mother, is a Korean American. She came to the United States when she was in college and has since established a family in the United States. Back at home in Korea, she was brought up in a family that practiced Buddhism. Both parents have decided to convert to Christianity. Joe’s family regularly attends a local church and the parents believe that their child is okay with this fact. It is important to note that Joe may be troubled when the family travels to Korea to visit her mother’s family.
The religious practice of the family in Korea is very strange to a teenager who has been brought up in a family that practices Christianity. The issue of diversity could also be affecting Joe while he is at school. The theory of Diversity Management may help address the current identified problems, especially when he travels to visit his extended family members in Korea. He will be able to appreciate the practices he may find unique.
This theory may also help him at school in dealing with cultural and racial differences among his colleagues. According to Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman (2007), the United States is one of the countries that are rich in socio-cultural diversity due to many years of immigration. Joe will be in a better position to relate with the African Americans, Asia Americans, Hispanic Americans and any of other racial groups at school when he learns to appreciate them the way they are without prejudice.
Risk of Suicide
The analysis presented about Joe shows that there are no serious risks of suicide with him. He is depressed and rebellious, especially towards the mother who he believes is too strict for no good reasons, but he has not given any indication of the desire to end his life. He is currently very comfortable with the ways things are around him except for the pressure from the mother. The risk of suicidal can be assessed by monitoring the actions of the client and the statements he makes.
If it is observed that he is under massive depression that cannot be clearly understood, then such a patient will be considered to be at risk of committing suicide. The statements made by a client may also help detect the suicidal thoughts in him. For instance, if the client’s speech is full of hopelessness and the desire to disappear, then that will be a strong indication of suicidal thoughts. Joe has not presented any of these signs. In case the client is suicidal, it may be necessary to start by identifying and eliminating all the stressors first. After eliminating the stressors, the client should then be engaged in a discussion to find out how long-term solutions can be established to avoid future stressors.
Impact of the Client’s Relationship with the Parents
The case reveals that Joe’s relationship with his parents is deteriorating as time goes by. The parents state that the relationship they had with him was very cordial and things only changed recently, a change they have associated with his adolescent stage. However, they were alarmed when they found cigarette in Joe’s room. The revelation shows that there is disconnect between the parents and the child. It took too long for them to realize that their child is engaged in substance abuse. Joe on the other hand states that the problem is the mother because she has failed to appreciate that he is a grown-up.
This observation by Joe could be the source of the problem. The parents, especially the mother, have failed to appreciate that Joe is no longer the little child that was so innocent and waited for their guidance at every stage. They have failed to appreciate that he is becoming a man who should be independent in thoughts and actions. If this disconnect persists, then Joe’s movement from dependent to independence will be radical and characterized with rebellious actions. The parents need to give him his space, offer necessary advice, and avoid actions that may make him feel that he is viewed as a little child.
Systems with Which the Client Is Engaged
The client is engaged with a number of systems that may have varying impacts on his development from adolescent to early adulthood. The first system is the family whose level can be classified as micro-system. The key players in this system include the parents and other siblings, besides Joe. From the confessions made by Joe, this system seems to be the main source of his problems and it is affecting him negatively.
He has noted that his mother, an integral part of the system, is the biggest problem because she still believes that he is a little boy who should get instructions from the parents. This is what is creating the problem. The father, another major pillar of the system, understands and his only concern is that the wife is not comfortable with their son’s current behavior. The second system is the school, which falls under macro-system.
The players in this system include peers, teachers, other parents, school workers, among others. The confessions made by Joe reveal that this system is having a positive impact on him. However, it is important to note that the members of this system, such as his peers, may be the reason for his developing unique behavioral patterns that the parents are against, including substance abuse (Ashford, LeCroy, & Lortie, 2010).
Groups that Might Benefit the Client
It is important to note that the current status of Joe may require support from different groups to enable him not to slide further into practices that may harm his health or future development. The first important one is the Unitarian-Universalist church youth group. Joe is already an active member of this group, having been a Sunday school member since his childhood. In this group, Joe will find many peers that they have worshiped with and engaged in many practices in the past.
Here, he will get a sense of identity and acceptance that he is yearning for at school. This group, which is always under close guidance of the spiritual leaders, will help in showing him what is right and wrong. Moreover, the leaders of this group can act as perfect mediators between him and his mother in case he feels that she is not appreciating the changes in him. The second group will be the football club at school. This club is always active throughout the year. The club is also under watchful eyes of the coach and relevant teachers. Membership to this club will reduce or even eliminate idle time he has to engage in untoward practices.
Client’s List of Risk and Protective Factors
A critical analysis of Joe’s current position reveals that he faces a number of risk factors that should be addressed as soon as possible. The first risk factor is the abuse of drugs. At 15, Joe has already started using cigarette based on the revelations of the parents. This may be the beginning of a worse habit of drug and alcohol abuse. In fact, the parents are not sure whether or not he is already abusing hard drugs and alcohol.
The revelation about use of cigarette came when they found cigarettes in his room. The absence of other drugs does not mean that he is not using them. Joe is also at risk of developing into an aggressive and rebellious adult who will not respect his parents. These risk factors will have to be addressed to enhance resilience and discipline. The parents will need to take advantage of the protective factors to overcome the risk factors.
The first protective factor is the presence of a loving and caring family. The family should try to understand Joe from his own point of view and find ways of making him comfortable. The second protective factor is the church. Parents should coordinate closely with the church leaders to find ways of helping Joe at this critical developmental stage. The third protective factor is school. The parents should work closely with the relevant teachers in monitoring his behavior and finding solutions to issues affecting him.
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Literature Search on Client’s Problem Area
Joe is suffering from the problem of personal identity and the need for acceptance among the peers. According to Romo and Nadeem (2008), adolescence is a critical stage in a person’s development because he gets to understand who he is, his position in the society, and how people think of him. The main problem at this stage is the desire to be accepted by the peers. Falci (2011) says that adolescents may do anything just to gain acceptance of the peers.
In most of the cases, they are fully aware that their actions are not acceptable, but they value peer acceptance over principles put in place by authorities. At this stage, Ohalete (2007) says that adolescents may have problems with their parents. Some of them would become rebellious because of no good reason. Parents should understand that rebellion is not a direct sign of disrespect for authorities.
It is actually a defensive mechanism that they develop to deter those in authorities from being overbearing when it comes to defining their behaviors. In most of the cases, the adolescents defy orders or instructions from parents as a way of telling them that they need their space. These literatures describe some of the common behavioral patterns of adolescents when they start demanding for their space. This is important because it may help parents to determine when their children start experiencing the effects of being adolescents. However, not all adolescents may exhibit these behavioral patterns. In fact, many adolescents remain disciplined in the entire stage.
Micro and Macro Interventions that May Benefit the Client
Joe, just like many other adolescents around the world, has started engaging in practices that may harm him in future if care is not taken to address the problem as soon as possible. Micro and macro interventions will be necessary to save him from a possible self-instigated destruction. The micro intervention will come from the family. The parents will have to engage him in discussions to understand his fears, expectations in life, and challenges both at school and home, and any other issue that is of concern to him.
His mother should make an effort to appreciate that Joe is soon becoming an adult, and therefore, should be given his space to make some decisions on his own. The father should get closer to his son and find out issues that may be affecting him from a personal point of view. The macro interventions will come from the school and church. The school needs to start counseling Joe and his peers on how to cope with this delicate stage of one’s development. The students should be engaged in activities such as sports where they can exploit their strengths. The church leaders should help Joe understand his cultural diversity by explaining why his parents belonged to different spiritual groups before becoming Christians.
Methods for Evaluating Progress
It will be necessary to evaluate the progress that Joe is making after being introduced into the system. The first method of evaluation will be to engage Joe himself in regular discussions to determine if the environments at home and school have changed for the better. A positive response from him will be a sign that the systems put in place are working effectively and Joe is making progress towards becoming a better person.
He will be instrumental in measuring the efficiency of the three systems put in place to help him. On the other hand, the three systems will help in determining the actual progress made by Joe. The parents and other siblings will be interviewed to determine if Joe is genuinely making efforts towards becoming a respectful and responsible person. The teachers who are interacting with Joe very often will help identify the positive changes in his life and areas that still need to be addressed by other systems such as the church and family.
The team coach will be particularly important in evaluating Joe’s behavior change. Finally, the stakeholders in the church, especially youth group members and leaders where Joe is a member, will also help in evaluating his progress towards becoming a better person. Their views about him will help determine his current behavior.
Ashford, B., LeCroy, C., & Lortie, K. (2010). Human behavior in the social environment: A multidimensional perspective. Melbourne: Cengage Learning.
Falci, C. (2011). Family Structure, Closeness to Residential and Nonresidential Parents, and Psychological Distress in Early and Middle Adolescence. The Sociological Quarterly 47(1), 123-146.
Ohalete, N. (2007). Adolescent Sexual Debut: A Case for Studying African American Father-Adolescent Reproductive Health Communication. Journal of Black Studies 37(5), 737-752.
Romo, L., & Nadeem, E. (2008). School Connectedness, Mental Health, and Well-Being of Adolescent Mothers. Adolescent Mental Health 46(2), 130-137.
Saleebey, D. (2012). Human Behavior and Social Environments: A Biopsychosocial Approach. New York: Columbia University Press.
Zastrow, C., & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2007). Understanding human behavior and the social environment. Belmont: Thomson.