Family Centered Services (FSC) is a program of Children’s Network of Southwest Florida (CNSWF), which examines the welfare of children, parents, and families. Despite the fact that families protect and provide social support to children, domestic violence and poor parenting lead to neglect, abuse, and abandonment of children. Given that FSC advocates for the welfare of children, parents, and family, its services are imperative in stabilizing families and creating a favorable environment for living. Therefore, the mission of FSC is to protect and conserve families as social support systems, which provide conducive environment that is free from any form of neglect, abuse, and abandonment. Fundamentally, the provision of children and family centered services by FSC is critical in the creation of strong social support systems in the society.
FSC has diverse functions that revolve around the protection of children and families as critical components of social support systems in the society. The major function of FSC is to offer voluntary counselling services centered on children and family. Given that children, who live in unstable families are prone to neglect and abuse, the function of FSC is to identify at-risk children and rescue them from the ordeals they are undergoing. Moreover, the neglected and abused children are likely to drop out of school. Hence, another function of FSC is to identify at-risk children and provide education so that they can pursue their studies and build their careers.
The first and the main goal of FSC is to create strong social support systems at family level, which offers intensive in-home services and protects children from neglect and abuse. Normally, children in unstable families are at-risk of experiencing neglect and abuse, and thus, they require effective protection of FSC. The second goal of FSC is to protect children from any form of harm that is present in the family and the social environment. Since parenting is wanting in unstable families, the third goal of FSC is to create stable social support systems that enhance healthy development of children. As families and children experience crises in the course of their lives, the fourth goal is to assist them in the resolution of these crises. The fifth goal of FSC is to prevent out-of-home placement of children by restoring stability of families and creating strong social support systems.
Given that FSC deals with social and psychological issues affecting families and children, it espouses reality therapy, brief therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution-focused therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy as models and frameworks of their counseling process. Reality therapy holds that individuals suffer from psychological disorders, which emanate from social issues, and hence, it focuses on reality, responsibility, and morality in resolving these social issues. FSC espouses brief therapy because it enhances coping skills of clients by enabling them to view their problems from a broad perspective. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an appropriate model of FSC because it offers multi-approaches to the resolution of psychological issues as it aims to resolve disturbed cognitive processes, aberrant behaviors, and dysfunctional emotions. According to Roberts (2009), solution-focused therapy effectively empowers clients to resolve their psychological issues by focusing on solutions that psychotherapists delineate. Comparatively, dialectical behavioral therapy is another framework that empowers clients to enhance coping skills, and consequently, enable them to control their emotional and psychological processes.
The target client is an 8-year-old girl, who lives in an unstable family where domestic violence occur frequently. The client system is a family in which the client lives and endures cycles of domestic violence, which have traumatized her and made her exhibit aberrant behaviors when with other children. Currently, the family comprises of the mother, a 27-year-old Hispanic female with five children. The mother takes care of the children as a single mother because she has separated with her husband. The mother works as a bartender at a nearby strip club earning $450 per week and has worked for two years. Family Safety and Preservation referred the 8-year-old girl to FSC after ascertaining neglect as exhibited by the aberrant behaviors in the presence of peers. Moreover, a 2-years-old son, the second client was also found wandering in the streets with no one taking care of him.
To provide counseling services aimed at augmenting positive parenting and promoting coping skills, FSC combined reality therapy, solution-focused therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Reality therapy holds that aberrant behaviors emanate from social issues that individuals experience in social settings such as families. Hence, helping clients to attain reality, become responsible, and understand morality are central in enhancing parenting and coping skills. Solution-focused therapy assesses potential solutions and helps clients to achieve them. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of therapy that uses several approaches, which aim at resolving distressed cognitive processes, anomalous behaviors, and dysfunctional emotions (Roberts, 2009). Therefore, the combined therapy offers appropriate framework that guides the practice of psychotherapy.
Criteria for Selection of Model
The use of combined therapy is an appropriate model for the client system because it examines the pertinent issues that a client experiences. Since the client exhibited aberrant behaviors when among the peers, the necessary form of therapy is the one that identifies the cause of the aberrant behaviors and provides potential solutions. In this case, reality therapy offers the best form of therapy because its tenets hold that aberrant behaviors emanate from deprived psychological needs. An important characteristic of the client system is that the mother understands the cause of the aberrant behaviors that the daughter exhibits, and thus, has identified possible solutions. In this view, solution-focused therapy is a suitable model since its tenets affirm that clients have resources and capacity to resolve their psychological problems in that the work of a therapist is to create an environment that favors optimization of the resolutions (Roberts, 2009). Analysis of the client system depicts that the client experiences a sense of neglect, which has made her develop aberrant behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an appropriate framework because its tenets hold that psychological disorders emanate from disturbed cognitive processes, abnormal behaviors, and dysfunctional emotions.
Description of Current Clinical Work
The current stage of the clinical work is in the final stages because the client has successfully undergone the process of therapy and has come up with potential solutions to problems experienced. The client has successfully attended 11 sessions in which she has progressively acquired appropriate parenting skills, created working family relationships, and addressed issues of child abuse and neglect. The primary aims of the interventions of the first session are to explore the relationships that exist among children, examine the parenting styles, and create an appropriate treatment plan. The stated aims form the basis of applying models such as reality therapy, solution-focused therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. The first session essentially applied cognitive behavioral theory in delineating relationships, parenting styles, behaviors, and psychological disorders. The second session focused on creation of supportive techniques based on the tenets of reality therapy, solution-focused therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Since parenting appears as the main issue, which contributes to the aberrant behaviors of children, the third session focused on delineating the interaction and communication between the parent and children. Using solution-focused therapy, the student recommends that the mother needs to balance responsibilities such as work, own leisure, family recreation, and creation of healthy relationships. Corcoran and Pillai (2009) argue that “solution-focused therapy is a strength-based approach emphasizing the resource people invariably possess and how these can be applied to the change process” (p. 234). Hence, by assessing potential solutions, the third session applied solution-focused therapy. The fourth session entails education of the client to create a close relationship with children so that she can understand what causes their aberrant behaviors. The education has its basis on reality therapy, which holds that understanding of the problem enables clients to utilize their resources and capacity in formulating solutions.
The fifth session applied solution-focused therapy in elucidating the cycle of violence and recommending that the client should avoid behaviors and actions that cause conflicts in the family such as taking the phone numbers of men. The sixth session also applied solution-focused therapy in coming up with a safety plan for children and mother in the event of domestic violence. In the seventh session, the student applied cognitive behavioral therapy in elucidating the effects of domestic violence on children. McKay and Storch (2009) assert that domestic violence comprises traumatic experiences, which haunt children and affect their emotions, cognitive processes, and behaviors. Hence, the student suggested appropriate parenting to enable children to resolve the traumatic experiences. As children exhibited aberrant behaviors, in the eighth session, the mother acknowledged that she did not offer appropriate discipline as the father. In this session, the student also applied cognitive behavioral therapy in assessing conditions of children and suggesting the need of established leadership in parenting.
In the ninth session, the student applied reality therapy in making the client to understand that the current job is not appropriate for her. Since the client acknowledged that she intends to go back to school and build her career of choice as a medical assistant, the student advised her to meet career counselor and apply for financial aid for her studies. The tenth session involved assessment of previous assignments such as development of safety plans and state of domestic violence. The eleventh session involved further assessment of the progress of the client in terms of understanding her situation and taking appropriate interventions such as the provision of appropriate parenting, protecting children from domestic violence and its impacts, creating supportive family, and developing new career.
Evaluation of a Practice Recording
Evaluation of the practice recording portrays some skills that link to the combined models of reality therapy, solution-focused therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Turning in is the first specific skill that the client used in reviewing previous session and progress. The second skill is questioning to ascertain the preferences of the girl, the need of paternal emotional support, the essence of financial support from the father, the source of domestic violence, and the absence of appropriate parenting. The third skill is praising the client for understanding preferences of the girls and providing them. Other skills that enabled the student undertake successful counselling are generalizing recommendations, exploring thoughts, inviting reflections, rephrasing statements, appealing to feelings, listening, clarifying, directing the client to view life in new ways, identifying future work, and closing well.
In the evaluation of client responses, the preferences of the girl, for example, straight hair, washing dishes, cooking, and cleaning kitchen are important skills, which solution-focused therapy can use in positive reinforcement of behaviors. The client also stated that she misses emotional support, which the husband provided to her and the kids. The absence of emotional support and the need for financial support offer insights about the psychological conditions of the mother and children, which solution-focused therapy can apply in the formulation of treatment plan. An important aspect of reality therapy is that the client understands that the cause of domestic violence is the behavior of keeping phone numbers that belong to other men and nagging her husband. In this view, the client can avoid such behaviors as a means of preventing the occurrence of domestic violence. The absence of appropriate parenting coupled with domestic violence requires the application of cognitive behavioral therapy in elucidating aberrant behaviors of children. According to Hofmann, Asnaani, Vonk, Sawyer, and Fang (2012), maladaptive cognitive processes cause aberrant behaviors and emotional distress. Ultimately, the client responses about the need to change the job and build new career provides insights to reality therapy and solution-focused therapy.
Analysis of the student’s responses shows that the level of empathy was very high as depicted by the professionalism. The student opened the session in an excellent way by asking the client to narrate what has been happening since the previous session. Throughout the conversation, the student let the client play an active role, which fitted well with reality therapy, solution-focused therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Neukrug (2010) argues that these therapies rely on resources of clients in developing coping skills and formulating solutions. However, what the student could have done differently is to offer options to the client so that she can make informed decisions instead of solely relying on her propositions.
Assessment and Reflection on Practice
The actual practice effectively corresponds to the tenets of solution-focused therapy, reality therapy, and cognitive behavior therapy. In the aspects of solution-focused therapy, the actual practice focused on the solutions rather than the problems that the client experienced. The actual practice also applied reality therapy effectively, for it enabled the client to perceive the reality of the problems and develop viable solutions. Cognitive behavioral therapy effectively captured the emotional, cognitive processes, and behaviors that affected the psychological state of the client.
The client’s needs in the system and practice require some changes to enhance effectiveness of the treatment plan. Analysis of the model indicates that it is still appropriate in the therapy because it touches all aspects of the client system. The necessary trainings that would facilitate the practice are family counselling, parenting training, childhood development, and career development. Since the client has attachment to the parents, the current approach requires adaptation to meet cultural needs associated with the extended family since they influence the client’s family. To improve effectiveness of therapy, the student requires supervision by calling or visiting the client regularly. Hofmann et al. (2012) argue that close supervision of clients is central in psychotherapy to keep their focus on the treatment plan and prevent them from relapsing. The changes that are necessary to meet social and financial needs of the client at this stage are restoration of marriage, provision of another job, and development of a new career. To improve the practice, the counseling process needs to come up with possible solutions instead of relying entirely on the solutions of the client.
Corcoran, J., & Pillai, V. (2009). A review of the research on solutions-focused therapy. The British Journal of Social Work, 39(2), 234-242.
Hofmann, S., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I., Sawyer, A., & Fang, A. (2012). The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(5), 427-440.
McKay, D., & Storch, E. (2009). Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Children: Treating Complex and Refractory Cases. New York: Springer Publisher.
Neukrug, E. (2010). Counseling Theory and Practice. New York: Cengage Learning.
Roberts, A. (2009). Social Workers’ Desk Reference. Oxford: Oxford University Press.