Family Therapy

| June 23, 2015

you are the family therapist. The scenario depicted below is based on a real-life therapy case. The names and major identifying factors have been altered.

Andy, a 16-year-old girl just returned from a 2-month stay at a residential facility in Utah. Her counselor referred her to YOU. During your first session, Andy and her mother, Jane, were present. Arnold, her father was to attend but was busy at work and didn’t make it. During the session the mother and daughter sat next to one another and were even arm in arm at times. They reviewed the situation prior to her going to the facility. Basically, Andy was out of control and belligerent. She was critical of both parents and they realized they couldn’t manage her and needed to get some relief from the conflict.

Andy presents as a normal teenager, but she was obviously quite sensitive, reactive to her mother, and frequently felt controlled by her mother. Andy was adopted. She is not Jane and Arnold’s natural daughter. She is actually a niece. Her father, Arnold had a sister who was a drug abusing stripper, and gave birth to Andy when she was 20. Jane and Arnold raised and finally adopted Andy. Andy has never had contact with her birth mother. She is extremely angry about this.

Both Jane and Arnold are the adult children of alcoholics (ACOAs). Jane’s father was a WWII vet and was disabled most of his life. His problems mainly consisted of mental issues and alcoholism. Ultimately he committed suicide. At times Jane would describe her childhood as great. At other times she would note frequent beatings and abuse. Arnold’s alcoholic father died when he was only 8 years old.

Both Jane and Arnold are very successful professionally and they are open to therapy to help their daughter. They have been married for 29 years.

Based on the above case description, answer the following:

  • What other information would you like to know to move forward with the case?
  • What long-term approach or techniques would you employ in this case?
  • Based on the information available what would be your short term goals?
  • Based on the information available what would be your long term goals?

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