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Family Treatment in Social Work Practice
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For over twenty years, Patrick and Vicky enjoyed a relatively successful marriage. During this time they had three children. However, Patrick affair and consequent divorce has led to the instability with considerable effects to their children. Therefore, the family is seeking counseling in order to deal with post divorce crises which they are going through. They have deliberated that they need professional help due to the new developments and the adverse effects they are having as a family. In fact, the children believe that it is the only therapy that can help their mother cope with her constant anger, which they believe is directed to them because of divorce.
One of the problems they are having is the communication break down between the children and their parents. The children feel that their mother in particular has abandoned them, and she is suffering from mood swings. Secondly, the children feel their parents are putting them in a situation where they have to choose sides. They are particularly aggrieved with their mother’s behavior of constantly blaming their father for everything that is happening. In addition, the mother feels her children do not understand what she is going through and this is making her feel neglected in time of need. She also believes that Patrick is the cause of all the family predicaments including inciting their children against her.
The family wants to re-establish their communication avenues which were adversely affected by divorce. They are all in agreement they need the stability they enjoyed before their current crises. Moreover, the children want both their parents to continue participating in their upbringing. Also, they want their mother to be understanding and accommodative hence accept they still need their father. The children believe their mother has not dealt with divorce well, and she need therapy in order to control her temperaments.
Mariano family comprises of Patrick, a pipe fitter in his mid forties, his wife Vikki who is a couple of years younger, a phlebotomist by profession, and their three children, Megan, Mitchell and Michael. Meghan is twenty, already in a serious relationship and pursuing her bachelor degree, Mitchell eighteen, she is still attending a senior high school while Michel, nine is their youngest child in fourth grade. The family also has close ties with their extended family which includes their grandparents and aunt. They also enjoy a god relationship with both sides of in laws who are always supportive.
Family Perception of the Problem
According to Vikki, her family problems have been caused by her husband promiscuity. She claims that her suspicions made her investigate the matter and after a couple of months her fears were confirmed. However, after confrontation and denials of having any extra marital affairs, he finally admitted. This prompt Vikki to forgive him with a promise he will stop cheating on her. Unfortunately, after few months she discovered that Patrick still had an affair which made it hard for the continuity of their marriage. She, therefore, claims that her husband is solely responsible for their divorce and the subsequent problems the family is going through. She also suggests Patrick is responsible for inciting their children to perceive her as the cause of their problems. Moreover, she thinks her children have not been supportive in terms of understanding what she is going through hence making her feel abandoned.
On the other hand, Megan their elder daughter blames herself for the problem the family is going through. She believes she has not been there for her siblings and suggests she can do more by making sure she comes home on the weekends. She also believes that her mother should confide to someone about what she is going through in order to ease her pain. Her sister Mitchell attributes part of the problem to her mother inability to deal with the divorce. She believes that she directs the anger on her. On Michael’s part, he felt her mother did not give them attention any more. He suggested that she concentrate so much on her and did not care of what was happening to them. This made him feel lonely and unwanted. The children also felt that their mother obligated them to choose between her and their father. She kept telling them bad things about him which is something they resented.
Strengths and Limitations of the Family
Marino’s family has got several strengths which has kept them going even in the time of adversity. One some of their attributes include the ability to understand their problems. The children understand that there is a communication breakdown and misunderstanding hence they seek professional help. They notice that they need to move past the divorce in order to salvage their family from the verge of complete collapse. They also have a very supportive extended family.
Converrsely, their limitations can be attributed on the side of the parents. Firstly, their dad is selfish because he continues to gratify himself at the expense of the family. This can be supported by the fact that he continued having an affair even after being confronted. The mother’s inability to understand the impacts of her action is also another shortcoming. The fact that she blames everything even behavioral change of her son on her husband is absurd. Her lack of anger control and relishing her frustration to her children has made it difficult for them to even speak to her.
Social Workers Impressions
The issue of infidelity always brings bitterness in the family and in this case is aggravated by the fact it happened for the second time. There are several issues that have clearly come out of this session. The issue of betrayal has brought a lot of resentment and hatred. The fact that Vikki had given Patrick second chance which he blew away has become difficult for her to bear. She perceives her husband like someone who lacked commitment to their family hence he is responsible for everything they are going through.
The children are suffering from anxiety which has been caused by the current uncertainty about their family. They fear their family will lose all togetherness they enjoyed before these crises broke out. For this reason, they are in constant pleading for normalcy. They also feel as if they have contributed in one way or another in causing these rifts in the family which has given them guilty conscious. They also have a general feeling that other members of the family are not suffering as they are or they are not understood.
Mitchell in particular believes her older sister being in school away from home means she is not affected by their mother’s wrath. Their mother feels her children are not willing to understand her situation yet she is not the one to blame. Therefore, it is important that Patrick attend the session for the sake of formulating a compressive plan of moving forward. He could also help the family recover fast if he apologized and showed remorse for his actions. If he can go ahead and admit Vikki what he did was wrong and act like he was affected by the divorce it can really help his wife to start the healing process. Parents coming together and assuring their children that their lives will remain intact; they will continue being there for them can be very helpful in dealing with the problems the children are going through.