Although Ernie is grateful for the help that we have provided to his family, he has expressed that he does not believe in counseling. He has acknowledged that he is going through some things and insisted that he will he through it like anything else.
Eventually, Ernie became relaxed and opened up more about his life’s complications. Ernie let us know that he was downsized at his job and forced into retirement unexpectedly. His supervisor assured him that his job would be secure after the company’s merger. He has worked for the company for 30 years and had counted on being there until he chose to retire himself. He has not prepared for this change and often wonders how he will support his family now that his income has been reduced and he has lost his benefits. He is ashamed that his wife now has to work part time in order to make ends meet and feels that he let his family down.
Currently, Ernie is dealing with the fact that he now has to deal with being forced into an early retirement. He feels less of a man because his wife now has to pick up a part time job in order to make ends meet. As his counselor, I would advise Ernie to career counseling. As someone who was recently forced into retirement, career counseling will be beneficial for him. Career counseling comes in for people who are looking to retire but still need or want to work for several more years. As his counselor, we can offer career guidance, testing and career exploration. There are plenty of assessment and aptitude tests that can help him consider the opportunities that he would not have thought of by himself.
My second goal is to create a plan with Ernie so that he can be better prepared for retirement. I will advise him to review the retirement package that the company has offered and then to create a retirement budget. Also with our help, we can research par-time jobs that will help him financially but also, keep his mind off the fact that he is being forced into retirement from a company that he has put a lot into over the past 30 years.
It is important to stress to Ernie that his family and church family are important factors in this time. Being forced into retirement, can cause a person to fall into a depression. For many people, work brings a sense of purpose and often times peace. There is a lifelong desire to be a good provider for their family. Retirement can seem like a sense of loss. Retirement gives you time to enjoy family and to make new friends.
I believe acceptance and commitment therapy would be good for Ernie as he is dealing with the distress from losing his job. ACT model defines psychological inflexibility as an inability to connect with one’s values in the present moment due to experiential avoidance and cognitive fusion (hayes et al., 1999). The six processes that are associated with psychological inflexibility are experiential avoidance, cognitive fusion, dominance of conceptualized past or future, attachment to conceptualized self, loss of contact with personal values, and inaction, impulsivity, or persistent avoidance.
Ernie Values family and being able to provide for his family. This treatment would be good for him because this model helps shine a light on those values so that we can avoid neglecting and losing contact with them.
Being forced into early retirement is causing Ernie to deal with emotional distress because he feels as though he cannot support his family and he is ashamed that his wife now being forced to work due to him losing his job. It is important to understand that Ernie is going through a change in his life right now and needs to adjust to the new stage that he is in. By understanding where he is and building that relationship with him, we can be better at assisting him and getting him acclimated to his newfound life. My focus is to have career counseling with him to help with his next steps on accepting where he is and how he can adapt to his current situation.
Main Post-Reeves Family
Lucas Reeves, 41, is having difficulties at home and within himself. For the past 11 years, he has a father to 3 children John (21), Justin (15), and Emme (11), who has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). His wife abandoned the family years ago and neither Lucas nor his children have heard from or seen her since. Lucas also has had no extended family support. He has been working as a graphic designer for over 15 years and is successful in his career. He has not been able to advance in his career, travel, or participate in leisure activities due to having to care for his children. Lucas also does not have much of a social life due to having to care for his children, specifically Emme. Lucas has come to counseling looking for a ‘sounding board.’ He is frequently angry and having arguments with his oldest son Lucas, accusing him of wasting his talents and being lazy. Lucas also shares that he feels lost, wonders how his career could have been if he had made different choices. Lucas also acknowledges feeling lonely and aware that he is still single.
Pujar et al. (2018) mentioned the amount of stress that single parents face, as they must become the main financial, emotional, and other form of support providers. Due to the importance of mental health in Lucas’ journey, one counseling goal would be for Lucas to participate once a month in at least 1 healthy activity that involves focusing on or bettering oneself as an individual. An example would be attending the gym once a month or journaling. This is important, because Lucas may need to reconnect with or rediscover himself outside of the identity of a parent or a caregiver.
Another counseling goal for Lucas would be to choose 1-2 short-term goal to achieve within the next 3-6 months. These goals can be in any area, examples being go out on 2 dates in 1 month or finish 2 new projects at work. These goals will help in Lucas’ development of his self-confidence and sense of achievement.
Developmentally Supportive Intervention
Lucas may have been engaging in the regulation of loss style of adaptation. Broderick and Blewitt (2020) outline the three adaptation styles, explaining that regulation of loss involves adjusting to the change in circumstances by reducing personal expectations or accepting the reduction in one’s ability to do tasks or accomplish goals. Lucas was able to be a single father for his children, but he sacrificed his career growth opportunities, his leisure opportunities, as well as his romantic life to do so. Lucas wondering how far his career could have went if he made different choices may explain his arguments with John about wasting his potential. It is important for Lucas to understand how he used to see himself and how he currently sees himself in his current circumstances. It is possible that he projected his thoughts or feelings onto John, not knowing how to process them himself. This intervention of examining how Lucas sees himself will also lead into the intervention of identifying what Lucas feels he missed in his life. It is also important to understand career growth, leisure, travel, and even dating may represent to Lucas. Is it something that he can obtain currently in the same way, or could his expectations or path be adjusted? Butkovic et al. (2020) were able to conclude in their study that self-esteem is of greater importance for life fulfillment to middle-aged adults than it is young adults.
Lucas is experiencing increased anger, loneliness, and expressing unfulfillment in his career and personal life. He expresses feeling lost and mentions that he struggled to achieve his goals due to being a single parent and caretaker to his children. It is important for Lucas to examine and understand how he sees himself. It is also important for him to establish new goals that he can meet and accomplish. This can help him to rebuild his self-confidence and his identity outside of a father and a caretaker.
Discussion 3:Carrol Martin
My Specialty Area
As a School Counselor, my ideal age of children to work with is the elementary years, and an area of specialty I would like to focus on is Play Therapy. As a former preschool teacher and Mom of three, my heart has always been drawn to younger children. They have such sweet innocence and curiosity about the world. In the early elementary years, children learn about the world and where they fit in it, and I genuinely enjoy helping them find their way. My goal is to become a School-Based Registered Play Therapist (SB-RPT) in terms of Play Therapy. Bringing this type of intervention into a school will provide many opportunities for children in emotional, social, and cognitive ways. In the research done by Peabody (2000), children’s language lags behind their cognitive development; therefore, play becomes their language and how they communicate. I find it fascinating how Play Therapy can provide an opportunity for a child to express what they may be going through and provide healing and growth.
To become a School-Based Registered Play Therapist (SB-RPT), there are essential requirements to fulfill. For example, along with continuous work in a school setting, an individual must have 150 hours of play therapy training and 50 hours of play therapy supervision. In my home state of Virginia, the Starbright Training Institute (www.starbrighttraininginstitute.com) has many relevant and practical training programs where perspective play therapists can meet these requirements. Fortunately, this institute is only about an hour away and easily accessible. In addition, The Virginia Association for Play Therapy (VAPT) is a branch of the national Association for Play Therapy. This chapter provides an opportunity for membership, informational training, and yearly conferences.
Vision For Positive Social Change
Applying Play Therapy with elementary-aged students relates directly to my vision of positive social change. In the early years of childhood, there are many opportunities to promote positive and lasting habits in children. As a School Counselor, I hope to instill this by guiding them through difficult decisions and overwhelming feelings. In this way, providing a solid support system will ultimately set the stage for lifelong healthy habits.
Ideal Client and Specialty Area
When thinking of being a counselor, the ideal client that I see myself working with, would be adolescents. I would love to work with teenagers, during their high school years, as they often face life determining decisions, during this phase in their life. Areas that I would like to specialize in would be sandtray, music, drama and art therapy. I feel that these areas would work great for this particular age group. Also, I believe that there are many ways as to how these arts can be implemented within a school environment. Such as operating in a single or group setting, where awareness can be made regarding particular subjects.
With regard to working with this particular client, I would need to ensure that I receive training on a year round basis. As it is important to stay in the know of different techniques and new information, as society make changes and I would need to keep up with it. The Texas Counseling Association, provides online training for different categories with multi programs and up-to-date information. Being active with TCA, can assist me with keeping up with counseling laws in Texas, stay connected within a circle of other professionals who are in the same field and being able to reach out for any questions or assistance that I may need. Also, I would become a member of the National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations, Inc. Becoming a member, would help my expertise in Expressive Arts Therapy, as they offer conferences and workshops.
Vision for Social Change
Working with adolescents during their high school years, could make a great impact on social change. Within these four years, students learn much about themselves and potentially what they want to be in life. Norms and behaviors can be altered, as they learn potent information, that could be life changing for them. This is ideal for students during this stage in their life, before they step into the stage of young adulthood.
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