The client in question is Antwone “Fish” Fisher, a young man whose life was chronicled in his autobiography “Finding Fish” and later replicated in a movie by Denzel Washington (Antwone Fischer (2002), n.d.). The client is a young black male, an orphan who was mentally and physically abused in childhood and has to face the temper problems resulting from the abuse. He serves as a petty officer in the U.S. Navy and has to visit a psychiatrist.
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He sees relationships as his main problem. He has never been able to reconcile with his past, and links it to the fact that people never stay by his side for long. He feels that everyone abandons him sooner or later, starting with his family and finishing with the doctor. He does not know what to attribute it to, and suffers because of it.
Black male, heterosexual, no children. In a relationship with a fellow officer Cheryl.
Antwone has a history of physical aggression towards people. He is unable to control his temper and manage his anger. His issues interfere with his active functioning as an officer and a member of the society. On one occasion, he assaulted a superior officer, was demoted in his duty and detained on the ship for extra 45 days. Apart from that, Antwone has no home of his own, although his income is steady, and his health is covered by naval insurance.
Antwone is experiencing an Intimacy vs. Isolation crisis common for late adolescents in the process of developing their identity (Boyle, Hull, Mather, Smith, & Farley, 2009).
Psychosocial and emotional functioning
He looks appealing, well-groomed and disciplined. His speech is eloquent, and he has a fluent knowledge of two languages.
Sexuality and emotional engagement
Antwone never married, but he is in a relationship with his fellow officer Cheryl. He says their relationship is steady and sexually active. His girlfriend is aware of his issues and supports him. The childhood sexual abuse trauma makes him self-conscious, and he reports anxiety when close to someone. He is afraid they will eventually abandon him.
Personal and family history
Born in a prison and separated from his mother, Antwone was fostered by Reverend Tate’s family. He suffered verbal and sexual abuse, was kicked out from home, and developed poor social skills. He has been homeless for some time, and witnessed a murder of a friend.
Dr. Davenport acts as a mentor and a professional to make Antwone speak out his concerns. He crosses several boundaries to make him open up. He does not press on him and some issues remain unsettled, which calls for extra psychotherapy sessions. In the course of the treatment, the doctor develops a fatherly affection towards the client and has a chance to resolve some of his own issues.
The basic needs for Antwone include food and shelter. There was an unfulfilled safety need when he was living in the streets: he needed someone to accommodate him. However, his needs for love, self-esteem, and self-actualization were met at varying times. He is valued by Cheryl and the doctor, he stood his ground with the Tate family, and eventually found his family.
Strengths and weaknesses
Antwone’s strong points are his demeanor and how he presents himself socially. He is polite and respectful, capable of controlling himself unless provoked. He is able to analyze his past (e.g., he realizes that Mrs. Tate’s abuse awoke self-hatred in him that he took out on other people). His main challenges are his low self-esteem, sexuality and identity insecurities, and false self. As a result, he resists disclosing his experience and psychosocial needs at first.
The community Antwone lives in is that of racial discrimination. The white people oppress the black, but the people of color also have a system of discrimination by the shade of skin color. He was often judged by his skin, which made him self-conscious. Particularly, the Tate family often pointed out his relative darkness and praised his foster brother’s half-white complexion over his own.
Basing on relational cultural approach, one of the basic factors of psychological growth would be mutual empathy when people gravitate towards relationships at some point in life (Boyle et al., 2009). Mutuality facilitates maturity and the ability to cope with the oppression, marginalization, and personal issues such as Antwone’s anger mismanagement and isolation. The main recommendation, therefore, would be to maintain the contact with the doctor as a friend and continue his relationship with his family and Cheryl. These people act as the factors of empowerment, which is the constituent of psychological maturity.
Fisher’s story is that of abandonment, anger, and remarkable recuperative power that his psyche has. He was strong enough to withstand the pressure and coped with his issues remarkably well. Anger mismanagement is the normal response that only has to be corrected in part to facilitate his growth as a member of the community he lives in. In Antwone’s situation, relationships and friendship are the keys to make him a healthier personality.
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Antwone Fischer (2002). (n.d.). Web.
Boyle, S. W., Hull, Jr., G. H., Mather, J. H., Smith, L. L., & Farley, O. W. (2009). Direct Practice in Social Work Practice. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.