Marceline is a frustrated female aged 19 years of age and she needs counseling because she has become indecisive. She is the person to interview in this therapy because she presents high level of stress (Sprenkle, 2003, p. 85). The woman has been facing challenging times first having lost her first love to another woman. Her boyfriend Leon lost his job and her working hours were reduced. She and her boyfriend even had to leave their house and move to a one room studio apartment.
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She says she feels that her boyfriend Leon is acting weird because of his drinking habits and that is threatening. She also admits she has been seeing her ex boyfriend Michael who is the father to her son, Michael Jr. They have even been intimate with each other. Besides, she and Leon have been drinking a lot though they claim it is just meant to calm their nerves. She also says that her son is not just normal because of the way he acts, throwing tantrums, crying and not talking.
Marceline is still married to her high-school sweetheart, Michael. The two got married in Las Vegas when they learnt that she was pregnant with Michael’s child. Michael was her first love involvement. The two eloped because they thought that things were alright that way. And they were for their first year of marriage. However, things changed and Michael eloped with another woman. Now he has come back and he feels that they should get back together and move in with their son.
Michael Junior is so hyper active according to Marceline and she usually takes her to his Grandmother’s day care whenever she can. Grace’s Junior’s grandmother runs a day care. Currently Marceline lives with her boyfriend Leon whom she wants to leave for Michael.
Significant counseling history
This is a very important section. Basically this is set to interview the person who initiated the session (Sprenkle, 2003, p. 85). The strategy is designed to ask the individual why they feel the family needs therapy. Marceline feels that Leon needs to be taken through the therapy so that he can understand the reasons why she is probably going to make certain decision.
According to her, Leon is losing his personality or the zeal to survive. He drinks a lot and his behavior is violent. This is probably because of losing his job at the grocery. For this cause, Marceline suggests Leon be taken through therapy so that he can get back on his feet and begin living life as he ought. He needs to find another job to earn a living because even paying the rent is a problem as they delay all the time for the four months they have been in one room apartment.
Marceline states that she very confused with what she is going. She is undecided on whether she should just stay with Leon or get back with the father of her child, Michael. She’s pretty angry with Michael thought because of infidelity and leaving her and their son Junior. Marceline denies that she has been talking with Michael.
However, from the session with Marceline, it’s evident that she has even been intimate with him. This has been causing depression to her up to a level of making her to have some suicidal thoughts. Worse of it is that she takes alcohol. The drinking is excess even though she says that she and her boy friend wait until late to avoid affecting Michael Jr. Now she thinks that Michael nicer than to her than Leon.
Marceline states that she only drinks because she needs to release her stress and she does it later than five. Using alcohol and other stuffs is quite a dangerous habit because it can create dependence on these substances and their use can get out of control and risk the user’s health, (Sprenkle, 2003, p. 85).
Many cardiovascular diseases are as a result of alcohol abuse. More immediate effects include effect on the job performance and other daily activities. However, Marceline counters this by saying that she is always gets up with early enough and take Junior to Grace’s day care by 9:00 am. After she gets the baby back and starts dinner for the family, she will drink to calm her nerves.
Marceline is working at a grocery though her working hours were cut down. Her boyfriend was laid off and now they have to survive on her little income for survival. Having reduced income, the two were forced to leave the house the used to stay in and move to a cheaper apartment, a one room studio. Due to this situation, she feels she is not satisfied with her relationship with Leon. She feels like her boyfriend whom she thinks that he is not doing enough to solve it.
She perceives things are getting worse at their home and this could the things that are driving her away (Sprenkle, 2003, p. 92). They have lived in the studio for 4 months and previously in a home that they thought they could buy but walked away from because of escalating expenses and job cuts. In fact she admits that she is desperate … ‘I am miserable and so is he. What can we do?”
Other critical data
Marceline has actually shown that she is still interested in Michael and they talk a lot, in fact they have been intimate lately. This means that she is not sure whether she wants to stay with Leon or leave him. However, she claims she is still better at Michael for what she did to her. She does not show any appreciation for Leon for being there for her when Michael took off.
Such are symptoms of lack of commitment in a relationship. Even though legally she is still married to Michael, Leon is still a very crucial factor in her life because they live together and they have been through so much. They even had plans of buying a home before things fell out of hand. Her mother in-law thinks that she and Michael should get back and move in with their son.
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Leon on the other hand is not aware that his girlfriend could be seeing her former husband. Basically, the problem here could be financial because of what she says that she and Leon always pay their rent late they have to pay with the lateness fee imposed by their landlord (Sprenkle, 2003, p. 92). Bill collectors are calling but the phone number has been changed now.
Marceline’s mental state is complex as she states she is torn between moving out to be with Michael or stay with Leon. However, it’s clear that she is experiencing financial problems, depression, stress and she is now taking alcohol more than usual (Neukrug & Fawcett, 2009. P. 45). This means that she is about to get to alcohol abuse state or she could probably be abusing the substance since she seems to be holding back information and the therapist has to try hard to get the information.
Even though she is the one instigating therapy, she is suggesting that the therapist speaks to Leon and not her. However, the problem here is much bigger than just Leon’s state. She is confused between choosing whom she wants to spent her life with. To be able to rate the problem where the actual problem, all the member of the family will have to be interviewed so that a complete family dynamic is understood (Neukrug & Fawcett, 2009. P. 45).
This part includes information about the individuals who want to get married. Basically the following questions are critical for getting the information that can determine whether marriage can be prescribed or not. The assessment is drawn from the following questions. They targeted the relationship between Marceline and Michael/Leon.
- Was your marriage planned (between you and Michael)
- Do you consider yourself to have married too early
- Do you consider yourself a low income earner (Neukrug & Fawcett, 2009. p. 45)?
- Do you criticize each other (criticize Leon and Michael)
- Is there discontentment between you and your partner
- Are you defensive in your relationship or Do you withdraw from Michael
Based on the narration that Marceline gave, it is likely that she will answer ‘yes’ to most if not all of the questions. This means that she does not have realistic expectations of Michael or Leon. They are likely to lack better communication; she has no disagreement resolution skills and they are not compatible with each other.
The question on whether to marry or not is a critical one and therefore it is very hard to provide advice on it. Basically, what is needed is love. Some people usually say that communication is all that people need, others usually say that when two people have the same values, then they can live together well.
Whether is a first marriage or remarrying, the advices cannot be entirely correct or wrong. What are now the factors that can best determine the future success of a marriage between Marceline and Michael? Ethical issues to be deal with in this care are consequential, (Neukrug & Fawcett, 2009. P. 45).
Consequential ethics demand that a decision should be based on the type of consequences either good or bad. The outcomes of making a decision are the reason why marriage can be prescribed for Marceline. She may not be happy with Michael. Bearing in mind that she is currently frustrated because she is not doing well with Leon, and her son gets support from her mother in-law’s day care, Marceline then gets some comfort.
She therefore feels that she has to move in with Michael again. Grace also supports the re-union. Basically the consequences to everyone are worth considering (Larson, 2000, p. 64). Living with both parents will be very good for Michael jr. however, trusting Michael the father will be a hard task. Marceline still harbors unresolved issues with him since she says she is angry at him for leaving them. Whether a marriage can last longer or would collapse (Neukrug & Fawcett, 2009. P. 45).
Individual traits of Marceline like her personality and emotional health are critical in this aspect. Her attitudes and beliefs are also essential. She is depressed and strained. This is a negative factor. Her realistic belief about marriage is weak. She is undecided whether to move in with Michael or stick to Leon (Larson, 2000, p. 67).
Couple traits like conflict resolution skills and communication are critical here. Rating how long the couples have known each to rate acquaintance, Marceline and Michael have known each other for over two years. Marceline does not explicitly show that they have goals with Michael as he even left her with a small child, one year ago. But with Leon, they were planning to buy a house and start a life together.
Personal and relationship characteristics like previous marriages and age among other factors are useful for this screening (Larson, 2000, p. 65). Marceline has a good relationship with her mother in-law; she currently speaks to Michael a lot and feels he is nicer than Leon. Though she is still young, she is responsible as she takes good care of her son by dropping him to Grace’s day care and picking him up before dinner. However, one setback is that she has begun drinking excessively.
Summary and conclusion
Family therapy at time is a process of solving a specific problem. This means that the therapist works on a family to define the problem and helps the family to relate and solves that problem (Larson, 2000, p. 65). This case, the problems is Marceline’s indecision and lack of set goals of what she wants her life to be.
She is experiencing problems of drug abuse and stress and this is a problem in any form of relationship. These factors will be addressed by proper guiding and counseling tools. Money is also a problem as they struggle a lot to pay their bills and her boyfriend. Special guidance for the two people is also required (Larson, 2000, p. 67). She also needs to understand and clarify why she is with Leon and wants to be with Michael because it would be a grave decision to get into a relationship for wrong reasons.
Depression can also be exacerbated by incorrect decision. Decision that are not made here are problematic. This also means that when interventions that are straightforward fail, paradoxical one can bring the change or relive of stress (Larson, 2000, p. 67).
It’s also important that the client, Marceline be put in control of the case. The client is then directed on what to do, when and how to do it. The process should be customized according to the diagnosed problem. Therefore in this case, creative judgment and customized service will give Marceline the strength to bring change.
Larson, J.H. (2000). Should We Stay Together? A Scientifically Proven Method for Evaluating Your Relationship and Improving Its Chances for Long-Term Success. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Neukrug, S.E & Fawcett, C.R. (2009). Essentials of Testing and Assessment: A Practical Guide for Counselors, Social Workers, and Psychologists; Neukrug, Fawcett; Brooks Cole
Sprenkle, D.H. (2003). Effectiveness Research In Marriage And Family Therapy: Introduction, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, vol. 29, Issue 1, pp. 85–96,