As a military social worker, my task is to provide appropriate support and introduce clear interventions with the help of which military personnel, their families, and other dependents may solve their personal and professional problems and avoid conflicts or other negative outcomes. In military couples, many distinctive strengths and challenges may influence their relationships and the distribution of roles and responsibilities (Bakhurst, Loew, McGuire, Halford, & Markman, 2016). The case of Michael Johnson is not easy because several details remain to be unclear, and recent observations require certain explanations.
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Certain aspects have to be clarified before some interventions may be offered in this case. Michael Johnson is a new person in the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) School. No observations and personal judgments can be used in this case. The experience of the sailor and the report the FAP (a previous place of Michael’s work) employees are the only materials offered. At this moment, Michael is accused by his wife of physical abuse.
Still, no factual information is given. No physical signs and damage were proved. Besides, it was assumed that Michael left her wife and their two children (aged four and six years) with $100 cash and no other opportunities to pay bills. Still, no clear evidence was given at the moment of the sailor’s assessment. Fourteen months ago, Michael and Amanda faced a similar abuse problem the result of which was Michael’s visits to a special violence treatment course.
Amanda declined her participation. No explanation of why she did not want to continue her participation in the program was given. It could happen that there was Amanda’s fault in physical abuse as well.
The task of a military social worker is not to accuse one person, but to understand the relationships in a family, identify a problem, and clarify what solutions may be given. During a meeting, Michael behaves quietly. Still, he is not afraid to demonstrate his anger and dissatisfaction with his wife’s allegations. He introduces enough information to prove his intentions to improve his life and focus on career and training.
Michael also mentions that Amanda’s behavior may be explained by the presence of another guy in her life. Though being depressed and anxious, Michael declines his suicidal and homicidal intentions. He does not use alcohol to solve his problems. The use of facts and clear statements are the strengths in the case. Still, during this conversation, Michael does not mention his intentions to save his family and improve his relations with his wife.
There is a need to clarify if the man is obsessed with his training and care only. It is necessary to focus on his relations with his children and the portion of attention he can devote them to. Finally, the main challenge is to understand the nature of all conflicts and the presence of real facts that can be used to prove or disprove the husband’s and wife’s activities.
At the moment of communication with Michael, the main intervention that seems to be appropriate is the discussion of recent family problems, relations, and traditions. Such information should help to create a general image of a family. It is necessary to understand if Michael wants to be with his family, or his career is everything that matters. Another suggestion is cooperation with the wife, children, and other friends of this family. Even if the husband is the one who abuses the wife, there is a chance that the wife provides enough reasons for such action. Therefore, the situation in this family has to be investigated thoroughly, and both, Michael and Amanda, have to participate in the course.
Bakhurst, M.G., Loew, B., McGuire, A.C., Halford, W.K., & Markman, H.J. (2016). Relationship education for military couples: Recommendations for best practice. Family Process, 56(2), 302-316.