The unique pressures of young and middle adulthood—financial and career ambitions, building a family, caring for older relatives—can contribute to mental health and substance use issues. It is important to remember that these issues affect not only the individual but also loved ones living in the same home such as partners and children.
In cases of mental health and substance use, social workers can use psychoeducation with family members to provide information about a mental health issue and treatment. When using this intervention, social workers must adapt it to the specific family members, accommodating their cognitive level and age.
For this Discussion, you analyze a case in which a returning soldier, who is also a husband and father, experiences mental health symptoms resulting from combat.
Respond to two colleagues by critiquing their strategies for applying psychoeducation and providing suggestions for how to approach the situation differently. Additionally, share at least one community resource in your area that could help Marcus and his family.
Use the Learning Resources to support your posts. Make sure to provide APA citations and a reference list.
Discussion 1 Colleagues1: Kenchelle Wells
In what ways has trauma impacted Marcus’s daily functioning? Trauma can occur to anyone and at any time and this is especially true for military families (Herzog et al,2020). Marcus’s trauma comes from him being deployed multiple times in battle zones overseas. His daily functioning has been tremendously impacted because of the deployments. He is having issues adjusting to daily life since returning home. Marcus is having a hard time connecting with his wife and son the way he would like to. He loves his wife but doesn’t know how to connect with her anymore and he also is having a hard time being an attentive father. Marcus is also having a hard time staying motivated in life. He wants to find employment and continue his education, but he just can’t find it within himself to do those things that he has a desire to do. Marcus’s trauma also has him staring off into space at times, as well as difficulty sleeping because of nightmares. He has lost weight and feels as though as he has a short fuse and could go off at a moment’s notice.
Describe how you as the social worker would integrate elements of psychoeducation with Marcus and his family.
As the social worker to Marcus and his family the elements of psychoeducation that I would integrate would be trauma-informed care. Trauma-informed care also known as TIC, “can be conceptualized as the contextual framework in which trauma impacted individuals are treated” (Herzog et al, 2020). The goal of working with Marcus and his family is to get them both to understand how the other is feeling and how to work together to help the other. In order to do this, each person must identify that there is trauma in their lives. Once this has been accepted by everyone than I can move on to helping them with what they are going through. Educating Marcus and his family on what he is going through and how it affects him as well as them is key to their treatment.
How would you adapt psychoeducation for the cognitive level of the family member?
I would use psychoeducation to make sure that the family is informed on what can happen when a person goes through the type of trauma, like Marcus has been through. Making sure that his wife is informed on how to deal with trauma will help her when she sees Marcus losing focus or feeling unmotivated. If she knows what to look for then she will be able to help him on his treatment journey. She may also need counseling as well. I would suggest both individual and group therapy. That way she can hear from individuals who are going through the same thing that she is.
Herzog, J.R., Whitworth, J.D., &Scott, D.L. (2020). Trauma informed care with military populations. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 30(3), 265-278. https://doi.org/10.1080/10911359.2019.1679693
Walden University, LLC. (2021). Social work case studies [Interactive media]. https://class.waldenu.edu Bottom of Form
Discussion 1 Colleagues 2: Tamika Dukes
RE: Discussion 1 – Week 3
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Military life can be stressful. The transition from the military into civilian life poses significant and predictable challenges for military families (Sherman, M. D., & Larsen, J. L. (2018).). The social environment of the military changed the psychological functioning for Marcus. After arriving home after an extended period, he felt different because he had gotten used to the harsh conditions. He was finding it hard to adjust to a domestic wife. He did not feel the emotional attachment with his wife that he had previously had, even though he still loved her. He also did not pay much attention to his son. Instead of Marcus going to look for a job or enroll in a course, he spent most of the time smoking cigarettes thinking about his past life. He also found it difficult to sleep, lost his appetite, and reported feeling constantly nervous. The battlefield trauma left deep emotional scars that impact their ability to function in civilian life. He also was involved in an explosion caused by improvised explosive devices where he got injuries of the ear and mild traumatic brain injury which affected him psychologically.
Military members, veterans, and their families will often not understand the proper sources and etiology of the trauma symptoms they are experiencing (Herzog, J., Everson, B., & Whitworth, J. (2011). A psychoeducation program will be essential to help the military members and their families understand the valid sources and etiology of the symptoms of trauma experienced by Marcus. When this psychoeducation is done in a military-culturally sensitive, human-centered, and relationship-focused manner, it has been found to help these clients build resiliency as they respond to their trauma experience(s) (Whitworth, 2016). they can cope with the symptoms, and also the program will also help them not to blame themselves for the difficulties they are experiencing. The program will also enable Marcus to explain their responses. It will make him understand the connection between the traumatic experiences in the military and the symptoms. The symptoms can be transformative, and they can facilitate healing. The psycho-educational program must focus on the sensitivity of the military culture; it should be human-centered, meaning that it has to focus on the physical, culture, and the society where Marcus and his wife come from. The family will finally be able to build resiliency as they respond to the experience of trauma. (Zastrow, 2019)
Herz. Herzog, J.R., Whitworth, J.D., Scott, D.L. (2020). Trauma Informed care with military population https://doi.org/10.1080/10911359.2019.1679693
Sherman, M. D., & Larsen, J. L. (2018). Family-focused interventions and resources for veterans and their families. Psychological Services, 15(2), 146–153. https://doi.org/10.1037/ser0000174
Zastrow, C., Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hessenauer, S. L. (2018). Empowerment Series: Understanding Human Behavior and the Social Environment (11th Edition). Cengage Learning US. https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/books/9781337670722
Discussion 2: Characteristics of Midlife Crises
Picture someone standing in the middle of a bridge. First, they look back at where they have been and what they have done along the way to that point; then they look forward, seeing what little space they have left to travel and considering the extent they will be able to make the journey meaningful. If the bridge represents life, the person stuck in the middle, in a period of uncertainty and evaluation, is someone in a midlife crisis.
The phenomenon is often portrayed in popular media: a middle-aged man buys a sportscar, has an extramarital affair, and begins socializing with the younger generation. But what exactly is a “midlife crisis,” and why does it occur? While some researchers question the term, stating that such crises are not necessarily limited to midlife, it is believed to be experienced by a sizable segment of the population. However, the crisis may look different from person to person.
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Respond to two colleagues by respectfully agreeing or disagreeing with their characterization of a midlife crisis. Also offer additional insight about how social workers can help people through midlife crises.
Use the Learning Resources to support your posts. Make sure to provide APA citations and a reference list.
Discussion 2 Colleagues 1: Mamie Jackson
“Signs of a midlife crisis can range from mild to severe, including Exhaustion, boredom, or discontentment with life or with a lifestyle (including people and things) that previously provided fulfillment. Frantic energy; feeling restless and wanting to do something completely different.” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/midlife/).
Many people between the ages of 45-65 tend to have the experience of feeling like they have not accomplished everything they wanted to in their time here on the earth. And many of them are experiencing children leaving the nest- or becoming empty nester. Some may feel unhappy with their jobs, unvalidated in their marriages, and begin thinking about the impending growing old stages, and eventual loss of much of their independence, after retirement.
Men tend to want to experience being younger and may begin to work out more- buy a sports car or a flashier car – and may even begin an affair with a younger woman.
Women tend to have more mood swings, anxiety, weigh loss or gain, depression, sleep issues, and may withdraw from their regular routines.
“A midlife crisis often involves mood irregularities (notably increased anger or irritability, anxiety, or sadness), weight loss or gain, sleep disruption, and withdrawal from the regular routine and relationships. People experiencing the middle-age slump generally have an urgent desire to make some drastic change.”
Some psychological and social factors of a midlife crisis tend to be brought on by factors such as life changing events- divorce, job loss, the death of a loved one, or moving or relocating to a new city or town. Psychologically this is a period of transition- when a person is still trying to hold on to their younger selves- while facing the aging process of growing old. “Socially and emotionally, the middle-aged brain is calmer, less neurotic, more capable of managing emotions, and better able to negotiate social situations.” (Phillips, 2011). Other physical symptoms may include a change in sleeping habits, feeling tired or hopeless, anxiety or irritable, feeling helpless or worthless. (https://www.webmed.com).
Social workers can help clients going through midlife crisis- by showing compassion while their client is going though such difficult times. Working to help the client to prioritize the positive things in their lives, and work to practice positive thinking, being mindful of how they speak to others, especially their spouse- and to work on their mental health- though counseling or medication to help with their depression and anxiety.
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Levinson believed in the concept of “life structure,” where “a person’s life structure shapes and is shaped by the person’s interaction with the environment” (Zastrow et al., 2019). Levinson also believed that a midlife crisis was a normal part of development as a person becomes more aware of how much time has passed by and how much time is left (Levinson, 1978). Specific characteristics that can occur during a midlife crisis include depression, fatigue, hopelessness, anxiety, irritability, helplessness, worthlessness, and restlessness (GoodTherapy, 2019). Physical, psychological, and emotional changes can occur during middle adulthood among men and women (Zastrow et al., 2019). Since middle adulthood generally ranges from thirty to sixty-five years of age, changing levels of testosterone and estrogen impacts an individual both physically and mentally (Zastrow et al., 2019). With varying physiological and psychological changes with aging for men and women, midlife crises have different characteristics in different genders (Zastrow et al., 2019).
Men and women both experience biological changes as they age, which will impact their social and emotional functioning. For example, men will go through male climacteric around forty to fifty years of age (Zastrow et al., 2019). As testosterone levels start to decrease in the male body, they will begin to experience physical and psychological changes (Zastrow et al., 2019). During this time, men will begin to reevaluate their life choices (Zastrow et al., 2019). A prominent part of male climacteric is due to depression brought on by a fear of aging (Zastrow et al., 2019). Men may also experience divorce, affairs, accidents, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, self-harm, suicide, high financial spending, and career changes as well (Zastrow et al., 2019). Women will also experience female climacteric, more commonly known as menopause (Zastrow et al., 2019). Menopause usually occurs around the age of fifty but can occur earlier or later depending on genetics (Zastrow et al., 2019). As estrogen levels begin to decrease in the female body, they will also start to experience physical and psychological changes. During this time, women will experience physical effects like hot flashes. Women can also feel psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, low self-worth, lack of fulfillment, and no longer feeling needed (Zastrow et al., 2019). If both men and women are emotionally accepting of their respective climacteric phases, their negative social and emotional feelings will be far less (Zastrow et al., 2019).
A social worker can help individuals navigate a midlife crisis by using empowerment and a strengths-based approach. Assisting an individual to recognize all of the successes they have experienced could help to reduce negative self-thought. An additional option could include group therapy sessions so that this individual does not feel alone while going through this new phase in their life. A social worker can also educate clients on the physiological changes that their body is going through and help them establish proper primary medical care if they do not have any.
GoodTherapy. (2019). Midlife crisis. Therapy for Midlife Crisis. Retrieved from https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/midlife-crisis
Levinson, D. J. (1978). The seasons of a man’s life: With Charlotte N. Darrow A. O. Knopf.
Zastrow, C. H., Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hessenauer, S. L. (2019). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
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Initial Posting: Content
14.85 (49.5%) – 16.5 (55%)
Initial posting thoroughly responds to all parts of the Discussion prompt. Posting demonstrates excellent understanding of the material presented in the Learning Resources, as well as ability to apply the material. Posting demonstrates exemplary critical thinking and reflection, as well as analysis of the weekly Learning Resources. Specific and relevant examples and evidence from at least two of the Learning Resources and other scholarly sources are used to substantiate the argument or viewpoint.
Follow-Up Response Postings: Content
6.75 (22.5%) – 7.5 (25%)
Student thoroughly addresses all parts of the response prompt. Student responds to at least two colleagues in a meaningful, respectful manner that promotes further inquiry and extends the conversation. Response presents original ideas not already discussed, asks stimulating questions, and further supports with evidence from assigned readings. Post is substantive in both length (75–100 words) and depth of ideas presented.
Readability of Postings
5.4 (18%) – 6 (20%)
Initial and response posts are clear and coherent. Few if any (less than 2) writing errors are made. Student writes with exemplary grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation to convey their message.