Harvard Methods of Introducing an Existential Cultural Approach Discussion
I’m stuck on a Psychology question and need an explanation.
Using the following vignette, customize the example underlined to fit this specific case (no sources are needed, but you may use them if it makes the task easier):
Client is a 24-year-old White-American woman who moved to a new city within the past month. Client works as an assistant for a journal publishing company. Client has a history of sexual assault and her first sexual assault occurred at the age of 10 and continued for a few years. Client’s stepbrother ensured that she would not tell anyone by threatening her and scaring her when he felt she was about to tell someone. One of the ways the stepbrother scared her was by killing her bunny in front of her. At the age of 14 years old, the client became pregnant as a result of rape and suffered a miscarriage. Client suffers from trauma that is related to being sexually abuse she endured as a child. Client currently denies having depression or anxiety but presents with symptoms of dissociative disorder when discussing sexual relationships. When it comes to sexual relationships, client claims to have an increase in sexual drive and that there are usually no emotions, affections, or intimacy involved. Client states, “sex is like a transaction” and that sex gives her a sense of control because she is the one initiating it.
Client presents with difficulties with communication, maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships, unhealthy sexual relationships, behaviors and habits, being unable to forgive her mother for not noticing, and occasional nightmares of trauma. Client states when she is with her mother, she often finds herself wondering how or why her mother never noticed what was happening and how this has affected the relationship she has with her mother, as well as others. Client notes that there is a sense of being unable to trust others and consistently sabotaging interpersonal relationships.
Gender is a determinant for quite a lot in society. The representation of genders and the attitude differ across cultures. However, more commonly, the American culture, like others, believes in male dominance and superiority and female inferiority in multiple aspects. This can include political aspects, familial aspects, as well as financial aspects. At the time of the assault, the client was a child and felt she had no control. This was a result of the client being raised to believe that males were the stronger ones and that females had to listen to what the males. This also plays into the client’s inability to tell someone about the abuse because of the threats made by her stepbrother. Additionally, women in many cultures are sexualized, which has made it common and caused an increase in sexual assault in women as opposed to sexual assault in men.
The feminist theory, while looking into the functionality of gender systems, aims at achieving fairness in a society with sexist oppression. Feminists try to correct the patriarchy in the Western culture throughout all aspects. The feminist approach would bring positivity in the reflection of the modern woman. Through the feminist theory, we see powerful, outspoken, and respected women. Unlike the traditional women whose views depended on a man’s, the modern woman would not tolerate any sort of cruelty. The feminist approach touches on vices that would harm women’s portrayal by showing their place in power and sharing their experiences rather than bottling them up as in the old days. The feminist theory would situate with this client similarly throughout many different aspects. Socially, politically, and culturally, males are the dominant and superior gender. With the client showing signs of dissociative disorder, the client places herself in a position of control.
Existential – Cultural approach (Methods of introducing an existential-cultural approach into practice):
The various aspects of this client’s culture will effect how her symptoms are displayed and how to best build a therapeutic relationship. Client was born in Mexico and moved to the United States as a child, this can be a very stressful experience. Considerations when treatment of Hispanic American clients is understanding acculturative stressors. Due to family dynamics of Mexican families she has a collectivist perspective and feels a loyalty to support her family.
Client expressed how her religion, Catholicism, supports her and provides her comfort. A struggle for this client was her grief and lose of her son and husband. Grief and loss has many cultural values and beliefs that need to be considered. Therapist explored Catholic Faith and how client connects with her religion. Exploring her personal and cultural beliefs about death and heaven was a big part of the work we did together. She was able to express her beliefs about death and together we found hope and healing. Client’s religion was strength that supported this grief, as well as, her hopeless and depressive thoughts.