Harassment that Happened in the Present and Lead to the Earliest Recollection of the Past Experience of Sexual Abuse


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In my video, the case study I focused on was harassment that happened in the present leading to the earliest recollection of the client’s past experience of sexual abuse, which was carried out by an uncle. The client as you witness in the video was resistant, agitated and not ready yet to converse with the therapist. After mustering up the courage to come to a session and agreeing with the terms and conditions of the informed consent the client left without further ado, as she was not ready to speak yet, about any incident or general things happening in her life.

The client’s demographic history was not studied in detail in the sessions as she was adamant to get the baggage of her past off of her chest, however in the form they did mention her name, age which was 21 and gender female and currently a student. Areej tends to be living out a very normal and ordinary life, of hanging out with friends, family and cousins on the usual basis, however she mentions how she has to watch her every move (how she sits, what she says, has to watch out for any involuntary signal she has to give out). The problem or the maladaptive behavior that was identified with the help of the client were her anger management issues, lack of confidence feels like her friends think she ruines parties and hangouts, self-harm used to take place due to anger, trust and comfortability issues amongst the opposite gender due to the abuse, the client also added how she despite of being with women is hesitant about getting into her male friends car. All of the above depicts maladaptive behavior that the client is facing. People who have been sexually abused show a vast range of emotions especially children, for example psychological problems and emotional problems (Reyes & Asbrand, 2005).

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Focusing on Areej as a client who has been sexually abused by her uncle, when she was a young child around 6-7 years old in her earliest recollection a major Adlerian technique (Parrotts, 2003), the client also mentioned how she is constantly forced by her parents to confront and meet the uncle as he is part of the family, which causes an increase in maladaptive behavior, like anger and frustration as she is unable to tell her parents about why she is hesitant on meeting the uncle. The hesitancy is not limited to only her uncle but as mentioned above and in the video the client is fearful of committing to go anywhere with her male friends. In the Adlerian perspective the need to achieve social interest is crucial, Adler stated that the need to communicate with the society is necessary (Parrotts, 2003).

Adler further mentioned regarding social interest is one gets a sense of belonging after achieving it and faith in others starts to build up (Parrotts, 2003). Adler also stated that when an individual is unable to meet the societal demands, they may tend to develop inferiority complex. Keeping these in mind the client has developed maladaptive behavior of not having faith or trusting the opposite gender as mentioned above no matter how close of a relationship it is to her, she will always lack faith due to the abuse, the client also mentioned how she feels as if she busts up every hangout with her friends, which may lead to the development of inferiority complex and lack of belonging (Parrotts, 2003) if her friends stop hanging out with her, as she stated in the video she “can’t have a good time with my friends”, as she gets furious whenever anyone from the opposite gender tries to talk to her. If we revisit Adlerian theory of social interest, the client is lacking a bond of normality with the society.

The client looks for other maladaptive alternatives as mentioned above to overcome her anger by cutting herself and breaking things a lot to release the anger, if we look at the Adler’s idea of pathological behavior he stated that maladaptive behavior begins early in life, and the client’s early life was traumatic, hence causing all of the above maladaptive behavior. Assessing the client’s relationship with parents, neglect had taken place (Adler, 1931) and lack of faith as well. The client when asked to confront her parents about the abuse that took place in her early life, the client was doubtful, her response was a very negative one which was that her parents won’t believe her even if she told them, this also causes maladaptive behavior such as stubbornness and inferiority complex (Parrotts, 2003), because of the thought of believing that parents would not trust their child. All of this piled up in the client’s mind without any proper treatment or attention would cause them to turn to maladaptive ways to overcome their issues, which obviously is not the right way. The function of the counsellor, given the chosen techniques was to engage into a more supportive and encouraging relationship with the client. The function of the therapist was to be more aware of our own beliefs and be more empathetic and genuine with the client, however I also had to identify the mistakes of the client (Parrotts, 2003).

Addition to this in the session both the client and the therapist (me and Areej) are partners, it is a joined effort in which both parties engage in a proper conversation to improve the condition of the client, through encouragement (Parrotts, 2003). One of the most essential function I had, was to encourage the client to look for better more positive ways to let out her anger rather than cutting herself or throwing things by providing her with alternative techniques to play with her dog “Benjie” whom she claims helps keep her calm. The goals that I had intended for the counselling process was to mainly increase the client’s social interest and give them a sense of belonging. In addition to that also increase confidence in herself (Parrotts, 2003).

The client was given multiple situations in which they had to be a calmer and more positive person, helping them to achieve this in real life situation is the goal I intend for myself. As a therapist I also tend to make sure that the client focuses on improvement and help her not become a victim of inferiority complex as she tends to have traits to fall into that maladaptive behavior, all of this would be done by teaching the client to use and identify their resources (Parrotts, 2003). I used a total of 4 techniques from the Adlerian perspective, which included ‘spitting in the client’s soup’, ‘asking the question’, ‘acting as if’ and ‘push button’ with an unintentional addition of earliest recollection. The client also had an earliest recollection of their abuse which she stated in the video. The rationale for using the ‘spitting in the clients soup’ technique was to make the client herself realize that she was involved in approaching the guy (who harassed her) at the bar, as she had two drinks and eyed the guy which in that case insinuated him and things escalated, however the client wasn’t ready to admit that she played a part in the whole case as she only began with the fact that she was harassed by a guy who out of the blue came at her.

However, this case led the client to feel extremely angry and when asked why, the client went back to her childhood through the ‘early recollection’ in which she mentioned being abused at the age of 6. This led the client to talk deeply about the whole incident and how it has affected her life since then. This led the client to talk about her maladaptive behaviors. The second technique that was used was ‘asking the question’, the client was asked how she would’ve been if she hadn’t been abused as a child. The rationale behind this technique is to understand the goals the client has for themselves and the reason they are attending sessions. The client stated that they’d be a less angry, happier, calm and wouldn’t have many trust issues. This gave the therapist a rough framework of how and in which areas to help the client improve. The process of implementing this technique is to ask the client if a certain maladaptive behavior or traumatizing incident didn’t exist in their life, how different would their lives be and the work from there. The third technique was ‘acting as if’, now that the therapist is aware of the goals the client wants to achieve (calmness, trust and confidence) this technique now focuses on being in hypothetical situations in which the client already possesses the qualities they wish to achieve (Parrotts, 2003).

One of the situations the client was given was a normal family gathering in which she was not a victim of abuse and was a more confident person, and more trusting towards the male gender. The client stated she would be more comfortable, more freely seated and would not have to think before her every move, she’d also feel safer. The rationale behind this is that if the client can act being a more confident and comfortable person in situations like these, they can carry out this behavior in those moments as well, she would be able to overcome her fears and anger and be more assertive (Parrotts, 2003).

The final technique used was ‘push button’, in which the client was asked to imagine that she possessed an imaginary button (Parrotts, 2003) which she would push whenever she felt all the negative emotions in her, after pushing that button she would feel all of the qualities in her that she’d wanted and more positive thoughts. Whenever, the client feels as if she was angry she would push that button. The rationale behind this technique is to be more in control of her emotions (Parrotts, 2003) and they can possess the feelings that she wishes to have.

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