Attachment Theory

  Due Date Wednesday by  June 19   by 4PM Central Time

Attachment Theory

The adolescent stage can be described as a time where there is a loss of innocence and a preentry into adulthood. A large part of being an adolescent is beginning that process of stepping out into the world and learning about oneself as a unique and autonomous individual. This movement out into the world is contingent upon the knowledge that this young person will have a safe and secure home to return to at the end of the day. If a traumatic loss or event has occurred in the adolescent’s life, there may be no safe base to which this individual can return. Attachment theory teaches us that a young person’s ability to attach/engage with peers, family, and other potential support systems is an important aspect of the developmental process. During the adolescent stage of development, assessing attachment styles is important because it provides a window into how the adolescent relates to others, which allows the clinician to choose the appropriate intervention.

Required Readings

Dubois-Comtois, K., Cyr, C., Pascuzzo, K., Lessard, M., & Poulin, C. (2013). Attachment theory in clinical work with adolescents. Journal of Child & Adolescent Behavior, 1(111). Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/9480/3effa5ae0e44ccf80f0287be7cdbceacdb92.pdf 

Gross, J. T., Stern, J. A., Brett, B. E., & Cassidy, J. (2017). The multifaceted nature of prosocial behavior in children: Links with attachment theory and research. Social Development, 26, 661-678. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jacquelyn_Gross/publication/316669350_The_multifaceted_nature_of_prosocial_behavior_in_children_Links_with_attachment_theory_and_research/links/5a936593aca272140565ccf2/The-multifaceted-nature-of-prosocial-behavior-in-children-Links-with-attachment-theory-and-research.pdf

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014b). Social work case studies: Concentration year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].

Working With Families: The Case of Brady (pp. 26–28)     ATTACHED AS DOCUMENT BELOW

For this Discussion, choose either the program case study for the course-specific case study for Brady.

Post an application of the attachment theory to the case of Brady. Discuss the connection between his attachment style and the exhibiting behavior 

Support your posts with specific references to this week’s resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references

Working With Families: The Case of Brady

Brady is a 15-year-old, Caucasian male referred to me by his previous social worker for a second evaluation. Brady’s father, Steve, reports that his son is irritable, impulsive, and often in trouble at school; has difficulty concentrating on work (both at home and in school); and uses foul language. He also informed me that his wife, Diane, passed away 3 years ago, although he denies any relationship between Brady’s behavior and the death of his mother. Brady presented as immature and exhibited below-average intelligence and emotional functioning. He reported feelings of low self-esteem, fear of his father, and no desire to attend school. Steve presented as emotionally deregulated and also emotionally immature. He appeared very nervous and guarded in the sessions with Brady. He verbalized frustration with Brady and feeling

overwhelmed trying to take care of his son’s needs. Brady attended four sessions with me, including both individual and family work. I also met with Steve alone to discuss the state of his own mental health and parenting support needs. In the initial evaluation session, I suggested that Brady be tested for learning and emotional disabilities. I provided a referral to a psychiatrist, and I encouraged Steve to have Brady evaluated by the child study team at his school. Steve unequivocally told me he would not follow up with these referrals, telling me, “There is nothing wrong with him. He just doesn’t listen, and he is disrespectful.” After the initial session, I met individually with Brady and completed a genogram and asked him to discuss each member of his family. He described his father as angry and mean and reported feeling afraid of him. When I inquired what he was afraid of, Brady did not go into detail, simply saying, “getting in trouble.” In the next follow-up session with both Steve and Brady present, Steve immediately told me about an incident Brady had at school. Steve was clearly frustrated and angry and began to call Brady hurtful names. I asked Steve about his behavior and the words used toward Brady. Brady interjected and told his dad that being

PRACTICE

called these names made him feel afraid of him and further caused him to feel badly about himself. Steve then began to discuss the effects of his wife’s death on him and Brady and verbalized feelings of hopelessness. I suggested that Steve follow up with my previous recommendations and, further, that he should strongly consider meeting with a social worker to address his own feelings of grief. Steve agreed to take the referral for the psychiatrist and said he would follow up with the school about an evaluation for Brady, but he denied that he needed treatment. In the third session, I met initially with Brady to complete his genogram, when he said, “I want to tell you what happens sometimes when I get in trouble.” Brady reported that there had been physical altercations between him and his father. I called Steve in and told him what Brady had discussed in the session. Brady confronted his father, telling him how he felt when they fight. He also told Steve that he had become “meaner” after “mommy died.” Steve admitted to physical altercations in the home and an increase in his irritability since the death of his wife. Steve and Brady then hugged. I told them it was my legal obligation to report the accusations of abuse to Child Protective Services (CPS), which would assist with services such as behavior modification and parenting skills. Steve asked to speak to me alone and became angry, accusing me of calling him a child abuser. I explained the role of CPS and that the intent of the call was to help put services into place. After our session, I called CPS and reported the incident. At our next session, after the report was made, Steve was again angry and asked me what his legal rights were as a parent. He then told me that he was seeking legal counsel to file a lawsuit against me. I explained my legal obligations as a clinical social worker and mandated reporter. Steve asked me very clearly, “Do you think I am abusing my son?” My answer was, “I cannot be the one to make that determination. I am obligated by law to report.” Steve sighed, rolled his eyes, and called me some names under his breath. Brady’s case was opened as a child welfare case rather than a child protective case (which would have required his removal from the home). CPS initiated behavior modification, parenting skills classes, and a school evaluation. Steve was ordered by the court to seek mental health counseling. One year after I closed this case, Brady called me to thank me, asking that I not let his father know that he called. Brady reported that they continued to be involved with child welfare and that he and his father had not had any physical altercations since the report.

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