Presentation on theme: "Parental Illness and Psychological Health: A Counseling Case Study Robyn Bratica, M.A. Department of Psychology, University of Rhode Island Introduction."— Presentation transcript:
Parental Illness and Psychological Health: A Counseling Case Study Robyn Bratica, M.A. Department of Psychology, University of Rhode Island Introduction School psychologists are in the position to work with students who are experiencing parental illness. School psychologists may work with students in a one-on-one situation, and may provide a safe space for a child to communicate about situations that may be occurring both in and outside of school (McCue & Bonn, 1994). There are many different methods that may be utilized during individual counseling. Methods that have been found to be particularly helpful when working with children are play therapy and art therapy. Both of these are ideal methods as a child is allowed to communicate their thoughts and feelings through actions as opposed to words (Heiney et. al., 2001). Group counseling methods may also be employed, with family counseling and student support groups as two popular methods for child dealing with parental illness (Heiney, et. al., 2001). In a study of fourth grade students who were classified as academic underachievers, it was found that among fourth grade boys, involvement in group counseling led to improved academic performance; the same result was not found for girls (Munger, Winkler, Teigland, & Kranzler, 1964). The current case study focuses on counseling services delivered to a student who was coping with his fathers recent stroke. Methods Participant Male Caucasian Fourth grade student 10-years old (9-years old when counseling was first initiated) Father recovering from recent stroke Student frequently absent from school Setting Five total sessions Three sessions – within classroom Two sessions – within school library Materials Games Drawing materials Construction paper Crayons and colored pencils Activity: The Most Important Thing About Me Sessions Session 1 Student was asked to assent to working with a school psychology graduate student in a counseling setting Played a board game together and discussed students interests The purpose of this session was rapport building Abstract One of the most difficult situations with which a child may be faced is the illness of a parent. This poster describes a counseling case study in which counseling services were provided for five weeks to a fourth grade male student whose father had recently suffered from a stroke. Session 2 Once again utilized a game to facilitate interaction Concepts from child-centered play therapy (unconditional positive regard) were employed Discussion began of the students family system Session 3 Discussion of peer relations Reviewed consequences of actions Session 4 Utilized art therapy constructs (family picture drawing) Activity:: The Most Important Thing About Me Is… (student reflected on his ability in drawing) Session 5 Read a short passage to student about overcoming conflict with a peers – asked student to draw about a time that him and a peer disagreed Discussion Throughout the counseling sessions, this student appeared to respond well to unconditional positive regard and also appeared to be at ease in discussing his current family situations and his feelings about them while drawing. Though, as a result of the counseling sessions the student did report comfort in being able to speak to an adult about his fathers illness, his problem with absenteeism continued. However, problems that occurred within the school (such as arguing with other students) were addressed, and the student appeared ready and able to create plans to prevented such situations from continuing in the future.