Case Study: 14-year-old biracial male living with his grandmother in a high-density public housing complex
This case study focuses on a 14-year-old biracial male who lives with his grandmother in a high-density public housing complex. The purpose of this study is to provide a summary of the interview conducted with the patient and to describe the communication techniques that would be used with him. Additionally, a risk assessment instrument will be selected and justified for its applicability to the patient. Lastly, five targeted questions will be provided that would be asked to the patient during the assessment process.
Summary of the Interview
During the interview, the 14-year-old biracial male expressed feelings of loneliness and isolation due to the lack of parental presence in his life. He shared that his mother is absent and his father is incarcerated, leaving his grandmother as his primary caregiver. Additionally, the patient mentioned experiencing bullying at school due to his ethnicity and the economic conditions he lives in. This has resulted in a decrease in his self-esteem and overall sense of well-being.
The patient exhibited symptoms of depression, including loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite, difficulty sleeping, and a consistently low mood. He also expressed a lack of motivation and decreased academic performance. The patient reported feelings of anger and frustration towards his absent parents and the challenging circumstances he finds himself in. However, he expressed the desire to improve his situation and achieve academic success.
When interacting with this patient, several communication techniques should be employed to foster a therapeutic relationship and facilitate effective communication. These techniques include active listening, empathy, non-judgmental attitude, reflection, and open-ended questioning.
Active listening entails giving full attention to the patient, both verbally and non-verbally, with an aim to understand their thoughts, feelings, and concerns. This technique involves making eye contact, nodding, and providing verbal cues to show engagement and interest in what the patient is saying.
Empathy is important in establishing a connection with the patient and conveying understanding and validation of their experiences and emotions. By acknowledging and reflecting back their feelings, the patient will feel heard and supported.
Maintaining a non-judgmental attitude is crucial to create a safe and open environment where the patient feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences. Avoiding any harsh or critical comments helps ensure that the patient feels accepted and understood, thus fostering trust and openness.
Reflection is a technique used to paraphrase and summarize the patient’s statements to demonstrate active listening and understanding. This allows the patient to confirm or correct any misconceptions and ensures both parties are on the same page.
Open-ended questioning is an effective method to encourage the patient to elaborate on their experiences, feelings, and thoughts. These questions cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” response, but require the patient to provide more detailed information, thereby promoting introspection and self-reflection.
These communication techniques are essential for establishing rapport and trust with the patient, as well as gathering comprehensive information and understanding of their unique circumstances and needs.
Risk Assessment Instrument
For this case study, the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) is selected as the appropriate risk assessment instrument. The CTQ is a widely recognized tool used to assess childhood trauma experiences, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, as well as neglect. Given the patient’s background and his exposure to adversity, this instrument is relevant for evaluating potential trauma and its impact on his current mental health.
The CTQ allows for a structured and comprehensive assessment of the patient’s adverse childhood experiences, providing insight into potential risk factors for his current emotional and psychological difficulties. By asking a series of targeted questions regarding the patient’s experiences, it enables a more thorough understanding of the potential effects of trauma on his overall well-being.
In order to assess the patient’s experiences and identify specific areas of concern, the following five targeted questions could be asked:
1. Can you tell me about your relationship with your parents? Have you experienced any separation, divorce, or absenteeism?
2. Have you ever encountered any incidents of bullying or discrimination at school, particularly related to your ethnicity or the environment you live in?
3. How would you describe your mood and overall emotional well-being? Have you noticed any changes recently?
4. How do you cope with the challenges you face in your daily life? Do you have any strategies or support systems in place?
5. Can you tell me about your academic performance and motivation? Have you noticed any changes in your ability to concentrate and focus on your studies?
These targeted questions aim to gather information about the patient’s relationships, experiences of trauma and discrimination, emotional well-being, coping mechanisms, and academic performance. The responses to these questions will contribute to the comprehensive assessment of the patient’s mental health needs and guide the development of an appropriate treatment plan.