It is commonplace in counseling to treat teenagers. However, it is a rare case to find a teenager who is in control of his condition or aware of his actions and the measure of the consequences. In addition, when a young person is in control of himself it is very possible to make a diagnosis and guide the teenager through the process of getting well.
This paper explores the fallacies that emerge during the therapy of John, a young man indulging in substance abuse. Are there flaws in the diagnosis? Was the treatment good and consistent with the practice standards and guidelines? Was there a breach of ethical considerations?
Overview of the diagnosis
In this case, the diagnosis revolves around a teenage boy who has developed a social cognitive disorder. He wants to identify with a certain group of the school community. His reasons for doing so reflect mere experiments and he has no serious cause to take up drugs, over indulge in smoking or being a drunkard. Contrary to popular belief that the onset of drug abuse is triggered by depression, there is little or no sign that this young man is depressed. His objective is to identify with a clique that causing stirs among peers
The diagnosis is inaccurate: the counselor is not aware of the young man’s pretense and passion to participate in substance abuse purely as an experiment. He wants to go through the process of being an addict and then be subjected to therapy so that he can get out of that environment. He is a manipulative, self centered and focused teenager who is already in charge of his life.
On the other hand, the counselor was right in his diagnosis in identifying the self-awareness of this boy, which helped the doctor find the appropriate means of putting the boy back on the reasoning track. By explaining and drawing out the boy’s path of self-destruction and explaining the trajectory and its consequences, the doctor is able to encourage the boy to refrain from these harmful habits and realizing that he is healthy, unlike his peers, decides to continue being a healthy individual.
Treatment method flaws
Throughout her approach, the counselor is unsure of what she is treating. This is attributed to the boy’s response to treatment and active participation in the recovery process. The doctor failed to recognize an identity crisis in its early stages and instead saw a boy being influenced by peers. However, looking at John’s course of substance abuse, it is evident that he was not under pressure to experiment but rather he copied their behavior in moderation while monitoring the results.
The counselors failure are as a result of his inability to consult the core of ethics. The code of ethics is a list of practitioner guidelines. They are standard guidelines that the industry requires to be adhered and looked up to by every practitioner. The failure to consult the code of ethics can be legally obliging and the practitioner risks jail time or suspension of the practice license. It is unethical to fail to consult the code of ethics. According to Golden (2002), the counselor should have observed the following core symptoms of depression from the model diagnosis chart if she was solidly convinced that the young man was depressed.
Symptoms of depression
- Spreading more time in solitary confinement
- Moody, irritable, alone and apathetic
- Contemplating suicide
- Avoids friends and family
- Change in feeding habits
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Irritable and constantly angry and lays blame on the family
- Physical symptoms like stomachaches and headaches (Golden, 2002, Jaffe, 1998)
Comparatively, these symptoms of depression were not present in John; neither did the diagnosis or other assessments come across such symptoms. In fact, John is more aware of his condition than his parents and the doctor himself; and it is only when the parents insisted on visiting a counselor did he feel obliged to shake off these bad habits because he was not addicted.
The practitioner fails to familiarize herself with the condition through wrong diagnosis. The doctor has not fully exhausted the empirical efficacy of the problem. It is a thumb rule that the practitioner do this by looking thoroughly through the code of ethics. Secondly, he/she should have the basic conceptualization about the causes of the problem. This is made possible even on speculation by consulting the practitioners code of ethics.
John was treated for the wrong diagnosis. The counselor opted to approach the psychological condition as depression rather than an identity crisis in a peer’s environment. While John responded rapidly to treatment, especially the therapy, he never learnt the lesson of being disciplined and respectful. He should have learned from his teachers and parents that even attempting to use drugs could have serious health implications. The truly profound thing about therapy is conceptualization, resolution and permanent resolve of the problem and its cause. The counselor has failed to provide such a comprehensive resolve.