A Question to the Client
Hello, my name is Name, and I am one of the social workers here at the center. I am going to perform some assessments with you to collect information about what is happening to you and what resources we can put in use to provide you with the necessary support. Before we start, I would like to let you know that everything that you will tell me will be kept confidential, and I will not share this information with anyone unless there are concerns that you may harm yourself or a child is at risk. Do you have any questions before we begin? Okay, what would you like to tell me about what is happening to you that brought you here today? I see. So, you are concerned that you will lose your wife and your job because of your alcohol abuse, but you cannot stop drinking because it helps you forget how you were sexually abused as a child by your stepfather.
The Effects of Trauma
It may be difficult for you to talk about the trauma you survived, and any person with the same experience would struggle. Sometimes, people experience traumatic events at some point in their lives, and these may lead to many emotional, physical, psychiatric, and behavioral consequences. For example, after experiencing trauma, people may suffer from low self-esteem, depression, chronic pain, anxiety, PTSD, or substance abuse (Knight, 2015). In your case, it seems that you have developed a self-protecting mechanism of avoidance since you say that you have never discussed your painful experiences with anyone (Elliot, 2005). Your alcohol abuse also seems to be the effect of your childhood trauma, and it helps you get distracted from those painful memories.
The intervention I would recommend to you is mindfulness-based meditation. Social workers use evidence-based practices to help their clients, so I suggest an intervention that, according to the evidence, is likely to be helpful in your case (Thyer, 2013). Mindfulness meditation is used for clients with trauma experiences to help them remain calm and stay in the present moment (Plummer et al., 2014). This practice will also help you to be non-judgmental toward your negative thoughts and allow you not to react to them. In addition, mindfulness meditation will be helpful to you after you cope with your alcohol abuse because it will help you prevent a relapse.
The Role of the Social Worker in the Intervention and Additional References
My role as a social worker will be to help you cope with substance abuse and avoid relapse. So, I would suggest that we hold individual sessions in which we will practice mindfulness meditation to help you stay in the present moment and deal with your negative thoughts. Counseling for childhood trauma is not within my scope of practice, so I will refer you to a psychotherapist in the local medical facility to help you cope with your trauma experience. I would also suggest that you should try couples counseling to stabilize your relationships with your wife and help her understand what you are going through. Finally, I will print out a list of local AA meetings where you can meet other people struggling with alcohol addiction and get the necessary support.
Elliott, D. E., Bjelajac, P., Fallot, R. D., Markoff, L. S., & Reed, B. G. (2005). Trauma‐informed or trauma‐denied: Principles and implementation of trauma‐informed services for women. Journal of Community Psychology, 33(4), 461-477.
Knight, C. (2015). Trauma-informed social work practice: Practice considerations and challenges. Clinical Social Work Journal, 43(1), 25-37.
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Sessions: Case histories. Laureate International Universities Publishing.
Thyer, B. A. (2013). Intervention with adults. In M. J. Holosko, C. N. Dulmus, & K. M. Sowers (Eds.), Social work practice with individuals and families: Evidence-informed assessments and interventions (pp. 147-176). Wiley.