Case Study #1Melissa SchultzLiberty University Case Study #1 CaseStudy Summary To understand the problems withinWalter and Pam’s relationship there must be an understanding of theirbackground, strengths, and weaknesses, which is found by reviewing their reportprovided by Olson (2017). Within theseareas, there are also discoveries of how each individual may add conflict tothe relationship. Overall, having agrasp on who Walter and Pam are as individuals and as a couple will assist thecounselor in knowing what areas to focus on, in order to improve theirmarriage. Background Walter and Pam’s background shows avariety of differences, but also some similarities. The first difference between Pam and Walteris their ethnic background; she is Caucasian and he holds multiple ethnicities. Both individuals may try to integrate theirheritages within the household, causing conflict within the relationship ifeach person holds different expectations of how the household should operate.
Other differences between the couple is theamount of education they completed, along with their career fields, employment,and income. Walter graduated from highschool, works for the government full-time as an executive leader, and makesapproximately $75,000 to $99,999 yearly. Pam pursued some higher education, works for herself part-time in aprofessional field, and makes anywhere between $20,000 and $29,999 yearly. With Walter holding the highest income withinthe household he may feel the need to take control of multiple areas within therelationship, making Pam feel as though she is under his wings and must submitto him. This could cause conflict whenPam tries to voice her concerns or ideas to Walter, and finds him unsupportiveor avoidant. Despite their differences,Walter and Pam have two children, been married for roughly 31 to 40 years, andlive in the suburbs.
They also holdChristian beliefs, have not been married previously, and range from 51 to 60years old. Equally important, they wereboth second born in their large families and their biological parents played agreat role in their childhood. Thesesimilarities may be the reasoning as to why the couple showed highersatisfaction in role transitions and spiritual beliefs. Strengths The couple’s report shows a couple ofareas they see eye to eye on and are therefore their strength areas. As stated previously, role transitions andspiritual beliefs are the strongest areas within their relationship. The main concern with role transitions is howPam may not fully agree with her role within the family dynamic. Pam may feel her skills are not being fullyutilized within the family, but instead of voicing this to Walter, she mightkeep these thoughts to herself and build up anger towards Walter. Both individuals also mentioned concerns withflexibility towards change.
If change isneeded to better their relationship, they may find themselves in constantconflict from unresolved problems they continue to experience. Reviewing spiritual beliefs, Pam appears tofeel distant from Walter in this area because of some differences they mayhave. Walter and Pam may experience anxietywhen discussing these disagreements, potentially leading to conflict.Weaknesses Walter and Pam’s report shows them tobe a conflicted couple, experiencing “a lower level of satisfaction and oftenstruggle with many areas of their relationship” (p. 4). For this reason, they do have an array ofareas to grow in. First, communicationshows many disagreements and as highly dissatisfying for Pam.
She seems to struggle with avoidance when itcomes to sharing her feelings and requests with Walter, while also showingdistrust in Walter’s shared thoughts or feelings. Similarly, she dislikes how Walter may notdisclose everything to her and would like to improve their conversations. Walter also wishes Pam were moreunderstanding and open with him. Pam ismost likely reluctant to offer her feelings or ideas in every discussion due toprevious abuse from her family and Walter. At the same time, Walter may feel isolated to express his emotions ifPam has distanced herself from him during conversations.
With communication being a struggle forWalter and Pam, they may encounter unsettled concerns within the relationshipoften, which may lead them to continuous resentment towards one another. Second, Walter and Pam showed todisagree greatly when it came to forgiveness and have room for improvement inthis area. Both individuals hold ontoprevious arguments, actions, and pain. However, Pam expressed tension and distance when conflict is supposedlyresolved.
She indicated that theystruggle to overcome conflict, and that Walter may hold animosity and fail toapologize or forgive at times as well. Similar to the communication category, Pam distrusts Walter in certainsituations because of the actions she has seen him illustrate. Walter clearly noted how previous actions arenot always fully buried, even after being forgiven. If Walter and Pam are always opening oldwounds, there is an opportunity for them to find themselves arguing over thesame issues and feel punished, trapped, depressed. Eventually, after fighting over the sameproblems they may only see one way out by filing for a divorce.
Their differences in forgiveness may be fromthe upbringing of different ethnicities and cultures, along with their oppositepersonalities that are discussed in the next section. A third weakness found within Walterand Pam’s assessment was their partner style and habits. Pam showed the most concern when it came toWalter’s behaviors, conveying him as stubborn, hotheaded, unreliable, negative,and isolated.
Both individualscommunicated that one another hold irritating habits, mood swings, and control. These indications may be partially correlatedto Pam’s previous “alcohol or drug use” or Walter’s “unhealthy sexual behavioror use of pornography” (p. 7).
Inessence, if one of them feel the other has not behaved in the same manner asthey would have, then further conflict and disappointment may form within therelationship. Fourth and finally, another areathat needs to be strengthened within the relationship would be conflictresolution. This is because of the listof stressors Pam expressed in the assessment and Walter showing potential harmtowards Pam during conflict. Moreover, Walterand Pam have varying ideas on what disagreements are important and how to resolvethem properly. Conflict that goesunresolved within their relationship may cause Pam to continue to feel stressed,while Walter feels unheard and angry towards Pam. Personalities Reviewing Walter and Pam’spersonality assessments provided by Olson (2017) is crucial, in order tounderstand how conflict arises within their relationship.
Moreover, analyzing their personalities givesa visual of how they overcome conflict. TheSCOPE personality assessment makes it possible to comprehend Walter and Pam’spersonalities by measuring the following topics: social, change, organization, pleasing,and emotional steadiness. The assessmentresults are discussed below, along with a breakdown of how each individualcontributes and recovers from conflict within the relationship. Walter’s SCOPEPersonality Results The first area of focus is Walter’ssociability results, where he is found to be an introvert. This personality type finds minimalsocializing and alone time as enjoyable, but can become distant if theyexperience something unexpected or feel unsteady. Walter also showed a low score when it comesto change, which means he can be highly drawn to previous experiences or traditionand reluctant to new places or adventures. When it comes to organization, Walter creates and follows goals, while beingreliable and open to elasticity.
Hislevel of organization may be all over the place at times due to hisflexibility, but that does not decrease his persistency. Unfortunately, the pleasing category of thepersonality assessment showed Walter tends to illustrate negative feelings fromhis assertiveness, and can be controlling towards Pam, family, friends, andco-workers. Lastly, Walter’s personalityscale displayed how his emotions can change quickly when an event out ofroutine happens; causing him to experience a high amount of stress thatnegatively affects his mental health. Heis more prone to “anxiety, anger, or depression when faced with stressfulsituations” (p. 24). Pam’s SCOPE Personality Results Examining Pam’s social scale, she isconsidered an extrovert who enjoys being around others and is energized fromdoing so. However, in vulnerablesituations she may feel the need to have all eyes on her.
In regards to change, Pam finds never-doneexperiences as exciting and is open-minded towards change, but can go overboardand make changes that others may find unnecessary. Pam also places a high importance on organization,creating detailed plans to ensure she meets her goals. Consequently, some may view her heart toalways meet goals and develop plans as extreme.
Pam’s pleasing scale showed her to be someone who will speak up. Typically, she is friendly and harmonioustowards others, showing an adamant attitude here and there. The final section of Pam’s personalityassessment displays her to be unshaken by anything life may throw at her, soher emotions are not affected from stress or new events in life. Conflict Contributions& Recovery After reviewing Walter and Pam’sresults from the SCOPE personality assessment there is an easier understandingof how each of them add to conflict within the relationship, along with howthey both personally recover from situations within the relationship. When looking at Walter’s social level, he maybe distant about certain issues that arise with Pam, throwing his hands up duringtheir discussion together and leave the problem unsolved. Eventually, this may cause more conflictwithin their relationship when the concern arises again. Based on Walter’s low score towards change,he may also appear reluctant towards new ideas that could potentially betterhis relationship with Pam. For example,if Pam creates a communication board and places it on the fridge in theirkitchen to help them keep each other updated between jobs, but Walter refusesto leave her any messages on it.
Pam maybecome frustrated with Walter’s negativity and inability to attempt her new idea. In addition, disputes may occur within therelationship due to Walter’s average organization level. He may not complete tasks as quickly ororganized as Pam would like, then creating tension or stress within theirrelationship. The biggest area of concernwhen looking at Walter’s personality assessment results is his low levels in pleasingand emotionally steady categories. Hemay typically control Pam, place his anger on her, or be unwilling to budge inmany areas of their relationship, in belief that he is in the right. These actions can lead Pam to expressfeelings of disrespect or harm, causing potential strife and Walter’s emotions toescalate.
With Walter and Pam’s SCOPEpersonality assessments varying greatly, it is also critical to analyze how Pammay bring about conflict and how she overcomes any hiccups in the relationship. With Pam’s high social score when adisagreement or unexpected event occurs with Walter she may voice ignorantstatements that easily offends Walter. Her shallowness may cause arguments instead of healthy discussions to createsolutions for problems within their relationship.
Unlike Walter’s low score on change, Pamholds a high score and could develop new experiences that Walter findsoverwhelming. Walter may then expresshis feelings of disagreement and find Pam to be unmoving with her suggestions,which causes both individuals to feel misunderstood. Additionally, Pam’s high organization score maycome across as excessive, nagging, or controlling to Walter and lead him toillustrate resentment towards her. Shemay also convey dissatisfaction towards Walter due to his organizationalstandards being different from hers. Furthermore, Pam may bring about unnecessary arguments with her averagescore on pleasing because of her unwillingness to potentially compromise withWalter when it comes to decision making. Pam and Walter were on opposite ends when it came to the emotionallysteady category, and therefore her unchanging reactions may cause Walter to believeshe is not engaged in the relationship at times.
Truly, Walter and Pam’spersonalities will cause them to react differently when it comes to recoverywithin their relationship. Both individualsmay show forgiveness when recovering from conflict, but Walter is more likelyto show resentment and control towards Pam during recovery. He may continue to bring up previous conflictand blame Pam for any future problems that arise within relationship, since hetends to avoid changes or admitting his mistakes. On the other hand, Pam may be internallyfrustrated after unresolved conflict and follow Walter’s plans because of hisassertiveness or control.
She may alsodoubt Walter’s future opinions or actions due to his past and unwillingness toresolve issues. In summary, the recoveryperiod for Walter and Pam currently leaves opportunity for further conflict tooccur within the relationship.Planof Action Solution-focused therapy and acombination of Olson’s (2017) Prepare/Enrich exercises would be the bestapproach to utilize with Walter and Pam. Solution-focused therapy would allow the couple to move away from theirpast and towards change (Goldenberg, Stanton, & Goldenberg, 2016).
As a solution-focused counselor, there is aneed to “listen to the language used as families describe their situations andthe conflict resolution they hope to achieve” (Goldenberg et al., 2016, p. 351). Based on Walter and Pam’s assessment, themain areas to focus on within counseling would be communication, forgiveness,partner style and habits, and conflict resolution (Olson, 2017).
Below is a breakdown of how therapy would beconducted, by handling these issues with a solution-focused approach andtechniques from Olson’s (2017) Prepare/Enrich program. Beginning Counseling After receiving and thoroughlyreviewing Walter and Pam’s report, the counseling process may begin. Before jumping into discussions aboutcommunication, forgiveness, partner and style habits, and conflict resolution acrucial technique must occur—the miracle question (Hosany, Wellman, & Lowe,2007). This is where both individualsare required to verbalize their ideal future for themselves and as a couple (Hosanyet al., 2007). As a result, the couplewill begin to develop a positive outlook for their future, become motivated aboutthe counseling process, and have a clear vision of what they hope to achieve incounseling (Hosany et al., 2007). CommunicationOnce Walter and Pam’s future vision isfully voiced and understood they would then complete a wish list, writing downactions each would prefer to see an increase of within the relationship (Olson,2017).
After, the couple will take turnssharing their wish lists aloud with one another. This process will especially help Pam developthe assertiveness needed to discuss needs, wants, or concerns in futureconversations with Walter (Olson, 2017). As well, as better their active listening skills when they providepositive feedback to one another about their wish lists (Olson, 2017). Outside of counseling, the couple would be advisedto share a few minutes each day of any positives that took place within theirrelationship (Olson, 2017). An exampleof this would be Walter telling Pam how he appreciates her having dinner readyby the time he got home from work, and then asking her “How can I help you withdinner tomorrow?” (Olson, 2017). Thesediscussions will help shift Walter and Pam’s communication skills in ahealthier direction, and “increase intrinsic motivation to supportself-efficacy” (Stermensky & Brown, 2017, p.
383). Partner Style &Habits Iwould utilize parts of the “Ten Steps for Resolving Conflict” by Olson (2017,p. 13), since solution-focused therapy partially relies on coming up withresolutions to prevent future conflict (Seponski, 2016).
Specifically, I would utilize steps 5-8(Olson, 2017). Forgiveness & ConflictResolution Since these areas have similarexercises, they would be focused on at the same time. To address these struggles within Walter andPam’s relationship discussion would need to take place on how the two feel whenthey are forgiven and when they forgive each other (Olson, 2017).
This conversation can help them see thebenefits of forgiveness and grace, preventing less conflict in the future onitems they might have brought up previously that were from the past. As the counselor, one suggestion that will begiven to the couple is “How to Take a Time-Out” (Olson, 2017, p. 14). A conversation on how they may think thisexercise could benefit them would also occur.
Conclusion ReferencesGoldenberg, I.,Stanton, M., & Goldenberg, H. (2016). Family therapy: An overview. Boston,MA: Cengage Learning.Hosany, Z.
, Wellman,N., & Lowe, T. (2007). Fostering a culture of engagement: A pilot study ofthe outcomes of training mental health nurses working in two UK acute admissionunits in brief solution-focused therapy techniques.
Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 14(7), 688-695.doi:10.1111/j.1365-2850.2007.01161.xOlson,D.
(2017). Prepare/Enrich. Retrieved fromhttps://www.prepare-enrich.com/webapp/pecv/facsession/template/DisplaySecureContent.vm;pc=1509988038322?id=pecv*facsession*facilitator_home.
html=Y=BNG4EVR=2660408899051=ENGLISHSeponski,D. M. (2016). A feminist-informed integration of emotionally docused andsolution-focused therapies. Journal ofFamily Psychotherapy, 27(4), 221-242. doi:10.1080/08975353.
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The perfect marriage: Solution-focusedtherapy and motivational interviewing in medical family therapy. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care,3(4), 383-387. doi:10.4103/2249-4863.148117