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The Positive Outcomes Blog

Case Summaries: Part 3

Clients: Jim Firesetter and Mom

Jim is a sixteen-year-old Caucasian male student in Gloucester City. Following a charge of using a lighter against a family member, Camden County Firewatch referred him to Positive Outcomes at the age of fifteen. The client is embedded in many other systems including the court system, school, and his family. The family has limited resources and currently has no insurance to seek services outside. POI has been seeing Jim for about 1 year.

In this case, a major role of Positive Outcomes is to serve as a link, which enabled him to continue in his education while attempting to manage his involvement in these systems. Jim had attended counseling previously due to his father’s death. Previous evaluation by a psychologist indicated symptoms of depression as well. Jim appeared ambivalent and guarded when he initially attended counseling sessions.” However, he consistently attended counseling sessions without fail. He would not talk much and would frequently respond to questions with “I don’t know” or “I don’t care.

After several sessions, it was apparent that his defenses began to drop as indicated by his increased willingness to speak in session. Various activities were used to develop therapeutic rapport including social interaction exercises, and exploration of his personal goals and interests. Rapport building holds particular importance due to the fact that the client does not have many other interpersonal connections or open up readily. Client eventually displayed affect while disclosing personal information about a family member.

Jim indicates that his home environment is a stressor to him.Accordingly, mother has recently started to attend counseling sessions with him.Jim has also explored his goals and what motivates him and deters him from accomplishing them. In a recent session, Jim requested feedback from the counselor on his progress.Because he is embedded in a family unit, it is imperative that we continue to work with him and his family to strengthen their ability to cope with stressors, make healthy choices and to interact effectively with the various systems involved.

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