Manuel is a 16 year-old Latino male and a first-generation American. He is in High School and you are serving as the school counselor or a contractual mental health professional. His mother and father immigrated from El Salvador 20 years ago and both are currently US citizens. Manuel has been referred for counseling/psychotherapy for increasingly aggressive behavior towards other male students in the school. On one occasion, he threatened another student and in a second incident, he was injured in a fight among schoolboys, and he also injured another male student pretty seriously, however, this fight took place after-hours and off school grounds. No other student or his family ever reported these injuries to anyone. Yet word about the fight spread among the student population that Manuel “busted a dude’s jaw open”. Manuel has gained a reputation as skilled in mixed martial arts (MMA) and he belongs to an inexpensive neighborhood gym. There was also an incident where Manuel was out on a date with a female student, and she became afraid and called her parents from a 7-11 to come and pick her up. She refused to disclose to anyone exactly what happened but told her mom that “Manuel is a scary guy”.
You have had one session with Manuel, and he presented as polite but could not see why he would need counseling for anything. He spoke openly and admitted to hanging around a gang of boys, all with family roots in El Salvador. He said he is not a gang member but “more like an affiliate”. When you asked him about this, he explained that most males in the school hung with racial groups as a means of “avoiding problems”. He stated that, “all the Blacks hang together and us Hispanics….. we hang in different groups based on where our parents are from. We got to do it see….because it’s like…..ya know…..if someone tries to mess with me…..then they got the whole gang on them” He minimized this and stated, “it ain’t no big thing like everyone wants to make it out to be……we ain’t roaming the streets with knives like no MS-13. That’s just a bad stereotype of us.”
School teachers recommended a few family sessions; however, this has been difficult. So far, you have only spoken with Manuel’s mom on the phone. Both parents work opposite shifts in unskilled labor jobs. As one parent is leaving home the other is returning home. They clearly love Manuel, yet they also have 3 other younger children and the family of six lives in a rented two-bedroom apartment. Manuel`s 14-year-old sister does a lot of the cooking, laundry and gets the younger two kids ready for school. In addition, despite earning minimum wage, Manuel’s parents send money back to relatives in El Salvador, who are themselves trying to get to the US. Manuel’s parents were very upset to hear that he might be affiliated with a gang. His mother began to cry and told you that they left El Salvador to get away from living in a world of gang generated terror and extortion.
- Analyze the following case and identify the elements of this situation unique to this Hispanic family. These are elements that must be considered in treatment, even if you never openly act upon them.
- List 3 clinical interventions you would utilize. Two of these should involve things you would say or do directly with Daniel. The third intervention should consider using to help this client in a family therapy session.
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