Psychological Case Study

Psychological Case Study Abstract The aim of this case study is to investigate the participants relationships with other family members. Why does she argue so much with her mother? The problem that the client is faced with is in the relationship that she has with her mother. Although the love between them is clearly evident, there is a lot of friction between them and there are frequent arguments fought out. Symptoms from the client include violent swearing, shouting, sarcastic remarks, verbal attacks and sometimes physical violence.

I have found that her argumentative behaviour seems to be mostly caused by adolescent puberty, with biological hormone changes being ever present. Small stimuli and annoyances will trigger this behaviour and cause severe fear for her sweet innocent brother. Background Information Name: Eliza Samson Age: 13 Gender: Female Work: Student at St Georges C of E Secondary School Health Status: Generally good Family History of Mental Health: As far as she knows there is no history of mental health issues in recent family history. Family and Social Relationships: Thrives in her social relationships.

Has a wide range of friends with a wide range of different personalities. She appears to be able to socially adapt very well. Enjoys spending time with friends inside and outside school, at weekends and often after school as well. With her friends she will often visit their houses or go shopping or to the beach. In regards to her family relationships, things are generally positive. Although often argues with her family and quickly becomes violent towards them and will often swear. She feels that she is often subject to hazing from her brother and claims that this is why she acts out.

Drug and Alcohol History: None Life Difficulties: None Goals and Weaknesses: Her goal, currently, is to be able to get through school with good grades and study hairdressing at college. A weakness of hers is an inability to concentrate on something that she can’t understand quickly. If she cannot understand something, instead of tackling it and attempting to work it out, she will become very frustrated and refuse to acknowledge it. This study can be theoretically generalised to a few theories that I found in my research.

All these simple theories relate to why mother-daughter arguments occur. The first theory is by Ruddick, who points out that two primary factors, that in her opinion, form the basis of the conflict between mother and daughter are: The simple fact that a mother and her daughter are and should be two separate persons. What fosters growth or happiness in one does not always do the same for the other. This theory basically states that the mother and daughter are two different human beings with their own likes and interests and should not try to be the same person.

The second theory by Secunda thinks the problem lies more in the fact that mothers and daughters have an inherent position of being allies and enemies. Mothers and daughters share some aspects of their identities. However, there is just as much of a need to be different as there is to be similar. Secunda means that there is “a built-in and unavoidable tension that goes with being someone’s child. ” There is a competition that mothers and daughters feel that encourages daughters to do things as well as or better than their mums.

Daughters frequently feel that survival without their mothers would be impossible, despite the feelings that put mums and daughters at odds. However, psychotherapist and author of For Mothers of Difficult Daughters, Dr. Charney Hearts claims that all mother-daughter relationships are set up for misunderstanding due to each participant’s expectations. Mothers expect a reincarnation of self and an imitation of their behaviors. Daughters expect encouragement for individuality, approval of everything and all decisions, and lifetime nurturing.

Both mothers and daughters feel disappointment in each other for not living up to these impossible expectations and this, Hearts argues, is what is at the root of mother-daughter arguments. However my case study concluded that perhaps there is a much less complex reason for these arguments, this conclusion may possibly be down to individual differences. The problem that the client is faced with is in the relationship that she has with her mother. Although the love between them is clearly evident, there is a lot of friction between them and there are frequent arguments fought out.

Symptoms from the client include violent swearing, shouting, sarcastic remarks, verbal attacks and sometimes physical violence. The client feels that even though these arguments occur, her relationship with her mother is not negatively affected. When asked why she feels that she argues so much with her mother, the client said that she feels that her mother is always trying to “nose-in” on her life . She also said that often she gets a feeling of great frustration with her mother and her abusive outbursts are her outlet for that frustration.

It should be noted however that the participant felt that the frequency of the arguments between herself and her mother were a lot lower than what I had observed and she felt its was an average argument frequency. To conduct this case study I used a variety of different methods. One such method was direct observation. All my observations were covert so as to try to minimise any demand characteristics or other purposeful changes in behaviour that would have resulted from using an overt style observation.

I chose to undertake participant observations as I am a relation of the participant, so participant is used to my presence anyway. Also using participant observations allows me to gain a deeper understanding of the behaviour of participants, which helps to obtain richer data. To make sure that I was observing the most natural behaviour possible, I made sure to conduct a naturalistic observation. I chose observations as one of my research methods as using it allows you to capture the behaviour of individuals as it really happens, therefore allowing you to study behaviour that people may find difficult to discuss.

To record my findings I logged and transcribed as much of what I was seeing and hearing as possible into a notebook and then analysed the findings and grouped together common themes. I observed both normal behaviour in clients relationship with mother and also the argumentative behaviour between the client and mother. Another method I used to try to incorporate triangulation onto the study was Interviewing. I used a semi-structured face-to-face interview as it is a good compromise between the rigidity of a structured interview and the looseness of an unstructured interview.

Using a semi-structured interview allows for the possibility that the set questions will not necessarily capture all the potential data that can come from the interview. Often you achieve more focussed and refined data relevant to the topic of the interview than an unstructured interview. To record the interview data I digitally recorded the conversation and then transcribed it afterwards. As before I then picked out the key repeated themes and then compared them to the results that I got with my observation and looked for any similarities.

Data Analysis Within my 10 minute observations I witnessed 10 minutes of an argument between the client and her mother and 10 minutes of passive behaviour between them. However, off-record I have witnessed many many arguments between the client and mother, so I will use this previous knowledge too. The argument that I witnessed began because of the sensitive topic of homework. Any teenager, as i’m sure you know, finds homework a chore and when they are nagged to do it, they find the situation less than pleasing.

After witnessing many other arguments off record, I would like to say that arguments, at least between this client and her mother, seem to start whenever the client is nagged. However, I was presented with a problem as the things that were being nagged about shouldn’t have been enough to start arguments on the scale that were being started. So to try to remedy this I thought I should go directly to the client and conduct an interview. The interview threw up many different ideas to as why the arguments were occurring; this included the mother being nosy, invading her privacy, enforcing rules against her and being sarcastic too her.

While these themes were all well and good, I really wanted to get to the root of the problem, so utilising the handiness of a semi-structured interview, I probed to get to the root if it. After a while of slightly informal interviewing the client described emotional symptoms of puberty such as sudden rushes of emotion of which she cannot control. After this I realised that of course this could be a main contender to as why these arguments were occurring, especially when combined with the results I obtained from my observations. Overall, I feel that I have made valid conclusions, even though I maybe lacking the data to back them up.

As I have known the client and mother for 17 years, I cannot help but perhaps bias the results slightly as I am emotionally attached to the client and her mother. Due to this it is possible that I may have mis-diagnosed the patient’s argumentative behaviour. The way that I collected my information, was a strong point to this case study, I felt. I carefully looked at the pros and cons to each method and then chose the best one. Researching into existing theories on mother-daughter relationships enabled me to better analyse my data as I had learnt from the secondary data.


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