George: Using many lenses to assess cases George is brought to a community outpatient mental health clinic due to his parent’s observation that he is “not acting like a normal 13-year-old.” George’s parents report that he is failing school, has no peer group, and he is often angry at home, “lashing out at this younger brother and sister.” They brought him to the clinic because they think he is suffering from the same mental illness his mother has, and the last straw was that he was found with marijuana in his bedroom. The family reports a long and detailed family history of substance abuse. And, the community outpatient mental health report that George’s mother lives with debilitating symptoms of anxiety and intermittent depressive episodes. When you talk to George, he reports “My parents are exaggerating. I have friends. And, my little brother and sister are annoying, and are always bothering me and stealing my stuff. Besides I prefer hanging out by myself.
What are some of the “lenses” that social workers can view this case? ● Medical (Mental Health and Substance-Use) ● Family context ● School context ● Structural context ● What about the social context? ○ Does that matter? ○ How might our treatment plans differ depending on which lens we use? How might our interventions choices differ? How can we maintain a focus on the social context when thinking about cases on all levels?