Child Abuse and Neglect

In the case study, Brandon has successfully battled psychological problems which manifested themselves after he was abused by his father at a young age. His social worker effectively used the trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy to address the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression facing him. Moreover, the social worker could also have used the ecological model of counselling which integrates environmental and personal factors that affect human development, and organizes them into a coherent and logical narrative (Plummer et al., 2014). It involves analysis of how factors outside the life of a client impact his/her life and cause psychological distress. The social worker can analyze the environment in which Brandon grew up and determine the risk factors that contributed to his psychological problems. Through this, she can develop a set of protective factors that will help Brandon heal and prevent similar issues in future (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2016). 

At the micro level, the social worker should address the mental health problems facing Brandon, such as PTSD and depression, and help him to overcome the mental trauma he faced during childhood. She needs to assist him to reflect on the abuse and counsel him so that he learns the effective ways of overcoming the negative experience. At the mezzo level, the social worker should focus on Brandon’s relationships at home and school. She should counsel Brandon on effective coping skills that will rebuild his relationship with his mother (Moodley & Wu, 2013). She should also counsel the mother so that she understands what Brandon is going through and the social and emotional support she needs to give him to help him heal. The counselor should also help Brandon to build a strong and trust relationship with his classmates and teachers, which includes addressing his aggressive behaviors towards them. Moreover, after he heals, he may consider rebuilding his relationship with his father, if he so wishes. Finally, the macro level, the couselor may work with community organizations that can help Brandon and his mother overcome their challenges. These may include support groups where families that have undergone similar experiences can share their stories to achieve healing (Hohenshil & Niles, 2013). The counselor should also work with law enforcers to reassure Brandon of his safety so that he overcomes his fear of neighborhood sex offenders. 

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The counselor may have missed certain strengths when evaluating Brandon and his mother. One of these is Brandon’s resilience in view of his traumatic experience. Many people who have experienced physical and sexual abuse have taken drastic actions including suicide to deal with their pain. However, Brandon was resilient in the face of trauma, and he was even able to readjust in school. Brandon’s mother also expressed her trust and resolve in her son by standing by him all through and eventually taking him to seek psychological help. She had a strong relationship with her son and this is why he opened up and shared his abusive experience with her. Many victims of abuse are silent since they have no one to trust and share their traumatic experiences. 

Moreover, the social worker identifies challenges such as the fear by Brandon’s mother that her son may become a sexual offender in future.  She was also concerned about the impacts of the abuse on Brandon, and especially his emotions, as well as lack of effective coping skills to help him overcome the experience. If Brandon’s strengths were not identified and addressed, he would not have been able to overcome the trauma. He could have embraced ineffective coping skills such as aggression, and may have committed a serious crime against local sexual offenders in the quest to revenge what his father did to him. He may have also adopted a negative perception of sexuality as was evidenced by the comments he made towards his teacher. Moreover, the counsellor effectively used his strengths to motivate him to overcome the trauma and attain healing. 


Hohenshil, A. & Niles, S. (2013). Counseling Around the World: An International 

Handbook. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association

Moodley, G. & Wu, R.  (2013). Handbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy in an 

International Context. New York: Routledge.

Plummer, S. B., Makris, S. & Brocksen S. M. (2014). Social work case studies: Foundation 

year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. 

Zastrow, C. H. & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2016). Understanding human behavior and the social 

environment (10th ed.). Boston, MA:  Cengage Learning.

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