Vargas Family Cultural Formulation Interview

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PCN-521 Topic 2: Vargas Case Study

Elizabeth arrives on time with Frank and Heidi for the second session. Elizabeth appears somewhat frazzled and tells you that she had just heard from Bob who said he would be “a little late” because he “lost track of time.” You note Elizabeth’s frustration which she confirms by saying this is “typical.” She proceeds to share that she feels “completely disregarded,” especially after having shared with Bob the night before how important these sessions are to her. You notice that Heidi seems upset as well and looks as if she has been crying. You ask her how her day is going and she tearfully tells you that Frankie tore up her school paper with the gold star on it. Elizabeth elaborates that Frank had become angry and ripped up the picture that Heidi was proudly sharing with her. Frank, who had gone directly to the Legos, appears oblivious to the others in the room. When you ask him about his sister’s sadness, he replies, “Who cares? She always gets gold stars!”

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As you were about to further explore these feelings, Bob arrives stating, “She probably told you I’m always late, but hey, at least I’m consistent.” You notice Elizabeth’s eye rolling and direct your attention to the children, asking them about what brought them to your office. Heidi says, “I’m good but Frankie’s bad at school, and it makes Mommy and Daddy fight.” Frank, who had helped himself to one of your books to use as a car ramp argues, “I hate school. It’s boring and my teacher is mean.” Bob attributes Frank’s boredom to being “too smart for the second grade…what do they expect?” Elizabeth responds that they, like her, expect him to follow rules and be respectful, and suggests that Bob should share those same expectations. Bob dismisses Elizabeth’s concerns by saying, “He’s a normal boy, not like all your friends from work who you say are ‘creative.’”

You notice Elizabeth’s reaction and decide to redirect your attention to Frank. You ask him what bothers him most about school, to which he replies, “I get in trouble, then I don’t get to have all the recess time, then I can’t play soccer because they already started and they won’t let me play.” You notice Frank’s interest in sports and probe for more information. You learn that he is quite athletic and has been asked to join a competitive youth soccer team that plays on Saturdays and Sundays. You discover another source of discord when Elizabeth shares that Bob “feels strongly” that Sundays are to be spent only at church and with family. Bob confirms that after church on Sundays, they spend the rest of the day with his parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews. Elizabeth says that Sunday mornings are the only time she gets to be by herself and that she typically joins the family around 1:00 p.m. Bob adds, “Apparently Liz needs time to herself more than she needs God and her family,” and suggests she should appreciate his family more because “it’s the only family she has.”

As the session comes to a close, you share your observations of the family by noting their common goal of wanting to enjoy family time together. You also suggest that while Frank’s behavior challenges are concerning, perhaps you could focus next week on learning more about each parent’s family of origin in hopes of gaining a better understanding of the couple’s relationship.

© 2016. Grand Canyon University. All Rights Reserved.

© 2016. Grand Canyon University. All Rights Reserved.

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