I’m to blame for all the problems in my family
Directions: Assume the perspective of a CBT therapist, and show how you would proceed with Carol by answering the questions that follow the case description.
CAROL: “I’m to blame for all the problems in my family”
As the oldest of three children, Carol (who is 29) berates herself for her family’s tension and dissension. Her father is depressed most of the time (which Carol feels responsible for); her mother feels overburdened and ineffectual (Carol feels she contributes to this); and both her sisters are doing poorly in school and having other personal problems (Carol also assumes responsibility for this). Somehow she is convinced that if she were different and did what she should do, most of these problems would greatly diminish. Assume, as you listen to her, that you hear her saying some of the following things:
- “My father looks to me to be the strong one in the family. I must be strong if I’m to gain his approval, which I feel I must ”
- “Since my mother is overworked, I should take on more of the responsibility for taking care of my younger sisters. I ought to be able to talk with them and help them with their problems.”
- “My sisters both expect me to do their chores for them, to help them at school, and to live up to the image they have of me. I ought to meet their ideals, and it would be absolutely horrible of me to fail in this regard. Then if they grow up with problems, I’ll have only myself to blame for the rest of my life.”
Answer the following questions related to the case study:
(1) What are the ABCs in this case?
(2) One of the things a rational emotive behavior therapist would do is teach Carol that her thinking and her evaluation of events are causing her problems (feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and insecurity). What do you hear her saying to herself that is irrational?
(3) List some other procedures you would be inclined to use in her case and explain why you would use them.
Source: Corey, G., & Muratori, M. (2017). Instructor’s Resource Manual to accompany Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
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