Figure 6-1: A Case Study

This case study will be referred to throughout this chapter. It will provide an example to which each type of humanistic or existential therapy will be applied.

Sandra is a 38-year-old African-American woman who has abused a number of substances, including cocaine, heroine, alcohol, and marijuana over the past 15 years. She left high school and was a prostitute for 5 years. Later she found a job as a sales clerk at a home furnishings store. Sandra had two children in her early twenties, a daughter who is now 15, and a son, aged 18. Because of her substance abuse problems, they live with other relatives who agreed to raise them. Sandra has been in treatment repeatedly and has remained substance free for the last 5 years, with several minor relapses. She has been married for 2 years, to Steve, a carpenter; he is substance free and supports her attempts to stay away from substances.

Last month she became symptomatic with AIDS. She has been HIV-positive for 5 years but had not developed any illnesses related to the disease. Sandra has practiced safe sex with her husband who knew of her HIV status. Recently, after learning from the physician at her clinic about her HIV symptoms, she began to "shoot up," which led her back into treatment. Out of fear, she came to the treatment center and asked to see a counselor at the clinic one day after work. She is worried about her marriage and that her husband will be devastated by this news. She is afraid she is no longer strong enough to stay away from drugs since discovering the onset of AIDS. She is also concerned about her children and her job. Uncertain of how she will keep on living, she is also terrified of dying.

From: Chapter 6 --Brief Humanistic and Existential Therapies

Cover of Brief Interventions and Brief Therapies for Substance Abuse
Brief Interventions and Brief Therapies for Substance Abuse.
Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 34.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

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