Richard and Tammy have been married for 28 years. Tammy is a 49-year-old woman who works as a preschool teacher. Richard is a 52-year-old man who has worked in construction for most of his life. Based on information gathered you know that they have previously been in therapy (7 years ago). During that time, they were contemplating a divorce but were able to work through the challenges, as they put it, “for the children.” Now, they are separated and are convinced that divorce is the best option. They both indicate that as devoted Christians, they are heartbroken and emotionally devastated that they are considering a divorce. They emphasize that divorce is not something they want but see no other options given their recent interactions with one another.
As you ask questions about the current and persistent challenges you discover that Richard and Tammy do not talk to one another unless they are talking about their children (who are all out of the home at this point). You also discovered that they have not had sex with one another in over 2 years. As this information was shared, Tammy began to cry and stated that Richard no longer finds her attractive and is unable to have an erection whenever they try to have sex. She shared that this problem has been part of their relationship for over 10 years. With his hands folded over his chest, Richard states that he believes the erectile dysfunction is due to stress and not his attraction to Tammy. He further clarifies by sharing that he has seen a physician and they found no physical problems that would contribute to or cause the erectile dysfunction.
Tammy shares that when she tries to talk with Richard about anything, he shuts her out, turns on the television, leaves the room, or leaves the house altogether only to return days later. She shares that she is tired of chasing him and would prefer to live and be alone. Richard interrupts Tammy and says that she constantly berates him. He does not feel like he can do anything right and when he tries to talk to her, she yells and screams at him instead of talking to him. As he says this, Tammy immediately and vehemently denies these claims. Tammy indicates that Richard never says what he means and lies all the time as he is doing now. Tammy continues to say that since the children are now gone, she is ready to live a life free from commitment, pain, and sorrow. She says that he is not the man she once knew. This statement affected Richard as he shifted in his seat crossing his legs and folded his arms.
In a controlled and even tone, Richard states that they had simply grown apart and he agrees that separation and divorce may benefit them both. He looks right at Tammy and shares that even though they are moving toward separation he does not want it to be over with her.
- After reviewing the vignette, please select one of the two therapeutic models assigned to this week’s reading, (Structural Couple Therapy) and share with us a concise theory-driven (using the language of the theory) case conceptualization and clearly articulate what you believe to be the couple’s presenting problem(s). In addition, present a minimum of three relevant (related to the vignette) theory-specific interventions. Please include your rationale for the intervention selected and clearly describe how the interventions would address the presenting problem(s) expressed by the client unit.
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