Practicum – Engagement


TG comes to you for counseling. He has been seen by four female therapists at the counseling center, and has been assigned to you as your first case. You hear he has a preference for female counselors, and that he comes off as somewhat sexist. He is a 32 year old college student, trying to complete a program in legal studies. He has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder since his teens and is on again off again in his use of his medications due to the side effects. He used to abuse drugs, but says he has cleaned up his act. His relationship with his family is strained. He is biracial, and his father is a Native American medicine man, his mother is a high powered executive; they are divorced. His step-father is verbally abusive. His relationship with his bio-siblings is good, despite his concern that his sister did not tell him about a pregnancy that happened last year, she miscarried in week 12. His school experience is shaky, as he has tried to take but dropped out of intro to college algebra on four occassions. The university is losing patience with him. He works out for two hours a day, is an avid bike rider, and tries to eat healthy. In the first session with him, he abruptly leaves to use the bathroom on two occasions, when you were gathering family information.

Clarification – the reason he has seen 4 women is that they have all been interns and have all left at the end of their internship – he always requests a female, and has terminated and transferred from working with two males on staff (most recently the semester he is seen by you).

Question 1

What issues do you think YOU personally would have in engaging with this client?

Question 2

What barriers to engagement exist from the client”s perspective (e.g., personal biases, psychological conflicts, avoidance issues)?

Question 3

What can you do to promote engagement, to build a collaborative relationship? Make sure you use concepts from your theory and the Teyber text (attached here as multiple documents – it is the best copy I could get) to discussion your response to this question.


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