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Stress Disorder Case Study

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    Michael is a 40-year-old airline pilot who has recently begun to experience chest pains. The chest pains began when Michael signed his final divorce papers, ending his 15-year marriage. He fought for joint custody of his two children, ages 12 and 10, but although he wants to be with them more frequently, he only sees them every two weeks. This schedule is, in great part, a result of his employer’s announcement that budget constraints would result in layoffs. Michael worries that without his job he will be unable to support his children and lose the new townhouse that he purchased.

    Michael’s chest pains are becoming more frequent and he fears that he may be dying. 1. What are the causes of stress in Michael’s or Jennifer’s life? How is stress affecting Michael’s or Jennifer’s health? Michael’s stress is brought about both from his home life and his work life. At home, his heart is broken after losing his wife and two children in a divorce. Although he can still see his children, it is not as often as he would like. Compiled on top of this stressful situation is the fact that his boss has implied that several individuals are going to be laid off from work.

    As a man who has worked all his life to support himself and his way of life, he has grown accustomed to a particular style of living. However, if he is laid off, there will be many sacrifices that have to be made. Both of these situations are negatively affecting Michael’s health. His blood pressure is undoubtedly high, contributing to his chest pains. His deteriorating health will likely cause a heart attack, stroke, or other major health complications. 2. How are these stressors impacting Michael’s or Jennifer’s self-concept and self-esteem?

    Michael’s self-concept is deteriorating. The way that he has interacted socially has led him to divorce. It now seems that he has done everything wrong, and that he has failed to acquire the American dream. Without doubt, if Michael’s life does not soon pick up then he will become a social outcast as he is unable to use the cognitive skills he had before all of the stress entered his life. In addition, Michael’s self-esteem is also rapidly declining. He will begin to question his abilities and the decisions he has made.

    If these situations continue, he will likely become depressed and lose all confidence in himself. He will likely begin to think negatively about himself and feel that he has nothing to live for. He would feel that everyone viewed him as loser and that nothing he did was worthwhile. Eventually he might view himself so worthless that it would drive him to physically harm himself. 3. How might Michael’s or Jennifer’s situation illustrate adjustment? How might this situation become an opportunity for personal growth? Michael’s situation illustrates adjustment on several different levels.

    First, he must adjust to not having his wife and kids around when he returned home from work. It is clear that Michael is stressed over not seeing his kids, and it will be difficult for him now that he can only see them every two weeks. Also, Michael will have to adjust to different spending habits. If he loses his job then he will not have the steady income that he did while he held the job. Therefore any “wants” that he would spend his money on will have to be eliminated as they are replaced by “needs. ” There is certainly room for personal growth.

    Since Michael seldom sees his children, he has time to reflect upon how he could be a better father. Also, he can consider his ex-wife’s feelings and treat her better he had not in the past. He could certainly learn that family is more important than anything else. As far as his career is concerned, he has the opportunity to try out a new job that he has always wanted to do. He could start his own business or go back to school. 4. What defensive coping methods is Michael or Jennifer using? What active coping methods might be healthier for Michael or Jennifer to use?

    Explain why you would recommend these methods. Michael’s defensive coping mechanisms are conversion and somatization. These coping methods cause Michael’s problems to cause him physical pain. The more he stresses out over his family and work the greater his pain will become. Michael needs to find away to relieve his stress in an effort to prevent any further physical symptoms from controlling his life. The coping method that would be healthier for Michael is meditating. Mediating allows an individual to obtain a clear mind and to remove the stress that is burdening one.

    Mediation helps to decrease anxiety which in turn will help in increase an individual’s happiness level. It will also help to lower Michael’s blood pressure and remove toxins from his body. One of the greatest advantages of mediation for Michael is that he can do it on his own for free. If Michael would meditate that he could relax and extinguish the stress which would inevitably cause his pain to stop. 5. Select one theory of personality and use this theory to tell Michael or Jennifer how this theory explains his or her situation. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explains Michael’s situation.

    His life was going good because he has his foundational layers holding him up. However, when he got his divorce and lost his children he also lost his “belonging needs” level. He was then a bit unstable. However, it gets worse. When he heard word that he might be losing his job due to lay-offs, he lost his “safety needs” level. He grew concerned that he might lose his house and that he would not be able to support his children. With the elimination of these two levels, it was only possible for Michael to meet the “physiological needs” level.

    There is no hope for Michael to reach the “esteem needs” or “self-actualization” level because his “safety needs” and his “belonging needs” levels have been destroyed. This has caused him to stress out and cause himself physical burdens. Michael must rebuild these two levels if he wants to return his life to its happy state. 6. In what stage of development is Michael or Jennifer and what factors about this stage might be impacting his or her perspective of this situation? I’ve researched this question for several hours now and I cannot find any answer for this.

    If you have any information that could help I would appreciate it, otherwise you may need to speak with your instructor or classmates. I’m sorry. 7. What relationship factors or considerations might be influencing Michael’s or Jennifer’s problems? Michael is suffering in all areas of his relationships. He has major stress in his life due to such relationship problems. For example, due to the divorce he has lost his best friend, his wife. Now his personal needs and goals are not being met.

    Since his relationship has failed he no longer is able to fulfill his capacity to function and grow with a relationship for he has too much stress and pain. Also, he no longer is able to help other function and grow in a relationship because the doors have been closed to his heart. He is so damaged by the divorce that he is causing himself physical pain. Therefore, he has not even begun to consider his emotional and mental pains. The fact that Michael can only seldom see his children is causing withdrawal pains. Overall, the divorce and his absence from his children are influencing Michael’s problems.

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