Theories of Counseling: Case Summary of Carol

Carol is a 39-year-old Caucasian woman who came into counseling due to difficulties in her marriage. Carol never attended college however she secretly would like go to school and pursue a degree in education. She married her husband Paul in her senior year of high-school due to her unexpected pregnancy with their oldest son. Together they have a total of five children, Paul, Jr (twenty-one), Jackie (twenty), Steven (seventeen), Joshua (fifteen), and, Amanda (seven) in their twenty-one year marriage.

The two oldest children are in college leaving the three youngest at home with Carol and Paul. Carol and Paul meet while in high-school however Paul is three years older and was a senior in college when they were married. Carol grew up in a small coal mining community in the mountains of Pennsylvania the youngest of seven children. Her parents David, who worked in the coal mines and Amanda, a homemaker, were also high school sweethearts and have been married for over fifty-five years.

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Carol and her siblings were raised in a strict Christian home with most of their social activities surrounded by the Church. Carols siblings are David, Jr. who is 51, Daniel who is 49, Joseph is 47, Zebulon is 45, Elizabeth is 43, Christopher is 40 and Carol. As the baby of the family Carol has always felt that she did not meet up to the expectations of her parents especially when she had to tell her family of her pregnancy. Carol’s family of origin had all of the exterior appearances of the “perfect” family. Her father was a coal miner and had very little time to spend with the children.

What interaction he did have was more with the boys than the two girls often saying that their mother was better at teaching them the work of a woman. Carol’s mother tried but with her time was most often spent with the Church and Church organizations. From all outside appearances they were the perfect family. Carol and Paul lived with his parents after they were first married and Paul continued his education in law. Once Paul graduated and passed the Pennsylvania bar exam he moved Carol and the children to Pittsburg.

Live in Pittsburg was beneficial financially for the family however Carol has always felt that she did not fit into the city life. While living in Pittsburg Paul admitted to having an affair with his administrative assistant. Carol had difficulty forgiving Paul for his affair however growing up in a strict Christian home divorce was out of the question. This is what has brought Carol into counseling Paul has stated that he wants a divorce and to start a new life with his administrative assistant. Several arguments have led to Paul moving out of the family home.

Carol feels that she is “owed” something from Paul since she has spent their entire married life as the wife and mother putting her own desires on hold to take care of their family. Additionally Carol has admitted that she is depressed and often will get up in the morning get the three youngest children off to school and then return to bed until they come home in the afternoon. Carol appears to be a thoughtful, intelligent woman whose first priority is her children and family followed by her love for her Church.

Carol feels that to accept her husband’s desire for a divorce is a sin in the eyes of the Lord and is willing to do anything she can to “get her husband back”. Additionally, she has found it difficult to explain the current situation to her family but knows that if there is a divorce she will need to return home with the youngest children in order to survive. This move in her opinion will be detrimental to the children since they have only ever lived in Pittsburg. It is all of these mixed feelings and depression that have helped her to make the decision to seek help.

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