Social work


Family System Application
Using the following family case example, apply Bowen’s 8 interlocking concepts to explain family functioning.
Presenting Issue and Basic Assessment:
Guero and Jane Diaz requested an intake session for help with their 15-year-old son, Martin, after Jane found marijuana in his room in a plastic bag at the bottom of one of his dresser drawers. You meet with all three family members for an assessment, and you find that the marijuana incident is the most recent in a long series of battles between mother and son. After assessing for a possible substance use disorder issue, you conclude that it is teen experimentation, but there is not a pattern of use or other concerns which would lead to a diagnosis of a drug or alcohol disorder. However, you do have concerns about the frequency of arguments between mother and son, and the increase in the intensity of the conflictual encounters. There also seem to be some issues with school adjustment for Martin, which worries both you and his parents.
Family History:
Guero’s father died when Guero was young, and he and his sister were raised by their mother. His mother was devoted, overbearing, and critical at times. She struggled with allowing them to have activities or interests outside of the family home, and by late adolescence, Guero was avoiding his mother whenever he could. He left home at age 25 and cut off all contact with his mother. His sister continues to remain single and lives at home with their mother.
Jane is one of 5 siblings and had a very close relationship with her family growing up. She considers her siblings her best friends of her childhood. Janet’s parents believed that girls should stay at home after high school and focus on finding a husband and starting a family of their own. Janet did not want to take this path and struggled loudly with her parents about her desire to go to college. Her parents struggled to keep her at home, and she struggled to leave. She was successful in leaving for college and has been estranged from her parents since that time.
Early Relationship:
Guero and Jane met and felt a close connection to each other as neither had close family ties at that time. Their dating and engagement time was very short, and they married quickly. However, conflict soon arose as Guero was very sensitive to criticism from Jane, and Jane was very sensitive to any efforts of Guero to distance himself from her. Jane sought closeness and companionship, while Guero felt comfort in space. Guero showed a high level of sensitivity to any demands on his time, and Jane showed a high level of sadness and frustration whenever Guero indicated he did not want to engage in an activity with her that she suggested. After a period of conflict, the couple settled into a norm for them in which Guero put all his energy into his work, and Jane adjusted to spending time by herself and feeling distant from her husband. Not long after, Martin was born.
Family Development:
They were a bit excited about Martin’s birth but in different ways. Guero saw Martin as a positive and fun addition to their home, and Jane saw Martin as a way to fill her need for someone to be close to. Martin was her world. She was a doting and responsive mother who cared for his every need, often before he even had to fuss or cry. Jane hovered so much over her son, even when Guero attempted to spend time with him that Guero became frustrated and backed off, allowing Martin to be in Jane’s care and under her oversight all of the time. Jane was so close to Martin that she allowed him everything he wanted and allowed him to structure their days by what he wanted. She felt hurt when he cried, as if she was a bad parent, so she did everything possible to keep him satisfied and pacified, even when that meant buying more toys, eating off schedule, allowing toys and household items to be destroyed, and naps and baths to be skipped. Martin grew up believing he was the center of the family, and he never heard the word no. Rarely did he tantrum for more than one minute before his mother gave in to whatever he wanted. As Martin’s behavior became more intolerable in his toddler and preschool years, Guero spent more and more time at work. Jane continued to pour all her time and attention into Martin which also distracted her from her lack of a marital relationship.
Martin’s school problems began in earnest in elementary school when he was faced with firm boundaries and rules in the classroom. He had tantrums at school and made few friends as he was seen as a bully and inflexible in his interactions with peers. He mimicked his father’s behaviors when others tried to control him, and his mother always sided with Martin when she was called into the school, explaining that she did not think the school knew how to handle such as creative child as Martin.
Martin grew into adolescence with few friends aside from his mother. He continued to have difficulties at school and did not follow rules or submit assignments by due dates. He rarely was prepared for class, and occasionally completed homework. He told his teachers and administrators that he did not need school and that he was too smart for school, both things he had repeatedly heard his mother say in the past.
When adolescence started, the crisis at home boiled over as Martin attempted to form interests and activities outside of the home and Jane held on tight to him as if her life depended on him staying at home constantly. Guero continued to lengthen his hours at work to escape from the conflict at home. Even in Jane and Martin’s battles, they continued to remain the center of each other’s lives. Martin spent more time battling his mother than on any other activities in his life. (Case study from Nichols,


Approximately 250 words