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Adolescent Development and Problems in Hypothetical Scenario

The following student question was involves the analysis of a scenario and then to apply an understanding of adolescent social, cultural, and cognitive development to respond to the questions posted by the scenario. This also includes an attempt to evaluate the main problem in the scenario and then use any of the theories or concepts from the reading to support such a conclusion.

"Scenario: Manny

"You work as a psychologist in a substance abuse agency and treat adolescents who are alcoholics. Your new client, Manny, is a fourteen-year-old, Hispanic male who lives with his grandmother in a two-room apartment in a poor section of the city. He is physically small for his age and seems to struggle with academic skills (he is functionally illiterate according to the intake assessor). When asked why he drinks, he simply looks at his shoes and shrugs. In fact, he really does not provide much information about anything, which you know is typical of most adolescents. You have noticed that he does become animated when you ask about his grandmother, music, and cars. He was arrested for public drunkenness and assigned to your outpatient treatment program as part of his rehabilitation.

"In this session, he finally tells you more about himself and his troubles. He tells you that he has not attended his classes at the high school (he is a freshman) in over two weeks. Now, he is afraid to return, because he thinks that he will be in trouble and that they may not allow him to return. He says that he realizes that getting an education will help him to leave his neighborhood someday for a better life. He wants to know what to do.

"Given what you know about adolescent development, assess Manny's main problems. Predict which of the problems might worsen without proper intervention and support your ideas using the concepts/theories from our readings.

"Create a short dialogue of what you would say to Manny to help him to identify his real problem. Then, guide him towards understanding what the real problem for him is, focusing on how his biological development might be interfering with his social development."

Solution Preview

Manny's problems are complex by way of socioeconomics and obscure background, but also typical in the sense of the emotional hurdles faced by most adolescents. However, he has a serious issue of alcohol abuse at the core of his problems, which is worsened by the fact that he is an adolescent. It's already being extensively studied and discovered that such levels of substance abuse at a developing age can bring serious neurological implications on the individual (Silveri, Rogowska, McCaffery & Yurhelun-Todd, 2011).

In order to deal with Manny's situation, one would have to employ an inside-out strategy where dealing with his alcoholism would be the first priority. As it stands, Manny's disenfranchised socioeconomic background has debilitating effects on his outlook and sociability. These factors--among other unknowns--have driven him to develop alcohol dependency, which further exacerbates his alienation and anti-social tendencies; a vicious cycle is created where in order to cope with one shortcoming - social challenges - he must resort to more drastic measures - drinking - that further impede his social progress and have a far-reaching effect on his biological development.

Nevertheless, Manny isn't entirely apathetic to his situation and does express rather acute awareness of his circumstances. He realizes the importance of education and at some level, he is driven by the belief that he must better ...

Solution Summary

The Hypothetical Scenario of 'Manny'.

An exploration of potential development issues--as well as potential approaches to counselling--for Manny, an adolescent who is suffering from youth disaffection that has resulted in an unhealthy dependency on alcohol as well as long-term absence of school.