Instructions: Review the case study given on Tanya and Mel. Then respond to the following prompts/questions in a cohesive written case report as if you are a social worker writing up your notes for the agency you work for.
- Describe the client’s presenting problem(s) through a theoretical framework of gender. Identify any gendered patterns of relational behavior that may be present in the case.
- Identify the intersectional aspects of identity that need to be explored to better understand your client—the couple—and evaluate how these intersections may play a role in the couple’s strained social support system.
- With the information provided, give an assessment of the couple’s strengths?
- Identify three goals for treatment you think are most significant for this couple’s presenting problem(s) and present an objective for each item to achieve these goals.
- Identify two countertransference issues that might come up for you while working with this couple and how you will work to resolve them.
Tanya (43 year old Puerto Rican female) and Mel (39 year old multiracial female) are life partners who are also parents to two children, Adya and Evan. They live in the suburbs of Nashville, TN. They have been together for 13 years and married for 8 years. Each partner carried one of the children and used the same anonymous sperm donor for the father. The children have no legal or social relationship to the biological father and each parent has equal parental rights, as they took additional legal precautions to become respective adoptive parents to the children. Adya is four and Evan is six.
Since having the kids, both partners feel their relationship has changed. They feel like they are great parents, but they have less physical intimacy and time for themselves as a couple. In addition to becoming parents, Tanya, a highly respected pediatrician with her own busy practice works full-time and financially supports the whole family. Mel is a registered nurse practitioner but resigned from her job to stay-at-home full-time parent after Evan was born. Mel is struggling to find her independence from the family and is thinking of going back to work. The idea of Mel returning to work presents some childcare challenges for the couple as they do not have easy access to family or care providers who will be sensitive to their family dynamic and Adya’s special needs. Adya was born legally blind, although she possesses some sight it in one eye, she meets the medical standard for legal blindness.
Tanya has also recently expressed that she feels Mel’s family treats her and Evan differently, and she feels that this is causing tension in Mel and Tanya’s interpersonal dynamic because Mel becomes defensive when Tanya brings it up. Additionally, Tanya’s family is not very supportive nor in the picture of their lives as a family, so Mel’s family is all they’ve got for an extended family network. Tanya does have a younger brother who is supportive, but he lives in San Diego and they do not get to see him much.
Tanya and Mel have been close over the years with a few lesbian and gay couples, but since having children their relationship dynamic has changed. Their friends are not parents and spend a lot of time socializing in the “big city.” Both feel their same-sex couple friends don’t quite understand them as parents, but they do try to stay in touch. Additionally, since Tanya works full-time out of the house and Mel is a stay-at-home parent, Mel meets other moms and dads (more moms) but not as a couple. Tanya feels like she cannot relate to Mel’s new “mom” friends.
The couple is concerned that they are drifting apart and are seeking support through your agency.