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A Case Study: Imperial Dreams

Updated August 8, 2022

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A Case Study:  Imperial Dreams essay

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Bambi is a 21-year-old African American male who was recently released from prison and has little to no support system in place with family. His mother is struggling with substance abuse issues and his uncle has a criminal element that makes it difficult for Bambi when released with nowhere to live and no positive role models. His son, Daytone, is currently in the care of Bambi’s mother because the child’s mother is incarcerated. Bambi is faced with caring for himself as well as providing for his young son. He also has a brother and grandfather, but cannot stay with them because of housing regulations that do not allow ex-convicts on the premises, so this forces Bambi and his son to live in his car. He is also a victim of racial profiling by area police, and often questioned and detained due to possible association with criminal activity by his uncle and cousin. He witnesses the murder of his cousin and tries to shield Daytone from the violence

Bambi faces several obstacles, including the inability to obtain his driver’s license and searching for employment. Daytone was taken by DHHR because he was homeless and had been subjected to unsafe environments while in the care of his father. He has no help from others and often considers returning to the criminal and gangster life because he’s feeling hopeless and helpless. He dreams of a better life for himself and his son, and he aspires to become a writer.

It is important for the counselor to understand their culturally diverse client’s attitudes, behaviors and needs as well as their own biases. Following the R/CID model associated will help the counselor to understand the five levels of development that the oppressed population experience as they struggle to understand themselves and their own culture, the dominant culture, and the oppressive relationship between the two. (Sue & Sue 2016).

Studies reveal that African American males held negative views about mental health treatment that include claims that their counselors did not understand them, resulting in the individual not seeking help because of the perceived lack of confidence that the counselor can help them. As a counselor working with this population, one should be willing to explore the client’s perceived barriers to seeking mental health services to overcome the negative stigma. The development of an open and honest interaction within the therapeutic relationship can elevate the level of sincerity and trustworthiness. This will promote treatment and the therapeutic relationship between Bambi and the counselor. (Samuel 2015).

Bambi has entered the encounter stage of the black identity development model. His release from prison and lack of resources has challenged his mode of thinking and he begins to reinterpret the world and this results in a shift of is worldview. (Sue & Sue 2016). He is fully aware of his environment and his want and need for change and to continue his reform is strong. However, his environment and lack of resources and access to programs often bring him to consider easing back into the criminal elements for survival for himself and his son.

Bambi is faced with several dilemmas in everyday life once released from prison. He has no support system as well as no rehabilitation services in place upon release. This creates stress, anxiety and hopelessness for him. Upon release from prison, he encounters microagressions and oppression associated with racial profiling, poverty and cultural classism. (Sue & Sue 2016).

African American males are generally less likely to utilize mental health services, and is especially prevalent among those who have been recently incarcerated. Due to mental health stigma, fear and shame from peers and family members, and mistrust of mental health providers serve as barriers to pursuing counseling. In addition to the burden of his own mental health issues, Bambi is faced with the burden of having his own child to care for. He is returning to a community filled with poverty, unemployment, drug addiction and crime. (Samuel 2015).

Bambi also most likely is suffering from PTSD associated with the violence he has witnessed while living in his urban environment. Traumatic experiences are common with inner-city neighborhoods and include sudden death of loved ones. The murder of his cousin, Gideon, is a prime example. A proper assessment will need to be conducted to diagnose PTSD if applicable. (Gillikin, Habib, Evces, Bradley, Ressler, Sanders 2016).

It is important to increase mental health services among post release, and the prison system has to be part of the solution. Case workers in the prison system need to develop a service link for those who are preparing for release. This would allow Bambi to establish a therapeutic relationship with a counselor and promote trust in the treatment planning. (Samuel 2015). The counselor should advocate for Bambi, assist him with the steps necessary to find adequate housing, job training, and creating a support system that will empower the individual to continue to make good choices. Ensuring that the client would have adequate housing available upon release, as well as his basic needs met while in transition would be beneficial, and the client would be less likely to regress back into criminal behavior.

The counselor must advocate for Bambi to effectively navigate complex systems that include family and health services, and increase financial and employment opportunities and supports. As a counselor, one may consider the role of financial education to provide tools to help Bambi manage his income and create an achievable budget. Counselors working with clients in poverty, it is important to assist them in understanding the public assistance system which is often confusing and filled with deadlines and waiting lists. (Foss-Kelly, Generali, Kress 2017).

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a theoretical paradigm that treats problems by boosting happiness with modification of dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and thoughts. CBT focuses on solutions and encourages clients to change destructive patterns of behaviors and to make positive behavioral changes to promote general wellness. Therapy sessions need to be present centered and deal with the issues and what’s happening now, as well as thought focused to help the client navigate through feelings, fears and worries. Homework should be assigned to develop new skills and teach the client to understand their situations and responses, with the counselor taking on the “coach” role in the therapeutic relationship. It is important to focus on teaching coping skills, change, reinforce, and help the client to recognize and cope with the issues that they’re facing during CBT therapy. It is important to recognize the need to understand the cultural background and alleviate any bias that may be experienced as a counselor. (SAMHSA 2018).

Homework assignments should include journaling and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) and aid Bambi with identifying thought patterns and emotional tendencies to aid in addressing behaviors and how to make positive changes. (Ackerman 2017). Bambi is a talented writer, the journaling will provide positive homework feedback and he will be more likely to respond favorably to the suggestion.

Adapting the counseling sessions to accommodate Bambi’s needs may be challenging, but staying informed and up to date on supporting literature regarding African American Culture and poverty is imperative. Clients in poverty have often experienced some form of discrimination and oppression. Take the time necessary to research the client cultures and respect their differences from one’s own. This respect will be appreciated by Bambi and will have a positive impact on his decision to follow through with treatment. The positive therapeutic relationship established between the counselor and Bambi will be regarded as the foundation for the effective counseling outcome. It is possible that within the therapeutic relationship, that he may feel inferior or uncomfortable and possibly withhold important information. It is vital that for the counselor to acknowledge this to develop the positive relationship. (Foss-Kelly, Generali, Kress 2017).

Bambi’s dreams and goals regarding writing should be noted and discussed. He believes that the “American Dream” is obtainable for all people in society, including himself. He believes he can make it, and just needs the framework in place to turn his dreams into reality. As his counselor, it is necessary to give Bambi the tools he needs to achieve empowerment. Individuals who believe in the “American Dream” had higher self-esteem and a greater life satisfaction. They were also less likely for rearrests and less likely to conceal their criminal records on job applications. (LeBel, Richie & Maruna 2016).

As a counselor, one will frequently encounter clients who have multiple cultural backgrounds. In the case of Bambi, this includes those who live in poverty and suffer oppression as African Americans. Many counselors are trained to assume their client’s basic needs are met, and that they can focus on personal growth when in reality those need to focus on day-to-day life. Empowerment is the key, and personal growth can be obtained once basic life needs are met, and guiding the client through the series of steps necessary to accomplish personal well-being.

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A Case Study: Imperial Dreams. (2022, Aug 08). Retrieved from