Case Study of Liliana
Liliana, who is 24 years old, is voluntarily seeking counseling for “relationship issues.” She has lived in California’s San Francisco Bay Area for most of the time since her family emigrated with undocumented status from Mexico. Recently married, Liliana currently lives within a few miles of her mother and sisters. Liliana’s family of origin is economically poor. She has met but does not have ongoing contact with her biological father, who is “somewhere in Mexico.” Her mother and two older sisters are deeply committed to the Apostolic Christian Church, but Liliana does not attend services regularly. Liliana speaks reverently of her grandmother, although relations between the two were tense for a time. Liliana and her grandmother were not speaking to each other because of her grandmother’s rejection of Liliana’s younger sister. According to Liliana, her grandmother could not accept that her sister’s biological father was African American. Despite a very difficult time in public school, Liliana was able to succeed at a small private high school, and she was accepted by an Ivy League university. She left the university after her sophomore year to raise her own family. She is currently working for a successful technology firm as she completes her degree. Liliana’s sense of humor engages young people and adults, her penetrating insights guide conversations, and she is well liked by those who know her well. She continues to defy authority when she feels that it is unjustifiably imposed, is occasionally impatient with what she perceives to be the irrelevance of other people’s emotions or reasoning, and sometimes balks at what she sees as unnecessary or unimportant work. How might the framework described in this chapter be useful to a counselor’s efforts to improve Liliana’s mental health? The framework does not provide a script that Liliana’s counselor might follow. In fact, the framework is designed to discourage a search for solutions, pointing instead to better questions to guide a counselor’s practice. Some of these guiding questions might become actual questions that the counselor could ask Liliana. Others could guide the counselor’s attention during their meetings, helping the counselor discern those important ecological factors, identify the particulars of Liliana’s orientation to the counseling situation, and design and cocreate a safe physical and social space. The discussion questions that follow provide a limited example of guiding questions, organized according to the broad categories of variables described in our framework.
Counseling Across Cultures (Kindle Locations 6068-6086). SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.
- What sorts of experiences, if any, has Liliana had with racism and other kinds of discrimination? How have these contributed to the way Liliana sees herself and her lived world? How do race, language, class, gender, and so on matter to Liliana’s beliefs?
- How, if at all, does the ethnic, racial, linguistic, or economic background of the counselor matter to Liliana’s orientation to the counseling situation?
- Given what the counselor is learning about Liliana’s environment and orientation, what roles might the counselor take on to best meet Liliana’s needs? And under what conditions might such roles usefully vary?