Personal StatementMy name is Karina Serrano. I am originally fromBolivia but I have been living in Arlington,Virginia for around seven years. My goal anddream is to get a master’s degree in familytherapy. I am looking forward to researchingcouples and family behaviors through marriage.More specific, I would like to focus in majorissues related with couples, such as: verbalabuse, mental cruelty, and family conflict.
ResumeEducationArgosy University, Arlington VA.Bachelor Degree in Psychology and Criminology Expected December 2011Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria VA.Associates Degree with a Major in Social Science and Specialization in Psychology August 2009Wakefield High school, Arlington VAHigh School Diploma August 2005Obtained Mary Marshall scholarship two years in a row.
ResumeExperience Server/Bartender/Hostess August 2006 - Present Café La Ruche, Washington D.C Learn communication and interpersonal skills. Ensure customer quality and service as well as being responsible of greeting and seating of every guest. Receptionist Kool Smiles, Falls Church VA August 2010 – January 2011 Demonstrate organizational skills, detail oriented and ability to multi task. Communicate and coordinate with internal and external clients, customers and staff. Caterer July 2002 – July 2004 Capitol Hill Club, Washington D.C Decorate and plan social events. Organize and maintain a clean and pleasant atmosphere.
ReflectionArgosy University provides students all the support, guidance, and explicit information about career development. Thanks to my excellent instructors, consuls, and coordinators I could say that I am at my best moment. I increased my critical thinking abilities, and I am capable of performing a great job in psychology. The most important thing that I have learned from my courses, is the learning strategies for success. I have learned to visualize my goals and to positively project myself in the future. Now, I might say that I am able to recognize my skills and to identify my mission in life. Also, the experience of being part of this University was fabulous because I was able to enrich my knowledge about dealing with advances and technology. In addition, I have learned that the key to success in life is acquired through discipline, commitment, and prioritization. Making the most of my time allowed me to develop the skills and abilities to accomplish my goals. I learned to be honest with myself, and to make time assessments that in the future will certainly contribute to a better use of my time.
Table of ContentsCognitive Abilities: Critical Thinking and Information LiteracyResearch SkillsCommunication Skills: Oral and WrittenEthics and Diversity AwarenessFoundations of PsychologyApplied PsychologyInterpersonal Effectiveness
Critical ThinkingPsychological Evaluation(Cognitive Therapy &Family Systems Therapy)Ned Dates of Evaluation: 4/12/10 Case No.: 111,111 4/14/10 Building No.: 11 Admission Date: 3/2/10 Date of Report: 4/18/10Purpose of Evaluation: Ned is a thirty year-old male; he has 16 years of formal education. He comes from a wealthy family in which he received a very good education and a luxury life. Then, he decided to marry Nancy, she is ten years older than him, she has two kids from a previous marriage. He was admitted due to substance abuse and addictive behavior.The purpose for the current evaluation was to screen for evidence of Ned’s addiction to cocaine and alcohol. The nature of the underlying addictive behavior is that the absence of the father in his childhood cause on him a sense of abandon, and the excessive love of the mother also contribute with his addiction. Ned, found on Nancy a maternal figure and started a relationship while he was at college. He did not show any problems with Nancys children at first, however later he mentioned that he preferred to stop in a bar after work just to avoid the children.Ned started to use cocaine when he was seventeen years old, but he was not able to recognize the problem until last month when he end it up at the hospital after an over dose. Also, he admitted his alcohol addiction, by sharing his habits of drinking three to four glasses of whisky every day after work.The first goal is to help Ned to abstain from alcohol and cocaine, therefore cognitive treatment and family treatment are the following treatments that are going to be applied on Ned’s rehabilitation.
Critical ThinkingIf we compare cognitive treatment with family treatment, there are some things in common withboth. First of all, this both therapies have the same intention of keeping the patient away fromthe substance abuse. Also, the cognitive treatment is looking for the person ability to develop asense of responsibility on his actions. The family therapy also wants to develop the same senseon the patient as the cognitive treatment, but it tries to work with the whole family unit.The contrast between cognitive and family therapy, is that while cognitive tries to changedysfunctional thinking, some maladaptive behaviors, etc. Instead, the family therapy is not tryingto change anything, it just help the substance abuser and the family members to overcome theaddiction problem by identifying all the factors that lead the individual into an addiction.I would use the family therapy to help Ned to stop his addiction because family plays afundamental role in an individual normal development in life. If a person was raised in adysfunctional family, is more likely to fall into bad habits comparing with those that were alwaysin a normal environment. Also, family therapy each member of the family to deal with theaddiction, this therapy his the tools that will contribute to a recovering on the substance abuserand the family as a whole would function better.
Research Skills The Death Penalty in United States The capital punishment is an irreversible act that is going to have a negative connotation on the moral of a person. The Death Penalty in United States is a counterproductive procedure to combat violence, and the capital crimes that is willing to risk the lives of innocents. The families of those who have been executed are exposed to a chaotic situation. Also, from a religious prospect; the death penalty is an act of revenge that leads to hatred. Moral vs. Immoral Arguments The execution of a person who has been convicted from a capital crime is a very controversial topic, therefore the integrity and the moral of a country is in discussion. However, is the death penalty a right procedure? The answer to this question has two sides; there are some people who believe that the death penalty will prevent a re-offense by the same offender. Although, “those who supported the death penalty argue that the Constitution allows each state to decide for itself whether or not to impose the death penalty within certain federal guidelines…On the other hand those who would like to abolish the death penalty argue that the death penalty violates the Constitution, particularly the eight amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.”) (Henningfeld, Szumski, & Cothran, 2006 In both cases, the capital punishment still a very polemic issue that needs a lot of contemplation from the U.S. Supreme Court. The death penalty is seen as an immoral procedure that only seeks revenge. A violently way of punishing a criminal, is not a reasonable solution to combat violence and capital crimes. In 2004, Grant’s contents in the following viewpoint that the only motive for demanding the death penalty as opposed to life imprisonment is revenge. Grant argues that the vengeful justice offered by the death penalty is not reasonable. By making revenge possible, the death penalty encourages victims, their families, and society to react to violence violently, thereby making the nation ever more disordered. Cruelty and Brutality are present when applying a capital punishment because it seems that by supporting the execution, people have a sense ofsatisfaction. There is a problematic between whether or not the death penalty is looking for vengeance rather to retributive justice. The Retributive Justice is defined by those who support the death penalty as a theory for the moral evil of the wrongdoing alone, apart from any utilitarian consequences such as deterrence. As such retribution appears as a moral theory “Retributive justice is fueled by hatred and satisfied only with full and complete revenge _ the more cruel the more satisfying.” (Henningfeld, Szumski, & Cothran, 2006).It is very difficult to make a right decision when it comes to judge a person for some terrible crime. There might be more reasonable penalties than capital punishment. Many researchers try to demonstrate that the capital punishment seeks revenge rather than retribution of the crime. Honeyman and Ogloff (1995) have described the moral issues and the retribution justice of death penalty:The desire for vengeance or retribution is the desire to see persons suffer, or be punished, for their actions (Reiman, 1988). The principles of retribution suggest that a murderer should be executed because he or she "deserves" or "has earned" the sentence of death (Foley, 1983). Those who base their opposition to the death penalty on moral grounds argue that life is sacred and killing is always wrong, whether it is done by an individual or by the state. In addition, people also have questioned whether we as individuals or as a society have the right to decide that another must die. (p. 28) The Execution of InnocentsIn the modern society, the death penalty is an extreme form of punishment by the governmental law for the most serious criminal offenses. Even though death penalty is the highest degree of punishment, it is not the best way to punish criminals. Furthermore, many innocent people can be executed wrongfully. In some cases innocent people can be executed for the crimes they never committed. Especially, in the past; when DNA was not analyzed the number of innocent people killed was large. There are many reasons why a person can be wrongfully convicted such as: incompetence of attorney, the misuse of evidence, prosecutorial misconduct, false confessions, false witnesses testimony, etc. In Bedau and Radelet (1988) studied, “capital convictions for the period from 1900 to 1986 and identified 350 cases inwhich defendants were erroneously convicted of capital crimes. Twenty four of these people were executed for crimes that they did not commit. Society must determine whether the benefits gained through execution of convicted killers outweigh the risk of executing innocent persons.” (Honeyman, Jennifer C.; Ogloff, & James R. P., 1995)
Research Skills Justification for the Death Penalty People in favor of death penalty present many arguments to support the death of serious crimes offenders. “The death penalty’s incapacitative benefits come from preventing the individual murderers who are apprehended and executed from killing again. This effect is what criminologists refer to as specific deterrence.” (Bedau, and Cassell, 2004) Also the Myth of retribution states the following: “A mainstay of death penalty support, retribution stands as a theory of moral philosophy resting on the assertion that wrongdoing deserves punishment simply for the moral evil of the wrongdoing alone, apart from future utilitarian consequences such as deterrence” (Gerber, and Johnson, 2007) Another very important argument presented by the founder of Justice Matters contends that the death penalty is necessary and should be maintained. He asserts that thedeath penalty is the most appropriate form of punishment for vile crimes such as murder. Further, he argues that there is no proof that even one innocent person has been executed. He also asserts that the death penalty saves innocent lives and argues that most Americans support the death penalty.” (Henningfeld, Szumski, & Cothran, 2006) Everybody at some point thinks about the death penalty as a fair procedure to combat crime. Therefore, a person capable of committing a capital crime deserves not less than death. However, this procedure of killing in the name of those innocents that were murdered seems to give some kind of relieved, but the true isthat nothing can justify the death of innocent people. Therefore, those who tried to find reasons to support the death penalty, are not taking into account that life cannot be taken by the man hand. Grieving Families When thinking about the families of those who have been convicted wrongfully to the death penalty, we can see the fallacies of this procedure. All of themembers of those families who have seen the unfair procedure of criminal punishment can develop resentment against the whole system of criminal justice. In the cases in which innocent people were victims of execution, the whole family faces a traumatic situation. All of the members of the families that had experienced this injustice of killing innocents can present depression, anger, even suicidal/homicidal thoughts and actions after experiencing an unfair trial. “While there are many reasons to turn off the machinery of death, perhaps the most compelling is the ever-present possibility of executing innocent people.” (Hennigfeld, Szumski, & Cothran, 2006) Religion Arguments Religion plays a very important role in deciding whether or not the church accepts the criminal punishment. Many, people use the bible as the main guidance to either defend or reject the practice of the death penalty. As in all of the above, there are people that present evidence that God contemplates the death penalty as a teaching procedure. Also, people against death penalty have their arguments that react against this kind of punishment. Catholic Religion in favor of the Death Penalty The defenders of the death penalty justified their support to this procedure by giving some examples subtracted from the bible “The Old Testament is replete withreferences and examples of God taking life. In a sense, God used capital punishment to deal with Israel’s sins and the sins of the nations surrounding Israel….According to Genesis 9:6, capital punishment is based upon in belief in the sancity of life. It says, “Whoever sheds man’s blood by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God, He made man.” (Hennigfeld, Szumski, & Cothran, 2006) There are many other passages from the bible that are seeking to give a justification to allow the criminal punishment to be considered as the best solution against capital crime.
Research Skills Catholic Religion against the Death PenaltyPeople against the death penalty are constantly cites biblical passages to defend their point of view. “Jesus’ life and teachings….focus on mercy, reconciliation and redemption. (It may also be instructive to recall that Jesus death was itself an application of the death penalty).” (Hennigfeld, Szumski, & Cothran, 2006)The labor of many people who strongly believe in forgiveness and love as a main factor to redeem the moral of society and finally to get the abolishing of the deathpenalty has been arduous. One of the most important activist against the death penalty is the Sister Helen Prejean, she states that; “her Catholic faith has been the catalyst to inspire her work to follow the way of Jesus, who sided with the poor and dispossessed and despised.” (Prejean, 2005) Also, another very important figure that supports the abolition of the death penalty is Marietta Jaeger, she is a mother who lost her seven year-old daughter in Montana through a kidnapping. “Fifteen months after Susie’s kidnapping, the kidnapper was arrested. Although the death penalty was applicable in the case, Jaeger asked the FBI to settle for the alternative life imprisonment with psychiatric care. Only then did the kidnapper, a young man, finally admit to rape, strangulation death, decapitation and dismemberment of Susie. A short time later the young man committed suicide.” (Hennigfeld, Szumski, & Cothran, 2006) Mariettas principle of live is based on love and forgiveness. “Sometimes when I speak against the death penalty people accuse me of not loving my little girl very much. It is difficult for people to understand what it takes to get past that initial response of wanting revenge, so they assume that my lack of feelings of revenge reflects a lack of love for Susie. All I can say to them is that I loved her very much and I hope they never have to go through what I did in order to be able tounderstand what I am talking about. But the main reason I oppose the death penalty is because it dishonors Susie’s life. She had a sweet and gentle spirit. I don’t want that spirit dishonored by having her death avenged with more violence.” (king, 2003)There are some crimes that shook and caused anger and hate in people, criminals should not have place in society, however like Marietta and the nun Prejean; we should try to forgive and to love like Jesus did at the moment of his Crucifixion “forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke23:34) Alternatives Solutions against the Death Penalty The first alternative solution against the death penalty is to motivate people to vote for a change in Law that allows the death penalty. There are many ways to encourage society to fight against the death penalty. In 2005, Sister Helen Prejean states that: “citizens would consider the death penalty even more shocking if they could see it close up. But the death penalty is designed to make sure that doesn’t happen. Executions are almost secret rituals, which only a handful of citizens are allowed to watch. All efforts to make executions public have failed.” (Prejean, 2005) If people study the reality of the death penalty, they will be able to decide whether or not to support the death penalty. If people receive information about the lethal injection, and the electric chair, then they can make people realized about the brutality of the execution of a human being. Another alternative that can help to abolish the death penalty is the creation of a new prison system in which the criminal offender is strictly secure. With the implementation of the security system, the risk of criminal offenders to commit a re-offense will be minimal. The prisons in the United States should have the purpose to rehabilitate offenders and help them to become more productive rather than focusing only in punishment. The last alternative against the death penalty is the continuous desire of a better world through love and forgiveness. Once again, it seems that the only way to combat the circle of violence is with love, forgiveness, and comprehension.
Culture and Substance Abuse Among Spanish AmericansCommunication Skills
Factors that influence assessment and treatment. Influence of culture affect approach to treatment. Influence of culture affect the assessment. Demographics factors such as age, socioeconomic status, family composition.
Culture CompetencyCulture and Language may influence:How illness, disease and their causes are perceivedThe culturally skilled counselor believes, understands and integrates theirself-awareness as well as awareness of racism, sexism and poverty.They understand that diversity goes beyond race and ethnicity(Capuzzi, D.8Stan Prem, M.D, 2007)
Substance Abuse Among Spanish AmericansCulturally specific risk factors: Risk factors to the use of Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Environmental influences. Low parental involvement. Low parental monitoring. Parental use.
PreventionSensitivity to cultural heritage:•Recognize the impact of their beliefs in their ability to respectothers.•Identify specific attitudes, beliefs and values from their own culturalheritage that supports behaviors and values differences.
Common Issues when Working with Spanish Americans Clients•The bias is toward valuing diversity.•Lack of cultural knowledge. Also some cultural process and trends.
Ethics and Diversity Awareness Ethical Violations Related to the Issue of Imposing Values The issue of imposing values on clients could lead the whole purpose of the therapy into an unbeneficial procedure for the client. If the counselor tries to impose his or her beliefs, toward the clients, then the professional is violating the code of ethics, in which they cite the standard that “counselors are aware of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals. Counselors respect the diversity of clients, trainees, and research participants” (ACA, 2005, C.2.a) In the following case study, Joe; a 35-year-old, male mental-health counselor, received a client referral, a 35-year-old Jill, in the firstthree weeks of treatment Jill disclosed to Joe that she is feeling sexual attract to people from the same sex, Joe immediate reaction wasto reject Jill by giving her a shocked look, and also by demanding her to pray for forgiveness, since he was a traditional Catholic. In this specific case, Joe, is violation Jill’s rights to express herself freely, he is violating the code of ethics in many manners because bysuggesting her to pray for forgiveness it is clear that he is trying to impose on her a certain value that it might be not correct or beneficialfor Jill. By giving personal information about his religion beliefs, Joe is also attempting against Jill’s welfare because due to her condition of mild anxiety and depression she can feel even more confused and guilty about her feelings and committing a catastrophic decision. Also, another section of the ACA code of ethics is being violated by Joe when Jill disclosed that she was raised in a traditional Asian- American home with many cultural influences and culture specific rules and behaviors. Jill was struggling with balancing her individualism and her cultural heritage. Joe explained to her that because he was living and working in a rural community, mostlyconsisting of people of East European descent, he could not relate to Jill’s culture and the issues with which she was struggling. Section C.5. Nondiscrimination “Counselors do not condone or engage in discrimination based on age, culture, disability, ethnicity, race,religion/spirituality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status/ partnership, language preference…..” this specific code of ethics stands out that Joe is discriminating Jill by saying that he could not relate to Jill’s culture and the issues with which she was struggling because he was living in a place only interacting with East European descent, it is discrimination due to the kind of explanation he gave to her in order to avoid helping her to manage her struggles with balancing her individualism and her cultural behavior. Joe is not able to learn about other cultures because he is not even involving himself in the process of making Jill somequestions about her heritage that way with more information he could learn a little about diversity. It is very discriminatory to say that he could not relate to Jill’s culture, like she was from a different planet. A mental-health counselor should be aware at all times in not disrespecting and discriminating people’s differences in race, sexual orientation, etc. Joe violated these two specific codes because first of all, he was trying to impose his beliefs on Jill’s issues. He made her uncomfortable many times during the therapy because he was imposing all kinds of beliefs In the case study of Joe, the APA focus is more general and comprehensive compare to the ACA code of Ethics. However, the two of them are very similar and have as a priority, to protect the client’s welfare at all times. Both of these two ethical standards have the main purpose of providing clear and concise guidelines for mental-health professionals that are willing to help people looking for help.Once again, in this particular case, Joe imposed his values in many ways to Jill, he is already attempting to lose credibility to his clients, and if the case goes further his license could be removing.
Foundations of Psychology Specific Traits that Reflects My Personality The best job that would fit my personality traits according to the big five theory of personality development, is the one in which I would have minimal contact with others. I rate this question as low because it would not be a problem for me if I have to deal with a lot of people. For example, since I was a child; I had enjoyed my privacy and I feel that I tend to do best when I am alone. I am the onlydaughter and I think that this contributed to my preference of working alone, or with minimal people. Also, based on the five theory of personality development, I would rather to support someone in a leadership role and have less overall responsibility for providing directions to other. In this section, I rate medium because I think that I would rather to follow instructions and focus myself in performing an excellent job. Probably, the fact that I was a very spoiled child made me feel that I do not need to put much effort in doing things. I am more comfortable in waiting for a given task than in innovating things. In addition, the type of job that would fit my personality traits as evidenced from the five categories has to be one in which I would be able to focus on one task, sometimes for long periods of time. I give myself a low rate in this specific question because even though I would prefer to focus in one particular task, I get bored easily and I immediately seek for a change. For example, I think that is part of my personality the necessity for a change. Whenever I feel that I am living out of a routine, I have to immediately make adjustments in order to avoid depression or anxiety. In the next question, I see myself more likely to let circumstances determine the outcome of a given event for me. I rate this questionas high because I like to be patient and I think that everything in life happens for a reason. This does not mean that I am not ambitious about reaching my goals; however I feel that everything will come to me in the right time. For example, if a person gets obsess about getting into a relationship with someone and forces the situation, generally the relationship would not work. In the last set of questions, I would definitely prefer to focus on tasks that I know I do well. I am a little afraid of makingmistakes, probably I would love to improve things and suggest many ideas, but sometimes I am more motivated by my fears and I just focus in one particular thing. For example, I perceive myself as a very creative person, however I am very shy to expose my ideas. I have learned that I am a very passive person; also I feel that I am a little introverted. However, I would love to modify some of these traits of my personality. I have to learn to be more aggressive and more assertive in order to place myself in a better position in society. I am happy with whom I am, but we are living in a world that seeks for strong and very confident people, this is why I would like to open myself a little bit more. After completing this assignment, I also noticed that I have to accept that everyone’s style isdifferent, and even though everyone wants to feel important and become a leader not everybody is born a leader. However, we can all recognize our strengths and weaknesses and work to grow as individuals.
Applied Psychology The following statement from NAADAC code of ethics provides a clear guidance about the importance of being aware of cultural differences and diversity. V. Working in a Culturally Diverse World An Addiction professional understands the significance of the role that ethnicity and culture plays in an individual’s perceptions and how he or she lives in the world. Addiction professionals shall remain aware that many individuals have disabilities which may or may not be obvious. Some disabilities are invisible and unless described might not appear to inhibit expected social, work and health care interactions. Included in the invisible disabled category are those persons who are hearing impaired, have a learning disability, have a history of brain or physical injuries and those affected by chronic illness. Persons having such limitations might be younger than age 65. Part of the intake and assessment must then include a question about any additional factor that must be considered when working with the client (NAADAC, 2010). A substance abuse therapist shall be prepared to work with people with different cultural backgrounds. Also, the therapist should provide an environment free from any kind of intimidation or discrimination towards people with different cultural heritage. In addition, a se therapist has an obligation to avoid any form of discrimination to those with physical, mental disability, or medical condition.This statement can be applied in the field using the following example, Paul disclosed in an interview from his therapist that he is originally fromVenezuela; however he is struggling with balancing his cultural heritage because he is living in United States since he was five years old. The therapist explained to Paul that he could not relate to Paul’s culture issues with which he was struggling because he does not know anything about Latin culture. It is clear that the therapist is not making any effort in helping Paul’s cultural issues. Another example that shows unethical behavior: Susana is a substance abuse counselor that refuses to work with people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease. The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration code of ethics expect therapist to respect for Client Autonomy. This program respects each clients right to be fully informed about treatment and to make informed treatment decisions. This program provides clients with the information that is reasonably necessary to permit them to make informed decisions regarding treatment, including the information that participation in treatment is voluntary and clients have the right to refuse to participate. If consequences such as termination from other services or benefits or revocation of parole may result from refusal to consent to or continue treatment, the program will so inform the client at the time the client refuses to participate (SAMHSA, 2007).Therapists should provide to clients accurate information about their treatment, and the client’s should know that they have the right to quit the treatment at any time. For example, Sharon received a client referral, 20-year-old Thony, from a probation center. Thony has a crack addiction. Sharon explained to Thony that crack is such an addictive substance that once someone has used it, people may have difficulty in controlling the frequency that they use again. She tried to describe all the facts on crack addiction, and she also provided all the information regarding to his treatment. Sharon was following the code of ethics by providing all the information needed in this specific case.
Interpersonal EffectivenessRehabilitation Process Presentation
Personal PredispositionIntrospection or contemplation of self- observation.Increase his self-esteem by appreciating his values.By loving himself, he would love everybody else.By understanding his wrong doing he will understand the pain his causing to his family.
Personal PredispositionWithout the support of a friend, an alcoholic is less likely to recover that with somebody who loves him.Physical and/or sexual abuses deteriorate their personality and drags them down.The only way to start a new life is by showing his decision of stopping his drinking habit.Each member of his family is going to present a different response to his addiction.
Pulling Life Back Together AgainHarvey has to be very patient if the children do not respond positively to the changes at first.He should start respecting himself and think carefully about all the factors that are present in a functional family.He has to prepare a plan in which the children might become his priority as well as his wife.Harvey has to focus on his relationship with his wife because the children are going to appreciate if Harvey starts to treat the wife with respect and love.
ConclusionHarvey has to work very hard on his self- esteem.He has to love himself in order to be able to give love, to do that he has to forgive himself from all the bad times he brought to his family.He needs to have personal predisposition for the rehabilitation.
My Future in LearningThe experience of being a lifelong learner is the best way to make my dreams come true. It is an experience that helped me to vitalize my spirit, and to reinforce my abilities. Argosy University helped me to find opportunities to use my natural talents, and gifts. After being part of this magnificent experience, I feel that I can do anything that I set my mind to. I am sure I would continue my education, and I would get a master degree, this would certainly help me reach my goal of helping others to overcome obstacles and limitations with the help of psychology. In contrast, one of my biggest weaknesses is that sometimes I become too emotional. I had some difficulties in controlling my emotions. Sometimes, I can easily pick up on people’s problem and I am aware that this is not convenient in the profession. However, I would encourage myself to remain objective with my clients.
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