Psychosocial Assessment, 1Running Header: Antwone Fisher My Psychosocial Assessment of Antwone Fisher LaTonya Shacklett Coppin State University Professor Tonya Philips SOWK 389 101 December 8, 2011
Psychosocial Assessment, 2Abstract:This paper will explore the like of Antwone Fisher. Based on a true story, this biographicaldrama centered around Antwone "Fish" Fisher. In the beginning of the story, he was a sailorprone to violent outbursts. On the verge of being kicked out of the Navy for repeated fighting, heis sent to a naval psychiatrist for help. Refusing to open up, Dr. Davenport slyly slips his wayinto getting Antwone to talk. Antwone eventually breaks down and reveals a horrific childhoodwith neglect and abuse. With the help of Dr. Davenport, he is able to face his past and strive forsuccess to find the family he has never met. At the same time, he is able to turn his life aroundand change it dramatically. In the end, he is reunited with both his fathers side of the family andhis mother who has abandoned him. For the purpose of this paper I will complete a psychosocialassessment based on background information given in the story. I will describe major problemsexperienced by this age group; identify psychological, environmental and social variables, socialdevelopment changes and my reaction to the film.
Psychosocial Assessment, 3Who Will Cry for the Little Boy? Who will cry for the little boy? Lost and all alone. Who will cry for the little boy? Abandoned without his own. Who will cry for the little boy? He cried himself to sleep. Who will cry for the little boy? He never had for keeps. Who will cry for the little boy? He walked the burning sand. Who will cry for the little boy? The boy inside the man. Who will cry for the little boy? Who knows well hurt and pain. Who will cry for the little boy? He died again and again. Who will cry for the little boy? A good boy he tried to be. Who will cry for the little boy? Who cries inside of me? By Antwone Fisher
Psychosocial Assessment, 4Identifying Information Antwone serves as a Petty Officer in the United States Navy. He is single andheterosexual, with no children.Presenting Problems Antwone was referred to the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet Medical Center for psychiatricevaluation, after pleading guilty to assault on a superior, non commissioned officer. As a resultof his physical aggression, he has been restricted to the boundaries of his U.S. Naval ship for 45days, and ordered to perform 45 days of extra duty. He was demoted from ships servicemanPetty Officer, third class, to ships serviceman Seaman. Antwone has a history of physicalaggression secondary to poor impulse control. Antwone referred for three sessions of psychiatryservice for assessment of physical aggression, anger management, and supportive treatment. Atthe end of treatment, a recommendation by Dr. Davenport will be submitted to Antwone’scommanding officer, for the purpose of determining reinstatement to active duty. According toAntwone, he sees no need for evaluation, and states that the cause of physical assault was a resultof racial remarks by the victim. Antwone’s attitude towards fighting is stated in his words, “It’sthe only way some people learn.” Antwone is a Seaman in the U.S. Navy, with steady income. Antwone currently receivespay for his service in the United States Navy as a Seaman (recently demoted from position ofPetty Officer). Due to Antwone’s recent incident of assault, he has incurred a forfeiture of hispay for two months, in the amount of $200.00 per month. Antwone does not own a home, andlives in the barracks of the naval ship. Health and dental insurance are provided through U.S.Navy benefits.
Psychosocial Assessment, 5Functioning Antwone is currently in the later adolescent psychosocial crisis stage of Intimacy vs.Isolation, the development task that must be completed are Autonomy from parents, genderidentity, internalized morality and career choice. The years from 18 to 24 are characterized by aheightened sensitivity to the process of identity development. Personal identity is developed asan individual struggles to answer questions. “What is the meaning of my life? Who am I? Wheream I headed?” For Antwone this is the most important question of them all. Due to him growingup in foster care and not having any connection to his family he is left wondering “Why?” During this stage there is a young man searching for himself and literally fighting for hislife, however, he uses the agitation of others as his punching bag. First we have autonomy fromparents; Antwone describes a critical turning point for him when he was a teenager he becameinvolved in a verbal altercation with his caregiver over money he errand. Antwone expressedgreat pride in standing up for himself without the use of violence. In Antwone’s Memoir hewrote, "It wasnt really the fear of her punishing me that kept me from telling anyone all thoseyears, “It was the unspeakable shame I felt about what went on with her ... and my unspeakableshame that maybe it was my fault." There were several stages in the psychosocial crisis stages that Antwone did not masterbefore moving to the next appropriate stage. In the first stage of Infancy the psychosocial crisis stage is Trust vs. Mistrust. Thedevelopment tasks are maturation of sensory, perceptual, and motor functions, attachment,sensorimotor intelligence and early casual schemes, understanding the nature of objects andcreating categories and emotional development. It is unknown to this writer if all developmentaltasks in this life stage were met.
Psychosocial Assessment, 6 Antwone was born on August 3, 1959, to a 17-year-old prison inmate, Eva Mae Fisher.His father Eddie Elkins, already deceased by the hand of the 19-year-old mother of his twoyoung daughters. The lost of his mother at two months of age lead one to believe that Antwonemight not have completing the first stage, during his first 3 months of life. Infants engage in avariety of behaviors to include their beginning to internalize rhythmic patterns of interaction,which become a foundation for expectations about interpersonal communication. Antwone waslater placed in a loving foster family where he was able to complete the remainder of thispsychosocial crisis stage completing the central process of mutuality with the caregiver. The second life stage is Toddlerhood ages 2 and 3 with a psychosocial crisis ofAutonomy vs. Shame and Doubt. The development tasks are elaboration of locomotion,language development, fantasy play and self-control. At this stage it seemed that Antwone didnot complete the developmental tasks of self control which would hindered the successfullymove to the next stage. For toddlers, self-control is the ability to comply with a request, modifybehavior according to the situation, initiate or postpone action, and behave in a sociallyacceptable way without having to be guided or directed by someone else. One of Antwone’spresenting problems was physical aggression and his attitude towards fighting is stated in hiswords, “It’s the only way some people learn.” At the onset of age two Antwone moved into the Tate foster home in Cleveland, Ohioonly a few blocks from the family he would dream about. Antwone endured harsh punishment bythe hand of the Tate family, reports experiencing continual physical, emotional, verbal, andsexual abuse. Often tied up and beaten, and then left in the dark basement after being tormentedby with fire while tied up by the hands of people he believed would protect and love him.
Psychosocial Assessment, 7 The third life stage is Early School Age ages 4 to 6 with a psychosocial crisis of Initiativevs. Guilt. The development tasks are gender identification, early moral development, self-theoryand peer play. Both gender identification and moral development are components of the child’sself-concept. Both of which are fundamental to the way a child conceives of the self in relation tothe social world. This one statement by Antwone sums it all up, “I was ashamed of beingunwanted and not having parent.” The next life stage Antwone missed a developmental tasks is Early Adolescence ages 12to 18 with a psychosocial crisis of Group Identity vs. Alienation. The development tasks arephysical maturation, formal operations, emotional development, membership in the peer groupand romantic and sexual relationships. Antwone reported experience difficulty when it came to intimate relationships. Antwonereported being sexually abused from age six until he was a teenager by a Nadine a cousinthrough his foster family, stating that the abuse included kissing and touching, penetration inunknown. Antwone describes feeling anxious and uncomfortable in close relationships, stating,“every time I let someone get close they leave me, everyone leaves. In his autobiography, Finding Fish: A Memoir, Fisher recalled how painful andconfusing it was to think of the Tate’s as his family. "At first," he wrote, "I wasnt told anythingabout being an orphan or a foster child. Even though everyone in the household had a differentlast name, which was confusing, to the best of my understanding, the Picketts were my parentsand the other children of varying ages were my brothers and sisters. But for all that I didnt knowand wasnt told about whom I was, a feeling of being unwanted and not belonging had been
Psychosocial Assessment, 8planted in me from a time that came before my memory. And it wasnt long before I came to theabsolute conclusion that I was an uninvited guest."Psychological, Social and Emotional Functioning Antwone is well-groomed, cleanly shaven, wearing a pressed naval uniform. He standswith a sense of purpose and greets commanding officer with a salute, showing appropriaterespect. He is well spoken and intelligent, with normal speech, and appropriate affect. Antwoneis soft spoken and maintains eye contact during conversation. He enjoys listening to music,drawing, and writing poetry. He is fluent in two languages, and is currently studying a thirdlanguage. Antwone has history of placement in the foster care system as well as a history ofhomelessness. He is a Seaman in the U.S. Navy, with steady income. He currently receives payfor his service in the United States Navy as a Seaman (recently demoted from position of PettyOfficer). Due to his recent incident of assault, he has incurred a forfeiture of his pay for twomonths, in the amount of $200.00 per month. He does not own a home, and lives in the barracksof the naval ship. Health and dental insurance are provided through U.S. Navy benefits. Antwone’s strengths lie in that he is polite, charming, insightful, and resilient. The abusehe has endured and lack of adequate social supports has created themes of insecure attachment,low self-esteem, and false self. He shows both insight and resiliency in his comment, “Mrs. Tatetried to turn us against each other so often, we started to hate each other, but I think we really justhated ourselves.” Although client was resistant to disclosure at first, and refused to talk for thefirst four sessions, he has become treatment compliant, able to communicate his psychosocialneeds, and is building the skills to get along with his peers and those in positions of authority.
Psychosocial Assessment, 9 Antwone is initially guarded with poor eye contact, but becomes more engaged withsocial interactions. He smiles while talking about Reverend Tate, but his smile quickly drops asdoes his eye contact, when asked about Mrs. Tate. Antwone often diffuses with humor, to easeanxiety. He became observably upset, over discussion of Jesse’s death, appearing mad at Jessefor robbing the store and for getting shot. He states, “He left me and he knew he was the onlyone I had…Jesse was the lucky one because he didn’t have to fight anymore.”Sexual and Emotional Relationship Antwone has never been married but has a girlfriend, Cheryl, who also serves in the U.S.Navy. According to the client, their relationship is steady. He is sexually active with hisgirlfriend, Cheryl, and identifies her as the woman to whom he lost his virginity. His girlfriendis very supportive of his needs and goals, and a main emotional support during his recent searchfor his biological family. Antwone has a history of physical and sexual abuse, occurring during his placement infoster care, with the Tate family. The sexual abuse began at the age of six, initiated by his cousin,Nadine (cousin through foster family, not biological). Antwone reports that abuse included,kissing and touching, penetration is unknown. He describes feeling anxious and uncomfortable inclose relationships, stating, “every time I let someone get close they leave me, everyone leaves.”Antwone states that his friend Jesse, who is now deceased, is the only person to whom he hasdisclosed his abuse.Personal and Family History Relevant to Current Focus Antwone was born in August 1976 at Ohio State Correctional Facility for women. Hismother, Eva Mae Fisher, was incarcerated at the time of his birth. He reports the reason for his
Psychosocial Assessment, 10mother’s incarceration is unknown. Antwone states he never met his father, Edward Elkins, as hewas murdered by an ex-girlfriend, two months before client was born. Only recently, had hediscovered that his father’s last name was Elkins. At birth, he was handed over to the state socialservices, for decisions about temporary placement, where he was intended to stay until hismother came to collect him, but she never did. Until recently, he states that he had neverattempted to locate his mother, although he fantasized about her throughout his childhood. Antwone lived in an orphanage for two years until being placed in the Tate foster homein Cleveland, Ohio. The head of the household was Reverend Tate and his wife, Mrs. Tate. Hewas the middle child with two foster brothers, the oldest being Keith and the youngest Dwight. Arelative of the Tate’s, who he calls Cousin Nadine, also lived in the home. Antwone reportsexperiencing continual physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse directed at himself and hisfoster brothers in the Tate home. He was often tied up and beaten, then left in the dark basementalone. Mrs. Tate would also torment client with fire while tied up. Antwone states that ReverendTate never beat him, “I think he pitied me and I liked him for it.” As a teenager, he raked lawnsto earn money. Antwone describes a critical turning point for him, was when he was a teenagerhe got into a verbal altercation with Mrs. Tate over money. He expresses great pride in standingup for himself, against Mrs. Tate, without the use of violence. He states he felt as though he hadrisen above her and above her negative expectation of him, in a way, he felt as though he hadone. This altercation resulted in the client getting kicked out of the home, at which point, hereturned to the orphanage. Antwone reports that the orphanage sent him to a social reform schoolin Pennsylvania due to concerns over poorly developed social skills. After emancipating at age18, he was taken to a men’s shelter by a social services social worker, who gave him $67.00,“and then I was on my own.” Stating he stayed in the shelter for one night and lived in
Psychosocial Assessment, 11homelessness, sleeping on park benches, after leaving the shelter. He then moved in with hisfriend, Jesse, who lived with his mother and extended family members; stating that he witnessedJesse’s murder, when shot in the head at close range by a storeowner, during attempted robbery.However, during his years of service, he has been under review and placed on restrictionmultiple times, for incidents of physical aggression towards peers. Antwone has been estrangedfrom his foster family since he was a teenager, and states that he does not have plans toreconcile, “They beat me, but they couldn’t destroy me, I’m still standing, I’m still strong, and Ialways will be.”Dr. Davenport the Helping Professional A professional that nurtures the growth of or addresses the problems of a personsphysical, psychological, intellectual, emotional or spiritual well-being, is a helping professional.Dr. Jerome Davenport, an African American psychiatrist crosses several boundaries whiletreating Antwone. Their first sessions are largely characterized by the patients squirming insilence after stating, "You may be able to make me come here but you cant make me talk", andDavenports tough love. Dr. Davenport crosses several boundaries while treating Antwone. Were the therapeuticboundaries that he crossed beneficial because they support a certain treatment method or goal,are they unavoidable, or are they unethical and possibly harmful for the patient? Davenportusually schedules one to three sessions to evaluate a patient and to make recommendations. Inorder to give Antwone the time necessary to open up and to let him carry the responsibility fortreatment success, the psychiatrist states that the three sessions do not start until Fisher beginstalking. To avoid putting pressure on Antwone, the psychiatrist does paperwork or eats a
Psychosocial Assessment, 12sandwich while waiting for his resistant patient to start speaking. According to the boundariesthat were set earlier, Davenport terminates after three productive therapy sessions. Since manyissues remain unsettled, Antwone acts out again by attacking a peer. He also explodes in theclinics waiting room and behaves toward Davenport in a highly inappropriate way. WhenAntwone apologizes and says "I dont know what to do", the psychiatrist admits his mistake ininsisting on early termination and agrees to see him for ongoing weekly sessions. Later in theirwork, the psychiatrist attempts to terminate again. This triggers his patients abandonment issues.When Antwone consequently describes another traumatic incident, Davenport sticks to his plan,and tells his patient to contact him again only after he finds his family. What solidified this waswhen he encourages Antwone to locate his family, Davenport says "I love you, son". If statedoutside the context of a therapeutic intervention, this might reflect the therapists counter-transference: Antwone becomes a surrogate son to the psychiatrist, who is himself in denialabout the pain of his childless marriage. If Davenports professional judgment is impaired, anemotionally exploitive dual relationship might develop that can be detrimental for Antwonestreatment. When Antwone makes a surprise visit to the psychiatrists home, Davenport setsboundaries clearly and quickly. As he takes on the role of a surrogate father, the psychiatristinvites his patient to a family dinner at Thanksgiving. It appears as if Davenport designed thisinvitation as a treatment intervention: because Antwone gets the opportunity to experience asupportive family for the first time in his life, he has a corrective emotional experience. In othercases such an invitation might be inappropriate, because it could lead to an interference withtherapeutic objectivity. In a subsequent scene they meet in a jail cell. This intervention seemssupportive and therapeutically necessary. Dr. Davenport says during one session, "Im gonna
Psychosocial Assessment, 13give you my phone number. If you have any problems, any questions at all, you call me ... anytime of day or night. ... Give me a call, ok?" Assuming the therapist planned it as a re-parentingintervention, this boundary crossing has a therapeutic purpose.Maslow Hierarchy of Needs The Basic Needs for Antwone would be the food at the dinner table. The Safety Needsfor Antwone would be when his friend Jesse takes him in off the streets when he was homeless.The Belonging & Love for Antwone would be When Dr. Davenport and his wife invite him todinner, when Dr. Davenport tell him he loves him, the first time he makes love to Cheryl and themoment he connects with his paternal family. The Self-Esteem for Antwone would be whenwent back to the Tate home to find information about his family he was able to stand strong andproud and said “you couldn’t destroy me, I’m still standing I’m still strong,” and when hereturned to his aunts home to find his family there to receive him with open arms. Self-Actualization for Antwone was when he found his family and his dream came true.The Parentified Child Jessie played the role of the parentified child. He was Antwone’s best friend, hisconfidant, and the keeper of his secrets. Whenever Antwone needed him he was there, it wasJessie who would take him in whenever Antwone knocked on the door. When he was homeless,Jessie took him in. Jessie provided food and shelter and cloths when he needed it.
Psychosocial Assessment, 14Discrimination Light vs. Dark racism have been common in the black and just about any communityaside from northern Europeans. Light-skinned blacks have long discriminated against darkerskinned blacks--this probably goes back to the days when the "house slaves" were envied (andusually lighter) by the "field slaves" for obvious reasons. Antwones aunt, who was portrayed ina good light, was of medium brown complexion, but his mother, who was not depicted with anygreat sympathy by the films conclusion, was played by a very dark-skinned woman. I just bringthis up because the film addresses black color consciousness-as Antwone says: "First the light-skinned girls were adopted, then the light-skinned boys, and then the dark-skinned girls, andfinally the dark-skinned boys." Antwone recalls how his foster-mother would compare himunfavorably with his half-white foster brother "He has good hair & skin & is better than you!"ConclusionA story of devastating pain and unquenchable hope which makes it understandable whyAntwone Fisher was an angry young man, prone to fight with his Navy shipmates. Born in awomans correctional facility, abandoned by his convict mother and his father murdered twomonths before his birth, Fisher was raised in the abusive home of a storefront preacher and hiswife where he was beaten and sexually abused on a regular basis. Abandoned by friends, familyand caregivers, Fisher turned to the Navy for a sense of both himself and family—a goal put injeopardy by his frequent outbursts of violence. What I realize after watching the film was just how much childhood traumas can affect usgreatly in our futures. Personally I can identify with the childhood abuse Antwone had to endure.
Psychosocial Assessment, 15When I was younger a man that I had trusted and considered an uncle, inappropriately touchedme, and then called me a liar when I told. As a child I was ridiculed by questions from thewomen around me because of my “imaginary accusations” as they called them. This moment isstill vivid to me because I wondered for years why it was that I had to explain myself in thesituation as though I was on trial for an act that someone had committed against me. Although Iknew that I was telling the truth, it affected me immensely in my relationships with other men inmy adulthood, for I could never fully trust their motives for caring for me. Similar to Antwone inhis fear of connecting with another after his childhood traumas, I face the same battles in myrelationships now; always questioning love from another and constantly keeping my guard upwith others. When I see Antwone I am inspired that one day I will be able to connect to a manand fully trust him; however I realize that I must face my own demons of the past in order tomove forward.