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Life History Case Study by Nora Ford

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Autor:   •  October 10, 2017  •  Research Paper  •  803 Words (4 Pages)  •  216 Views

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Life History Case Study by Nora Ford

        Dan Smith was born in 1954, so he is 63 years old.  He was born in the steel mil town of Gary, Indiana and was raised there, having a blue-collar environment.  He said  “I am proud of the fact that I worked my way out of that environment, being the only member of my family line that went to college.”  His early years up to the age of nine were uneventful, and with both parents providing a loving home he felt secure and was doing well in school.  (This is evidence that he passed through Erikson’s first stage – Trust versus Mistrust, and also the second stage of Autonomy versus Shame and Doubt.) Things began to change after that when his mother become increasingly mentally ill.  “She was often violent, and I felt my sense of personal security was greatly threatened,” said Dan.   Dan stated she attempted suicide once, but that he “was the one who found her and was I able to save my mother’s life by getting to the emergency room to have her stomached pumped.”  There were times when his mother expressed love for him, but other times when she threatened to kill him, and in her mental condition, Dan stated “she seemed serious about that so I locked my bedroom door each night and put furniture against it.”  (This is evidence that he went through industry vs. guilt.)  He had one sibling, an older sister, but she had already moved far away, and so he often felt alone.  Dan spoke of his father by saying “he was strong in some ways, and very dedicated to taking care of my mother, but he was old school and never wanted family counseling to address the problems in the home.”   During his second year in college in his mother was legally committed to a mental hospital.  “I cried a lot about that,” said Dan.  Within a few months, however, she could be released, but soon regressed.  Dan said “this experience was very emotionally painful for me at the time.”  (This evidence that he was experiencing Identity versus Role Confusion.)  He concentrated on his studies in college to avoid the pain, as well as trying to enjoy life with friends away from the family environment.  (This is more evidence of industry versus guilt.)

        Eventually when Dan graduated from college, he moved far away from home to make his own life, staying in touch and sometimes coming home to visit.  “Even these visits were sometimes painful because coming home was not a normal visit, and often there was violence or angry emotions expressed by my mother,” said Dan.  Over the years of education and pursuing his career, he was able to get counseling to address the painful memories and what Dan called his “brokenness.”  Dan stated that this resulted in great emotional growth and healing.  (This is evidence of experiencing Intimacy versus Role Confusion.)  During this time he also experienced a growth in what he called a “spiritual awakening.”  He began to feel that his life had purpose despite the pain experienced.  Dan stated, “I felt close to God from reading the Bible and trying to see God’s love in other people that had struggles too.”  He said he learned how to have “real friendships” and to experience “thinking about others besides myself.”  “I grew in confidence by more education leading to my dual masters degrees, through counseling and faith, and by trying to help others through volunteer work.’  Dan stated that a sense of humor “has always sustained me” and that when he was confused about life, “I just tried to enjoy myself and get through it.”  Today he is married with family.  (This is evidence of Generativity versus Stagnation.)  Happiness showed on his face when he began to talk about his wife and children.  “When I met my wife I was the happiest man in the world,” said Dan.  “My two daughters bring love and life and great meaning to my life every day,” he stated with great enthusiasm.  


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