Helping Individuals, Families, and Groups with Environmental Stressors 113 efforts to help an individual, family, or group to deal with an environmental stressor. The first teaching task is to help students clearly formulate the stressor. We have found it important to provide students with environmental stressor formulations. Follow the same format described in the previous chapter. Sev- eral examples that you may find useful are listed next. Environmental Life Stressor Illustration 1: Mrs. Bates (80 years old) was experiencing problems with her social network. A number of significant people in Mrs. B’s life felt involved and concerned about her, but they all lived some distance away and were seldom able to visit. In compensation, they frequently telephoned, trying to manage pieces of her life from a distance, doing “for” her rather than “with” her. In addition, some of their actions were in competition with each other, causing general confusion and distress. Illustration 2: Mr. Rosario (85 years old) has been in the nursing home for three years. The specific environmental obstacle that he bitterly complains about has to do with breakdowns in dietary service, which greatly reduces his enjoyment of mealtime. Certainly, mealtime represents a vitally important part of each day in an institution. When he does not receive sufficient utensils and napkins and is dissatisfied with the food, his quality of life is greatly affected. It symbolizes his feeling of lack of control. 5. When students have insufficient opportunities to help clients negotiate their environments, the instructor may have to use more of a hypothetical approach: “What would you do if the agency permitted home visits?” “Based on your readings and class discussions, what would you do differently if you could?” 6. Similar teaching methods are useful in teaching students to help clients negotiate their social networks and physical environments. Addressing Life and Environmental Stressors Simultaneously In this chapter, we emphasized that social workers are likely to work on life and environmental stressors simultaneously and that the distinction between the two often is a complex and dynamic one. 1. Use the case of Anne Marie, the survivor of sexual abuse, to help students understand the “back and forth” that social workers engage in between environmental and life transitional stressors and their interconnected- ness. Organize this discussion around the conceptual framework we have
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