Mental Health Counseling

Project – Population Selection and Rationale

This research is based on the clinical effectiveness in the development of relationships and treatment plans of patients from different racial and cultural backgrounds. The population selected is the patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. This in retrospect is a condition whereby a person suffers from deep fear, helplessness or dreadfulness, which may be because of an extremely distressing occurrence. The disorder in question is characterized by persistent recurring of the ordeal’s memories (flashbacks), persistent evasion of stimuli related with the ordeal and freezing of the general sensitivity and a persistent indication of increased involuntary stimulation (Cash, 2006). To establish whether a person is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, these symptoms should have been observed for a period not less than one month, and this should have caused the person clinically considerable distress or social impairment. This sectional treatise will highlight the rationale for selecting this population group, the steps taken to overcome the cultural and racial boundaries as well as interview questions to be asked when counseling patients suffering from this disorder.

               The reason behind choosing to research on this type of disorder is its high prevalence in the society. Curtin University of Technology (1993) posit “In today’s world people go through many traumatizing experiences because of the predominance of war related crimes and animosity among fellow humans. Most people still have a problem in dealing with the consequences of these occurrences once they have happened placing as the number one cause of mental disorders” (Curtin University of Technology, 1993). This brings out the importance of having post-traumatic counseling units, which are supposed to help the patients accept and know how to cope with the situations that they cannot change. Dealing with traumatizing experiences is usually hard, simply because many people do not know how to handle traumatized individuals. For example, they may keep on asking the person to explain what happened when this only worsens the situation.
               The main requirement for a posttraumatic stress patient is to find comfort and be able to deal with the past. A counselor should therefore acquire knowledge of different cultural settings and their belief of this disorder. This is one of the most effective methods of carrying out counseling sessions with the posttraumatic stress patients. It is usually successful because identifying with the persons cultural background creates an environment of familiarity and the patient therefore is able to open up. This is mostly applicable when this disorder is as a result of a war ordeal involving different communities.
               The patient’s gender should also be considered when preparing for the clinical sessions. Research shows that female patients feel more comfortable in the company of female consultants. The vice versa is also true, where male patients would prefer to be attended to by male consultants. This situation is common in cases involving sexual assault especially in women who might detest the men after the occurrence. Therefore giving them a male consultant would be increasing their problem instead of solving it.

Below is a sample of a clinical interview to be conducted by a posttraumatic stress counselor.

Interview questionnaire

Note: any information provided will remain confidential only to be unconfined with the owner’s permission.


Name of interviewee: __________________

Date: _______________________________

Time: ___________________________

Venue: ___________________________


I.Personal information:

Date of birth: ____________________________________________________________

Occupation: __________________________________________________________

Marital status:  Single    Married    Divorced    Widowed    others


Who brought you up?  Parent(s)    Guardian    Foster parent(s)

Did you have any distressing experience(s) as a child?  Yes   No

If yes, describe ________________________________________________________

What was the nature of your family?  Monogamous  Polygamous Single parent Others (specify) ­_______________________________

III.Substance abuse history:

Are you alcoholic? Yes   No

Have you been taking any addictive substances? Yes   No

If yes, what led you to take on this habit? ____________________________________

IV.The incident causing the post-traumatic stress.

What was the incident? ____________________________________________________

How old were you when it occurred? ___________________________________________

Was it a single incident or a chain of incidents? ___________________________________

Were there any other people involved? _________________________________________

Did it happen to you directly or is it something you witnessed? ______________________

How did it affect your normal life? ____________________________________________









Cash, A. (2006). Posttraumatic stress disorder: The Wiley concise guides to mental health. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.

Curtin University of Technology. (1993). Mental health disorders. East Perth, W.A: Curtin University of Technology, School of Nursing.

Ehlers, A., & Clark, D. (January 01, 2008). Post-traumatic stress disorder: The development of effective psychological treatments. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 62, 1, 11-18.

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