Identifying information: The client is a 24 year old, white, fourth generation Irish-American, upper class, heterosexual, cisgender male who lives in between his parent’s three apartments in Manhattan. Dillon is single and has never been married. Born in New York the client is a US citizen. Dillon has a stable source of housing, however, he often has to move between three apartments due to neighbor and co-op board complaints about noise. Dillon’s father pays the rent/mortgage on the apartments where Dillon stays.
The client makes enough money to buy his own food but his work is inconsistent leaving him “without cash” often. Dillon’s parents were never married but remain in contact having once been close friends. His parents only lived together briefly when Dillon was in infant. Dillon’s highest level of education is high school. Dillon works at a nightlife promoter using his social network to supply clubs with attractive partygoers. In turn Dillon receives a few hundred dollars in cash at the end of the evening. Work for Dillon has become inconsistent over the past five years. He aspires to become a filmmaker.
Presenting problem: The client has recently experienced a myriad of legal problems stemming from his late night lifestyle. Caught while urinating in public twice, both times he was charged with possession of a controlled substance. In the second instance he was also brought up on resisting arrest and the assault of a police officer. Opposed to taking a plea Dillon is now involved in a lengthily trial. He has thus far been unable to supply the court with clean urine in order to pass the mandatory drug-testing portion of his case. His parents describe Dillon’s behavior as “withdrawn” and “irritable. Dillon says one of the reason he uses substances is because his parents are “over involved” in his life and “always telling him what to do. ”
Dillon has a desire to change his life but does not see the opportunity with the legal case hanging over his head and wishes his parents would “get off his back. ” Dillon describes physical symptoms of fatigue, difficulty concentrating, as well as moderate levels of anxiety. History of presenting problem: According to his mother Dillon has had issues with substances since the age of 14 having begun experimenting around the age of 12.
She describes an intoxicated teenage Dillon as “emotionally unstable, confrontational, angry and reactive. ” According to his mother after several distressing alcohol-related episodes in his teens Dillon discovered marijuana and stopped drinking. His parents, who are both in recovery, remained open-minded about the use of marijuana that seemed to have positive “benefits on Dillon’s mood and temperament. ” Dillon agrees with his assessment of his adolescent use, he admits to first trying alcohol at the age 11, marijuana and cocaine at 13, ecstasy at 14, and crystal meth at 18.
In the past two years has attempted three outpatient programs but finds issues with “their philosophies,” has trouble attending regularly and traditionally stopped attending after two or three sessions. Dillon has never been hospitalized or attended in an inpatient rehabilitation facility. Legal issues and the interpersonal stress his parents “cause” contribute to Dillon’s desire us use alcohol and marijuana. Maintaining factors include the lawsuit that is “hanging over his head” and the family dynamics between Dillon and his parents.
The client’s peer group and his work as a nightlife promoter serve as additional social and behavioral maintaining factors. Dillon O’Connor, Identified client, Interviewed 2/08/2017 “If the courts and my parents would just leave me alone I would be fine. ” Dillon was very clear that he does not see his “partying” as a problem explaining “everyone drinks and smokes pot occasionally. ” The client instead views the legal ramifications stemming from his use as well as the way his parents raised him and currently treat him as the problems.
Dillon’s mother is an artist and socialite his father is an event planner. The client stated that, “nightlife has always been a way of life for my family. ” Dillon mentioned even being brought to nightclubs as a toddler and that he began going on his own in early adolescence. He explains his substance use as, “the only thing” that “makes him feel better” under the tremendous stress of his legal problems. He concedes his current drugs of choice are marijuana, cocaine and alcohol. Through our discussion it became clear that Dillon sees family dynamics, law enforcement and the court system as the problem.
He feels like his interactions in these spheres have been punative and that he is being persecuted. Dillon does not see his own role in his substance use perhaps because his use has been normalized by the subculture or community where he spends most of his time. Dillon sees his legal issues as set or something he has very little ability to change or have influence over. He believes that police should not “target” or “illegally search” individuals and that once public policy changes on things like public urination that all current cases throughout the court system “should be dropped.
He thinks his parents just need to “back off” and “relax,” that they are “over involved” in his current dilemma and that they “lord it over him. ” He mentioned they are trying to leverage his legal issues to get him act like “someone he is not. ” Although Dillon did make some fair points about overzealous law enforcement and the slow pace of the legal system he did not really mention an intervention for these injustices or how he would advocate for change, rather he spoke about how things should be different.
On a family level it seems his intervention of telling his parents to “relax” or “back off” has not been effective thus far. Art O’Connor, Father, Interviewed 2/10/2017 “Dillon is a drug addict who needs to get sober. ” Art who is a successful event planner proclaims himself a self-made man who has been sober for 30 years. Although he admits he takes Vicodin daily for chronic pain that was diagnosed by a doctor and that he drinks and uses cocaine “occasionally” he is very proud of the sobriety he maintains through the 12-step program Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
He sees the program as helping him go from a daily user of drugs and alcohol to someone who has “a few slips a few times a year. ” He mentioned he has invited Dillon to come to meetings with him in the hope that it will help him get off drugs. He sees Dillon’s problem as a combination of lack of ambition, inheriting the “alcoholic genes from his mother” and “a lack of structure growing up” pointing out that Dillon’s mother “doesn’t do anything” except stay sober. He thinks that if he had raised Dillon he would understand that “hard work pays off” and “understand the value of a dollar.
Instead, he was raised by a woman who “smokes and watches TV all day” and sustains her way of life through “handouts and the generosity of others. ” Occasionally referring to Dillon as an “idiot” or “not too bright” Art relayed a story about how he has tried to hire Dillon to work parties a number of times and “when he shows up sometimes he is fine” but that he often misses scheduled work. Art who has mentioned he is multimillionaire just doesn’t understand why his son is unwilling to work for him during six-hour events for $10 an hour.
Art admits his staff does most of the work so it appears he goes to events, dinners and clubs and gets paid but explains that that is “after 20 years of hard work” and that Dillon thinks he can just “show up and get paid. ” Art’s only microsystem exploration of his son’s substance abuse seems to be the placing of blame on Dillon’s mother’s actions in the past. He did not mention how current family dynamics or his ongoing or historical actions have contributed to his son’s substance use.
He brushed off his son’s legal problems with local law enforcement saying, “this is what happens to people who break the law. ” He does not pay or contribute to his son’s defense insisting that “people who can not afford lawyers get free legal services. ” When talking about his son there was no mention of the atmosphere or community Dillon was raised in or mention of society as a whole. Viewing Dillon’s substance abuse as an issue on the individual level Art sees very little that he can do other than insist that Dillon attend AA and offer to go with him to meetings.