Academic journal article Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

Multicultural Literacy: Steve's Treatment Plan

Academic journal article Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

Multicultural Literacy: Steve's Treatment Plan

Article excerpt

I did not plan on learning about myself when I was assigned to write a treatment plan for Steve. At most I expected to be taught something about analyzing how a traumatic experience can become something one can cope with. However, in the course of producing the plan, I became aware of myself and my unique experience in life which in retrospect helped to make my approach to the assignment an effective one.

Starting from the beginning, the progressive viewpoints of my parents, their choice to send me to public school, and their raising me among people from many diverse backgrounds, cultures and lifestyles, helped to form a perspective for me that was quite different from the average white American child. I grew up a witness to violence, racism, homophobia, and sexism but also participated in multicultural celebrations, progressive theater, and Hip Hop. Being from the city helped me to identify with how a teenager in Boston might experience the world.

I have always enjoyed working with young people and have been doing so for over ten years. In fact, when I refer in the essay to the Teen Director at the YMCA, I am talking about myself. Working with youth from the inner city, especially teens, makes me aware of how violence pervades the lives of adolescents today on the streets, in the schools, and at home. Working with them on a daily basis, I have found myself in the heart of serious cases of trauma and recognize that providing emotional safety is an important part of my job. The Youth Worker in me was able to identify appropriate environments where a young person like Steve could feel supported, nurtured and valued. This was for me a critical part of his treatment.

I enjoyed producing Steve's Treatment Plan. It was a challenging assignment that rewarded me in many ways including increased self-awareness. I hope you enjoy reading it.


Steve is a gregarious, intelligent, and responsible student here at Hypothetical High. He was referred to me, as the school counselor, by a teacher who was noticing that Steve has been withdrawing from the social life he once enjoyed and has begun seem more and more depressed. Steve opened up to me very quickly perhaps due to my African American professional status, and after only a few meetings he revealed to me what seems to be the root or roots of his recent emotional difficulties.

Steve lost his father, with whom he was very close, abruptly to a car accident just before Steve entered puberty. However Steve was denied the chance to grieve his loss appropriately due to the responsibility he felt, as his mother's oldest child, to care for his younger siblings. Now in full-blown puberty, Steve has come to the realization that he is gay. He has tried heterosexual dating, however this only reinforced his awareness that he is homosexual. Steve's mother is an extremely religious woman, and he fears her reaction to the news. The loss of Steve's father and the grief which has not been dealt with is the most pressing issue to be resolved in this case.

Using Judith Herman's three steps towards recovery, namely Safety, Remembrance/ Mourning, and Reconnection, I have developed a treatment plan for Steve. It will require a lot of effort on Steve's part as well as some from his immediate family, but it will help Steve a tremendous amount in getting through this rough period and on with the rest of his promising life. I have also borrowed some input from Deana F. Morrow, a professor in Social Work at UNC, Eli Coleman and Gary Remafedi, both professors in the Medical School of the University of Minnesota, and Constance Robinson of the Boston G.L.A.S.S. Community Center here in Boston.

Library and Interview Findings

Simply, Steve is an outcast in American institutional society and, according to Hardiman and Jackson, as a gay African-American Steve possesses no agent or dominant status in our society. Even these labels were assigned by the group in power. …

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