Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Case Study: Tyrone - Gay

Contemporary Issues in Counseling
The Case of Tyrone


Tyrone: Hmmm…so…what brought me here today. I don't even know where to start. Things have just been so rough lately. It’s like everything has been coming down on me, from work, to family…to everything. Like, I've never done this before, you know, come to counseling. And I don't even know how it’s going to help.

Counselor: Can you tell me more about what’s going on in your life right now that makes you feel like everything’s coming down on you?

Tyrone: Well, work is probably my most significant problem. I mean I’ve been working at Main Hospital for about just over a year as a lead in the quality control department. And my actual job is fine. I do a good job. It’s more the people, especially my subordinates. Basically, they have to work on a project before I get it. I complete the project it, then I pass it to my supervisor for approval.

[Sounding frustrated] And it’s just that...it’s just that they're not working to my expectations, and I get so frustrated. I mean, when it’s all said and done, if it’s not done right, I get blamed for it. So, I'm the fall guy for the entire office. And I’m just so sick of it…even on the last project. It was awful by the time it got to me. I tried to fix it and even went back to one guy who worked on it before me. And he just looked at me and said, “Well I’m done with that. I did my part. It’s your baby now.” And that just really ticked me off you know! Like I didn't yell at him, but he definitely knew I was mad.

So, of course I was in a bad mood and took out on my partner when I got home that day, and he got mad at me. We argued for almost 2 hours! Things have not been going well there lately. Work, of course, is so stressful, and I just feel like I’m on edge all of the time. I can't sleep. I can’t concentrate. I’m just frustrated all of the time. I don't know what do.

Counselor: Tell me a little bit more about what’s going on at home.

Tyrone: Well like I said, on the days I come home from a bad day at work, he says that I just get mad at him…I either blow up or don’t talk at all. And then he gets mad, and of course I get mad. Honestly, it seems like we’ve been fighting more lately, even on top of the whole work thing. I just really don’t know what’s going on.

I mean, we’ve been together for a couple years, and been pretty serious…between us of course…[insinuating that nobody knows about his gay relationship]. For the past couple months we've been fighting a lot more lately. Maybe if I could figure out how to make my workdays better, things would go better at home…you know?


Even though I am not designated as a clinical / psychologist / labor / social counselor, I must direct my client towards the right expertise but still be well rounded. As a Navy Counselor, I am directed to focus on Career and Transitional counseling. I am surrounded by other counselors that I network and occasionally pick their brains from: chaplains, family, legal, and other counselors. With regards to homosexuality, I am bound not to give advice (not that someone has approach me about their situation and knowing the stance of military against homosexuality) but rather referral mostly to chaplains as their “safest” route versus the psychiatrist (medical) whose counselings must be disclosed to the client / personnel's Commanding Officer (only Chaplains has the right not to disclose sessions / counselings)

Military has very structured ways of dealing with counseling. There is couselor for each issues (medical: psychological, career: myself, social: chaplain) yet it is very limited and most of the time, officially be recorded on their service record therefore it affects the career in many cases such as the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), overt homosexual behavior is grounds for dismissal, but the military is discouraged from actively investigating suspicions of homosexuality. Nevertheless, more than 12,000 service personnel have been discharged under the policy, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to ending discrimination against military personnel affected by the policy (Persky, 2008)

In Tyrone’s case, I wanted to give it a different perspective where he will be discriminated and therefore affecting his work. If Tyrone was working in the military, will he have the same inefficiency or relatively the same issue that he is encountering now? I would say worst because now he has to deal with legal, career and benefits ramifications for being gay by being discharged and out of work.

In a Newsweek article, APA complained once more: homosexuality has now been grouped with other "conditions, circumstances and defects" like bed-wetting, repeated venereal-disease infections and obesity. The reclassification is "even worse," says Aaron Belkin, who studies gays in the military at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "Now [homosexuality] is explicitly deemed to be a defect." Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith says the Defense Department does "not think homosexuality is a mental illness" and says the classification could be re-examined (Rosenberg, 2006)

Complications will continue to arise if ever I will be counseling Tyrone (as a military or even as a regular civilian) for his homosexuality and so I stand on my first objective and that is to focus on what Tyrone has came and approach the counselor: his issue on supervisor efficiency or work management and domestic issue and not to focus on his homosexuality or lifestyle because "work" is his core issue, to quote Tyrone: "Maybe if I could figure out how to make my workdays better, things would go better at home…"

Persky, A. S. (2008), Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Don't Work?, ABA Journal. Chicago: Oct 2008. Vol. 94, Iss. 10; pg. 18, 2 pgs
Rosenberg, D. (2006), The Military: A Renewed War Over 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'; Newsweek. New York: Nov 27, 2006. Vol. 148, Iss. 20; pg. 8

Last edited on: October 19, 2008 4:05 AM
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