Discussion #2 -Week 5

For this Discussion, review one of the case study in the readings and consider your knowledge of the client’s culture.

Case study chosen: Working With Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Trauma: The Case of Brenna

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This is written in paragraph form. (15-20sentences.)

1. Give a description of your level of familiarity with the culture of the client. Describe at least two additional pieces of information you would need to gather from the client in order to best assist him or her.

2. Give a response to at least two colleagues posts by suggesting an additional strategy for accessing information about a client’s culture. (3-5 sentences each) Will give culture for this part)

References provided below and must be APA format

Baskin, A. (2016). Cultural Identity. Salem Press Encyclopedia


Working With Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Trauma: Case of Brenna

Brenna is an 18-year-old, heterosexual, African American female. She is pregnant, residing in a homeless shelter, and has no income source. Brenna was raised by her biological mother in a one-bedroom apartment in an urban neighborhood. When Brenna was 15 years old, her mother began dating a new man. This man sexually assaulted Brenna while they were home alone one evening. She immediately disclosed the sexual assault to her mother who called her a liar and told her to move out. Brenna then lived in a variety of situations, sometimes residing with friends for short periods and sometimes living in a youth shelter. During this period she attended high school intermittently but did not graduate.

After her 18th birthday, Brenna moved in with her boyfriend, Cameron. Also living in the household were Cameron’s mother, his 16-year-old sister, and a 7-year-old brother. Shortly after moving in with Cameron, Brenna became pregnant with his child. Prior to the pregnancy, Cameron would often abuse her physically, verbally, and emotionally. When Brenna announced the pregnancy, Cameron became even more violent, accused her of sleeping with other men, and denied paternity of the baby. When Brenna was 4 months pregnant, Cameron attempted to strangle her, so Brenna moved to a shelter. Although the shelter was willing to house Brenna and her newborn temporarily, their policy required Brenna to secure new living arrangements prior to giving birth.

I was assigned to be Brenna’s social work case manager at this shelter. Brenna and I worked together to set manageable goals during her stay at the shelter and also developed a plan for ongoing mental health support. Utilizing individual case management sessions, I worked with Brenna to prioritize goals regarding financial stability, permanent housing, and medical care. Brenna had difficulty reading and writing, so we worked together to complete the applications for Medicaid; General Assistance; the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and a local subsidized apartment complex. Brenna often became frustrated throughout this process, struggling to locate all required documents as a result of her frequent moves and changes in residency. I advocated for Brenna to receive medical care at the local hospital’s prenatal clinic while waiting for Medicaid approval, utilizing her completed Medicaid application to support the request. The hospital also agreed to enroll Brenna in prenatal support and education groups that met on a weekly basis.

Difficulty with reading and writing made it challenging to apply for jobs to list on her application for General Assistance, so I gathered information for Brenna on available educational and self-help centers in the community. She enrolled in a group at a local agency that provided free General Educational Development (GED) training, and she was able to enhance her reading skills during her stay at the shelter. By attending a group at the agency, Brenna met several single mothers in the area and built a new support network in the community.

Throughout this process, Brenna struggled with feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, loneliness, and powerlessness. I worked with her to validate and process these feelings and assisted her in contacting a local therapist with experience working with survivors of dating abuse and domestic violence. Although she was initially hesitant to engage in a therapeutic relationship, I assisted Brenna in making an informed decision to do so. She attended weekly therapy sessions throughout the duration of her stay at the shelter.

Brenna’s resiliency, self-sufficiency, and dedication to providing a healthy life for her unborn child gave her the motivation to set difficult goals, and she used her time at the shelter to attain them. One month prior to giving birth, Brenna’s housing application was accepted and she moved into a small two-bedroom apartment. Working with Social Services, she was granted a voucher and was able to furnish her apartment. I accompanied Brenna to the supermarket and assisted her in planning a monthly food budget with PRACTICE 33 her Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and WIC funds. Through work with her therapist, Brenna cut off all contact with Cameron, choosing to raise her child on her own. She said she felt like a new person when she established a new phone number and address without informing Cameron, and when she left the shelter, although nervous, she expressed a sense of confidence in her ability to move forward with her new baby.

Reflections Questions to think about.

Clearly been influenced by the group facilitator, who was incredibly friendly and outgoing. There was no other choice but termination, and the realization that the damage could not be repaired was disappointing. However, had I disclosed “my side” of what was happening, I would have been making the same errors as the group facilitator and involving myself in a dysfunctional and unhealthy dynamic, including crossing boundaries—exactly what survivors do not need. There are times when you must “swallow your pride” to do what is right and best for the client, especially given the different variables and considering the ethical issues at play. Working With Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Trauma: The Case of Brenna

1. What specific intervention strategies (skills, knowledge, etc.) did you use to address this client situation? I used reflective listening and reframing to assist Brenna in setting goals and determining her unmet needs. I used knowledge of local systems and social service agencies to provide referrals and to secure needed services.

2. Which theory or theories did you use to guide your practice? I utilized systems theory.

3. What were the identified strengths of the client(s)? Brenna’s strengths were her resiliency and self-sufficiency. Brenna viewed her desire to provide a better future for her child as a strong motivating factor for changing her life.

4. What were the identified challenges faced by the client(s)? Brenna lacked a familial support system and network of friends, and she was socially isolated. Upon entry to the shelter, she lacked medical care, employment, income, and housing. Brenna also struggled with difficulty reading and writing. Brenna had experienced trauma and violence in her past and would be raising her child alone.

5. What were the agreed-upon goals to be met to address the concern? Brenna and I agreed to secure medical care, a housing plan, and a source of income. Brenna also set goals to improve her mental health. SOCIAL WORK CASE STUDIES: FOUNDATION YEAR 108

6. What local, state, or federal policies could (or did) affect this situation? State policies regarding photo ID affected Brenna’s ability to apply for various assistance programs through Social Services. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) policies will also affect her ability to obtain financial assistance after giving birth. Paternity is required on forms for TANF, and she may need to explore domestic violence waivers when completing TANF applications.

7. How would you advocate for social change to positively affect this case? I would advocate for improved assistance to be offered through Social Services. Brenna was often met with anger and frustration at Social Services due to her difficulty reading and writing, so she had given up on trying to secure medical care and financial assistance early in her pregnancy.

8. Were there any legal or ethical issues present in the case? If so, what were they and how were they addressed? Brenna and I discussed future plans for applying for TANF and the impact the child’s paternity has on approval of the application. We discussed the parental rights of Cameron and identified resources for legal assistance if needed in the future.

9. Describe any additional personal reflections about this case. When working on a strict timeline, it is important to balance client empowerment with health and safety.

Article 2

Cultural identity is the perception of belonging to a group culture. Group cultures can be defined by many factors including ancestry, appearance, attitudes, behavior, family, education, ethnicity, health practices, history, locality, nationality, political attitudes, profession, religion, skills, and social class. Cultural identity includes markers that offer validation that a person is associated with a particular group, belief system, or race, such as clothing, grooming styles, or diet.

This Rwenzori Community Culture Group in Uganda is one example of cultural identity. By Dylan Walters, CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), via Wikimedia CommonsCultural identity can be expressed through clothing style. By Bengt Nyman, CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), via Wikimedia Commons

Historically, paradigms such as tribes, nations, and other boundaries have provided frameworks that foster the growth of cultural identities. While some value these structures, others view them as externally imposed barriers at odds with their personal authenticity, chosen directions, and choices made available through globalization, emigration patterns, and technological access to emerging frameworks. People with diverse cultural backgrounds and wide ranges of experience may reject the limitations inherent in specific cultural types and instead define and adopt their own cultural identities.


Cultural identity provides an underlying road map for people to navigate through conditions surrounding them. It forms the basis for rules, laws, morals, superstitions, and codes of ethics to which people adhere. Cultural identity is a potent tool for connecting generations through the ages. It assigns individuals a group to which they belong. It tends to form when individual adhere to agreed-upon social norms and behavior adopted by their ancestors. It determines what people choose to ingest—both food and content. Cultural identity can dictate social norms, including which days people can work, what they choose to wear, and how they represent themselves both in person and online.

Cultural identity is viewed as crucial to maintaining heritage, traditional beliefs, and other aspects of native cultures at risk from conquering or dominant cultures. People who have emigrated from their ancestral homelands to new cultures often fear that their cultural identity and values are at stake. When the cultural identities of people within a culture erode, individuals can lose their sense of self, place, and belonging. People living within a minority population are often encouraged by members of their groups to hold fast to traditional ceremonies and belief patterns to maintain cultural identity, as traditions, once dead, are extremely difficult to revive.

Cultural identity historically defines which tribes or ethnic groups people associate with and which they choose to avoid and discriminate against. Issues of cultural identity can lead to conflicts or acceptance, depending in large part upon whether individuals and groups choose to examine and attempt to understand other groups and reasons for perceived differences. Refusing to accept how people culturally identify can result in limited worldviews, lack of communicative fluency, and uneducated perceptions of others.

Worldwide, diversity education is entering classrooms to teach understanding and acceptance of divergent thoughts and practices. Cultural identity is at the forefront of many educational discussions in courses and academic conferences. With issues such as politics, terrorism, and differing ideologies in the media, the need for understanding of cultural identity and adherence is viewed as important.

Topic Today

When people identify with a culture, they tend to embrace traditions that have been passed down over time. Cultural identity can link people to their heritage and to others who have the same traditions, basic belief systems, interests, and ways of living. In populations that have been colonized by other cultures, people may think their cultural identity is threatened by forced assimilation or gradual change within their primary culture. It can be challenging to include and consolidate, or even fuse, global and local identities. Critics of cultural identity contend that preserving distinct cultural identities based upon differences leads to partisan dysfunction and fractured societies. In contrast, cosmopolitanism, or the idea that all humans belong to a single community based on a shared morality, offers regional inhabitants a greater sense of shared community.

Groups can discriminate or be discriminated against based on cultural markers and can be challenged to remove cultural identifiers if they are part of a minority representation of a culture within a larger majority cultural framework. For example, in 2004, France banned girls from wearing headscarves, along with other religious emblems such as crosses and turbans, in state schools. In 2011, President Nicolas Sarkozy banned the niqab, a full-face Muslim veil, from all public places, arguing that such Islamic markers are incompatible with French values. Such rejections of minority cultural identifiers remain controversial. French education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem argued that banning articles of clothing infringes on freedom of choice and religious liberty. Immigrants often feel forced to adapt or change their cultural identities to relate to or be accepted by other members of their adopted region or country. This poses a conflict between an immigrant’s inherited belief system and his or her adopted home and can cause people to commit to two or more cultures, thus broadening and changing the scope of their own unique cultural identity.

The speed at which people can communicate using new media, or content available on-demand through Internet access, including online newspapers, blogs, wikis, video games, and other social media, allows for dialogue across conventional borders that transcend traditional frameworks. It makes it possible for people on one side of the globe to culturally identify with people on the other.

Language learning, being able to communicate in more than one language, shapes cultural identity and can broaden a person’s sense of belonging to more than one cultural group. Like languages, cultures change over time through use and by the people who participate within them. Cultural identity is being redefined by the social network, with people imitating and adopting social norms presented by the media and by other people and cultures to which they would not otherwise be exposed.

Instead of learning behavior, knowledge, and belief systems from local or inherited cultural and religious groups, individuals can now choose their own social norms and develop their own cultural identity through media. Furthermore, an individual’s online social environment affects the culture that the person chooses to adopt. Surroundings, environment, and people within these places play a role in how people develop. Cultural globalization arises in which ideas, commodities, and cultural expressions become standardized and homogenized through access to media, the Internet, and popular culture.

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