Reasoning in psychology The case of the pregnant, orphaned college student

January 29, 2010 Reasoning in psychology The case of the pregnant, orphaned college student
When my cell phone rang at a 7am in the morning, I almost ignored because it was the same number I had answered twice two days earlier and promised to arrange for an appointment with the caller.  My diary was full for the entire week and no effort of rescheduling some of the clients seemed to work through. That concludes that I still hadnt found time to meet this persisting lady and there she was trying to find out when I would meet her. I knew she needed urgent attention because she had explained the situation the last time she had called and it was not easy for her to deal with the fact that she was pregnant, neither prepared nor able to raise the child she was carrying. Days were still passing since she shared her situation with me two days earlier. Her patience was running out and she had no idea what to do. I had decline discussing the issue over the phone because I only did that when handling minor cases or offering some psychotherapy. I finally answered the call and promised to call her back in ten minutes time as I arranged an appropriate time. When was I going to meet her It was already too late to talk about tomorrow leave alone next week---and what specifically was I to do to offer some positive, realistic and practical counseling to a situation that offered no hope

The attitudes and the assumptions
Rhosa was a nineteen years old college student. She was also an orphan. She had grown under the custody of her grandmother (a single mother whose only child used to be Rhosas mother). Her grandmother had passed on two months earlier and Rhosa was left homeless. The situation had forced her to put up with her boyfriend (a student too) since her grandmother died. She was now two months pregnant and the boyfriend had moved out after discovering it. She was in school and the pregnancy would soon be discovered and she would be expelled immediately. In the mean time, she had been doing some after-school chores on payment in the neighborhood to cater for her essentials and fees. It occurred to me that I had to meet her on that particular morning before she opted to see a doctor for an abortion which though against her wish, seemed the only way out. I called her back after a few minutes and requested her to drop at my office before proceeding to school at exactly 8am in that morning. Although I knew that that time was meant for a niece who had been in drugs, I opted to see Rhosa before matters got worse that was one step ahead in solving this problem. After analyzing the situation with Rhosa, I discovered that the boyfriend moved out after he failed to persuade her to undertake an abortion since he was also not in a position to bring up the child.

Abortion is not only unethical but also risky to ones health and can even cause death if not properly handled (situation that occurs more often than not). Statistics proved that out of every ten women who carried out an abortion, half of them died during the process or shortly afterwards, three of the rest experienced health related problems such as miscarriages on later pregnancies or total barrenness and at least two underwent through the process successfully.

The positive emotions
Dealing with Rhosa brought out several positive emotions, one being that she was not willing to carry out an abortion, not because of the interest of the child she was carrying, but because she was too afraid of risking her health and future productivity. This gave me some ease in solving the problem because I did not need to convince her on the dangers and complications associated with abortion. She had already taken a bold step of opposing the view of her boyfriend. However, she did not want to be thrown out of college and the rules of the institution stated clearly that pregnant students would be required to defer their studies in the occasion of pregnancy during course period. Apart from the rules of the institution, she would have carried on the pregnancy to maturity and given the child to a childrens adoption society as she completed her studies.

The role played by previous experiences
I had handled several other cases that involve unwanted pregnancies but the Rhosas situation was exceptional. Given the fact that she was an orphan and a student implied that she could possibly not bring up a child yet. Furthermore, it was completely out of her wish to drop out of school. In the previous situations, most clients had the option of transferring to other schools or to institutions that allowed pregnant students to continue with their studies. However, this was not practical for Rhosa since she did not have the financial backing from anyone to support her carry out a transfer to another college. But we had to find a way out of the situation that involved moral, psychological, social and financial issues. However, a combination of several other related cases provided some light into possible ways of addressing this issue.

The Obstacles Encountered
The greatest of all the setbacks in this case was the fact that it involved many facets that needed to be handled all together so that the solution arrived at was morally right, long term (in terms of future consequences), financially fulfilling and socially acceptable. The problem required a balanced approach to humanity and morality which was not possible in most situations. It also called for the psychologists professionalism and proper conduct in terms of code of ethics of the profession. More so, it was a little obvious that this lady had to forego at least her education or secure extra funds to provide a reasonable solution, which she was not prepared to do. It was also not human to allow her go and solve her own problems because she had tried and failed. It was impossible to find a comfortable solution outside the box even after thinking through the problem for two more days and consulting from colleagues and people.

The reasoning applied
It involved both past experiences, observation and analysis of the clients reactions and a completely new level of learning by using the peer reviewed articles and the views and ideas of colleagues.

Ideas that could have enhanced the effectiveness of the reasoning
The effectiveness of solving the case was facilitated both by the willingness of the client to confide on the psychologist as well as the ability of the psychologist to own up the problem. Research and inquiry from other professionals also allowed for an innovative, creative and realistic approach to this problem. Proper reasoning also involved a good sacrifice of time resources since the problem could not be solved with the pace that the client demanded.  Good investment of time also allowed for constructive thoughts and reasoning out. In addition, memory played a key role in enabling the psychologist to gather past information from the client such as retracting places that she could be able to acquire financial backup so that she could be able to transfer to another college. These ideas facilitated proper and effective decision making by the client and eventually the issue was reasoned out as she undertook the option of considering a transfer which ensured that the issue was solved with maximum consideration to ethical professional conduct. The ideas also ensured that the client made the decision for herself, under the guidance of the psychologist.


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