Identifying Data: Jake Levy is a 31-year-old, married, Jewish Caucasian male. Jake’s wife, Sheri, is 28 years old. They have two sons, Myles (10) and Levi (8). The family resides in a two-bedroom condominium in a middle-class neighborhood in Rockville, MD. They have been married for 10 years.
Presenting Problem: Jake, an Iraq War veteran, came to the Veterans Affairs Health Care Center (VA) for services because his wife has threatened to leave him if he does not get help. She is particularly concerned about his drinking and lack of involvement in their sons’ lives. She told him his drinking has gotten out of control and is making him mean and distant. Jake reports that he and his wife have been fighting a lot and that he drinks to take the edge off and to help him sleep. Jake expresses fear of losing his job and his family if he does not get help. Jake identifies as the primary provider for his family and believes that this is his responsibility as a husband and father. Jake realizes he may be putting that in jeopardy because of his drinking. He says he has never seen Sheri so angry before, and he saw she was at her limit with him and his behaviors. Family Dynamics: Jake was born in Alabama to a Caucasian, Eurocentric family system. He reports his time growing up to have been within a “normal” family system. However, he states that he was never emotionally close to either parent and viewed himself as fairly independent from a young age. His dad had previously been in the military and was raised with the understanding that his duty is to support his country. His family displayed traditional roles, with his dad supporting the family after he was discharged from military service. Jake was raised to believe that real men do not show weakness and must be the head of the household. Jake’s parents are deceased, and he has a sister who lives outside London. He and his sister are not very close but do talk twice a year. Sheri is an only child, and although her mother lives in the area, she offers little support. Her mother never approved of Sheri marrying Jake and thinks Sheri needs to deal with their problems on her own. Jake reports that he has not been engaged with his sons at all since his return from Iraq, and he keeps to himself when he is at home.
Employment History: Jake is employed as a human resources assistant for the military. Jake works in an office with civilians and military personnel and mostly gets along with people in the office. Jake is having difficulty getting up in the morning to go to work, which increases the stress between Sheri and himself. Shari is a special education teacher in a local elementary school. Jake thinks it is his responsibility to provide for his family and is having stress over what is happening to him at home and work. He thinks he is failing as a provider. Social History: Jake and Sheri identify as Jewish and attend a local synagogue on major holidays. Jake tends to keep to himself and says he sometimes feels pressured to be more communicative and social. Jake believes he is socially inept 11 and not able to develop friendships. The couple has some friends, since Shari gets involved with the parents in their sons’ school. However, because of Jake’s recent behaviors, they have become socially isolated. He is very worried that Sheri will leave him due to the isolation.
Mental Health History: Jake reports that since his return to civilian life 10 months ago, he has difficulty sleeping, frequent heart palpitations, and moodiness. Jake had seen Dr. Zoe, a psychiatrist at the VA, who diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dr. Zoe prescribed Paxil to help reduce his symptoms of anxiety and depression and suggested that he also begin counseling. Jake says that he does not really understand what PTSD is but thought it meant that a person who had it was “going crazy,” which at times he thought was happening to him. He expresses concern that he will never feel “normal” again and says that when he drinks alcohol, his symptoms and the intensity of his emotions ease. Jake describes that he sometimes thinks he is back in Iraq, which makes him feel uneasy and watchful. He hates the experience and tries to numb it. He has difficulty sleeping and is irritable, so he isolates himself and soothes this with drinking. He talks about always feeling “ready to go.” He says he is exhausted from being always alert and looking for potential problems around him. Every sound seems to startle him. He shares that he often thinks about what happened “over there” but tries to push it out of his mind. Nighttime is the worst, as he has terrible recurring nightmares of one particular event. He says he wakes up shaking and sweating most nights. He adds that drinking is the one thing that seems to give him a little relief. Educational History: Sheri has a bachelor’s degree in special education from a local college. Jake has a high school diploma but wanted to attend college upon his return from the military. Military History: Jake is an Iraqi War veteran. He enlisted in the Marines at 21 years old when he and Shari got married due to Sheri being pregnant. The family was stationed in several states prior to Jake being deployed to Iraq. Jake left the service 10 months ago. Sheri and Jake had used military housing since his marriage, making it easier to support the family. On military bases, there was a lot of social support and both Jake and Sheri took full advantage of the social systems available to them during that time. Medical History: Jake is physically fit, but an injury he sustained in combat sometimes limits his ability to use his left hand. Jake reports sometimes feeling inadequate because of the reduction in the use of his hand and tries to push through because he worries how the injury will impact his responsibilities as a provider, husband, and father. Jake considers himself resilient enough to overcome this disadvantage and “be able to do the things I need to do.” Sheri is in good physical condition and has recently found out that she is pregnant with their third child. Legal History: Jake and Sheri deny having criminal histories. Alcohol and Drug Use History: As teenagers, Jake and Sheri used marijuana and drank. Both deny current use of marijuana but report they still drink. Sheri drinks socially and has one or two drinks over the weekend. Jake reports that he has four to five drinks in the evenings during the week and eight to ten drinks on Saturdays and Sundays. Jake spends his evenings on the couch drinking beer and watching TV or playing video games. Shari reports that Jake drinks more than he realizes, doubling what Jake has reported. Strengths: Jake is cognizant of his limitations and has worked on overcoming his physical challenges. Jake is resilient. Jake did not have any disciplinary actions taken against him in the military. He is dedicated to his wife and family. Jake Levy: father, 31 years old Sheri Levy: mother, 28 years old Myles Levy: son, 10 years old Levi Levy: son, 8 years old
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