Carlos Juarez is a 36 year-old Mexican male who works at a meat packing plant in Northeast Nebraska. He arrived from Mexico five months ago to find work and to earn enough money to bring his wife and two children to live with him. He was referred to you, a counselor at the local community mental health center, by a doctor at the medical clinic. Carlos had seen the doctor because of stomach aches he was having. You find out the following information from Carlos during your first meeting with him:
Carlos began to experience insomnia about two months ago. He can only sleep a few hours each night and then lies awake. He is tired most of the day and does not feel hungry at meal times. Although he is able to function at work, friends have commented that he rarely smiles and does not joke like he used to. Most of Carlos’ spare time is spent with co-workers at a local Mexican bar. He began drinking when he was 8 years old, and in the last month friends had to carry him home on at least four occasions because he had passed out from drinking too much.
You are told by others that there is much discrimination in the town where Carlos lives. He tried to apply for other jobs, but no one would hire him even though he has training as an electrician. He had to take a job at the meat packing plant and it is difficult work. Carlos is living in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood and gets along well with his neighbors, but he has had several altercations with some local youth who yell racial slurs at him and have spray-painted graffiti on his garage. When you ask Carlos about these events, he tells you that he has lived in other American cities where he has encountered similar behavior. He indicates that he does not understand why some people are against him because he is Mexican since he has never done anything to them. He has talked with his priest several times about this and has confessed to the priest the anger in his heart, but for some reason the anger has not gone away completely.
Carlos believes that he and his family will have a better life in the U.S. than they could have in Mexico. His wife and children still live there, along with his parents, grandparents, siblings, and many extended relatives. Carlos has been in the U.S. working on a green card since he was in his early 20’s, however, it is due to expire in two months. Carlos shares with you that he is considering staying in the U.S. even if he is not granted a renewal of his green card, and looking for other ways to bring his family to be with him.
When you meet Carlos for the first time, you notice that his clothes fit fairly loosely on him and he is unshaven. He does not make eye contact with you during the entire session, but he does respond to questions and speaks fair English. Although he does not cry in front of you, he appears very sad and tired.
Please address the following questions:
1. Based on the information provided, where would you place Carlos in Sue & Sue’s cultural identity model, and why?
2. What cultural issues, if any, do you think need to be addressed?
3. What other information would be helpful to you in working with this client?
4. What do you think are the issues that need to be addressed with Carlos?
Sue & Sue’s Racial/Cultural Identity Development Model
In the conformity stage individuals exhibit a preference for the dominant cultural values over their own cultural values. During this stage, individuals identify with the dominant group and use them as their primary