Rebuilding Life after Trauma

Life after Trauma

Rebuilding Life after Trauma: John’s Journey to Recovery

John Background information

John is a 35-year-old married male. At age 17, John had a job delivering propane tanks. One day he did not carefully attach a tank to the truck, and the resultant explosion tossed John up into the air, causing him to land on his back, which resulted in a spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from the waist down. John received a large monetary settlement for his accident and bought himself a house. He married at 26. John knows he should be getting new skills to make a living and get a new job but has been discouraged and demoralized. He has been spending down the settlement money with drugs and partying.

Substance Abuse History

There is no history of substance abuse in John’s family. John began drinking at the age of 12 and was drinking regularly by the age of 15. He was a star athlete in high school and was drinking and doing drugs when there were no games scheduled. Because John did not abuse drugs during sports, the school did not recognize his problem. After the accident, John became bitter and angry. Despite friends bringing drugs during his stint in physical rehab, no one in the rehabilitation facility addressed his drug and alcohol use with him. He resisted rehabilitation and “with nothing to do,” increased his drug and alcohol use.

Present Situation

John’s parents were originally supportive of his lifestyle but now realize that he needs help. At the insistence of his parents and his wife, he has come to an outpatient mental health and drug abuse clinic for help. You are the mental health professional he will be seeing.


  • What are treatment issues that need to be explored with John?
  • What might be the barriers to John getting the help he needs?
  • What can be done to ensure access and accommodation for treatment services for John?
  • What is John’s long- term needs, and what resources and/ or agencies can be mobilized to meet them?

Sample Solution

Rebuilding Life after Trauma: John’s Journey to Recovery

One of the important treatment issues that should be explored with John is his resistance to treatment and rehabilitation. Despite being aware of his addiction for about two decades, John is hesitant to seek help. He sees alcohol and drug abuse as his sole source of happiness and fears losing his sense of freedom and motivation if he were to withdraw from these habits.

Another treatment issue that needs exploration is John’s bitterness and anger. He harbors resentment towards his physical limitations and the impact they have had on his ability to make a better living and engage in daily activities. This bitterness and anger contribute to his increased substance abuse. Addressing John’s aggression is crucial for addressing his mental health disorder. Furthermore, low self-esteem is a significant treatment issue to be addressed. John feels demoralized and lacks motivation to make positive changes in his life.

There are several barriers that might hinder John from receiving the help he needs. Firstly, his friends do not support his decision to quit alcohol and drugs, which increases the risk of relapse. John’s own resistance to treatment is also a significant barrier. Without his active engagement and willingness to change, the treatment process may not be effective. Financial constraints pose another major barrier, as John lacks a source of income to finance his treatment. Additionally, John’s disability creates challenges in accessing appropriate treatment facilities that accommodate his needs.

To ensure access and accommodation for treatment services, it would be beneficial for John to connect with a community health worker who can provide support and transportation to the healthcare facility. Alternatively, John’s family could help raise funds to purchase a vehicle and hire a caregiver who can assist with his transportation needs. It is important for healthcare facilities to establish architectural features and policies that support John’s mobility and treatment within the clinic.

In the long term, John’s needs include securing a source of income. With the assistance of labor agencies, he can explore job opportunities that match his capabilities. Providing moral support is also crucial for his recovery journey. John’s family and friends should regularly motivate him and affirm his potential for success. Given his physical condition, having a dedicated caregiver is essential for his ongoing care and support.

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Life after Trauma

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