Gilbert Grape Case Study Essay

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Family Overview

The Grapes are a family living in a rural and economically depressed community. The members of the Grape family presently residing in the familial home consists of biological birth mother Bonnie Grape, who is unemployed and 54 years of age. Amy Grape, the eldest child, Unemployed and currently 34 years of age. Gilbert Grape, the eldest male sibling who is employed at a local grocery store and is currently 24, years of age. Arnie Grape is Gilbert’s younger brother and is presently turning 18 years of age. Arnie reaching his 18th birthday is considered to be somewhat of a triumph by the Grape family, as Arnie suffers from a debilitating medical condition that has not only kept him from achieving age appropriate
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Gilbert has stated in session “my father was dead long before he ever killed himself”. Gilbert feels that his father had first abandoned him emotionally and then abandoned him again (physically) by committing suicide. The events pertaining to Gilbert’s father’s death appear to have left a marked impression upon him. Gilbert has displayed a pattern of situational inappropriate affect while interacting with both family and friends. Gilbert may be experiencing grief and depression issues that he has up to this point been unable to adequately resolve.

Research indicates that there is a correlation between childhood parental figure loss and adult depression. Studies show the strongest causal relationship occurring when the child experiences the parental loss between five and eight years of age. The elevated risk factor of parental loss that was experienced by Gilbert as well as the previously described symptoms of depression that Gilbert exhibits are strong indicators of Gilbert suffering from prolonged depression (Coffino, 2009).

Gilbert is in all likelihood suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to his father’s suicide. While many bereaved children exhibit signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, bereaved children who lost their parents suddenly were much more likely to exhibit