Joel Morales Suicide Case Essay Example

Suicide is a fatal incident that is unwarranted in an attempt to solve a problem. Due to the high rate of suicide cases, especially in the developed Western states, Schneidman had to come up with ‘suicidology’, a study that holds that the victims of suicide experience a psychological issue prior to commitment of the heinous acts of terminating their own lives.

The reasons of committing suicide vary significantly amongst people depending on the private matters that compel them to terminate their lives or, in some other cases, kill other people who are closely associated with them. This essay uses the case of Joel Morales, a 12-year old student who committed suicide in East Harlem in New York City, to provide an overview of the dynamics and dilemmas that lead to suicidal lethality amongst individuals in the society.

The Dynamic of Suicide

Shneidman (2004) posits that the dynamic of suicide depends on individual factors that result in terminating one’s own life in the event of seeking a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior states that a person shall not die by suicide unless the individual has the ability to die by suicide or desire to do so (Shneidman, 2004). In the light of this literature, Joel had two simultaneous psychological states that had remained in his conscience for a very long time.

Eventually, this state of mind developed the desire to terminate his own life. In this case, the psychological states form part of the components of the interpersonal-psychological theory that include social alienation and excess burdensomeness. The practicality of committing suicide depends on a person’s ability to overcome self-preservation.

The interpersonal-psychological theory explains ‘suicidology’ by three concepts that include perceived burdensomeness, low belonging, and the acquired capability to bring lethal self-injury.

Suicide and Moral Dilemma

The Joel suicide act can also be justified from another point of view. In this case, the conduct of clinicians is guided by a code of ethics that provides nominal protection for suicidal clients. This form of physician-assisted suicide is known as euthanasia and is used in extreme medical cases where patients suffer from terminal illnesses.

Physician-assisted suicide should be legalized for competent persons to allow for autonomy in making end-of-life decisions. The moral dilemma behind this kind of suicide is that it results in counterarguments and court petitions that regard the practice as murder.

Characteristics of those who Commit Suicide

According to Brown, Henriques, and Sosdjan (2004), over 60-percent of suicide victims tell someone about their plan and initiative to commit suicide. Firstly, the authors advance that suicide victims are characterized by unendurable psychological pain. When the psychological pain surpasses the tolerable limits of the individual, they tend to end their own lives to evade the painful situation.

Secondly, people who commit suicide have a tendency of seeking solutions to troubling questions that do not seem to have answers. Thirdly, Onkay Ho (2014) reveals that hopelessness is another characteristic of individuals who commit suicide. Hopelessness exhausts the thinking capacities of some individuals. As a result, they terminate their own lives by committing suicide. Lastly, victims of suicide have a tendency of escaping situations that seem intolerable to them.

Similarities between Homicide and Suicide

Homicide and suicide are both acts of taking away a life. As a result, many governments consider such acts as murder. Shneidman (2004) posits that homicide and suicide are heinous acts that are advanced by distressed people who have serious psychological problems that lead them to such actions.

According to the author, the occurrence of suicide and homicide tend to take place around the same geographical area due to common factors such as high poverty levels or unbearable living conditions. These situations lead to counter-reactions by the same society members through heinous acts of homicide, while endeavoring in criminal acts, or suicide, when the situations become intolerable (Owens, Horrocks, & House, 2002).

Use of Triage Assessment Form in Addressing Lethality

The triage assessment form is used to assess the potentiality of an individual in the verge of committing suicide. It assesses the likeliness of an individual to commit suicide (Brown, Henriques, & Sosdjan, 2004). The authors reveal that psychiatrists use the triage assessment form to evaluate their patients through determination of risky psychological problems that may lead to lethality.

A survey that was conducted by Onkay Ho (2014) unveils that 10-percent of any psychological patients within a given clinic think of committing suicide but do not tell the physician or psychiatrist. The triage assessment uses a non-condescending, on judgmental, and matter of fact approach to extort information from a subject; hence, it is considered as an effective measure of dealing with lethal psychological cases such as suicide.


The society has become increasingly complex due to changing times and convolutions that are brought about by shifting generation ideals. As a result, the society encounters interminable social, economic, socio-political, and spiritual dynamics that occur worldwide, especially in the Western states who have recorded high rates of suicide during the past decade. Suicide is a matter that governments should address by offering the necessary support to help the victims of suicide since it is perceived as a psychological problem that may cause more harm than intended if it is left unresolved.


Brown, G, Henriques, G, & Sosdjan, D. (2004). Suicide Intent and Accurate Expectations of Lethality: Predictors of Medical Lethality of Suicide Attempts. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(6), 1170-74.

Onkay Ho, A. (2014). Suicide: Rationality and Responsibility for Life. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 59(3), 141-47.

Owens, D., Horrocks, J., & House, A. (2002). Fatal and non-fatal repetition of self-harm. Systematic review. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 181(1), 193-9.

Shneidman, E. (2004). Autopsy of a Suicidal Mind. New York: Oxford University Press.

Defining Domestic Violence Reasons – Family Law


The social phenomenon of domestic violence has given rise to scholarly debates concerning its main causes and consequently, the methods for handling the issue. The measures offered for solving the problem depend upon the definition of the primary reasonsthe for abusing a spouse or a child which range from biological and socian ological to cultural aspects of batterers’ behavior.

Definition of domestic violence

The concept of domestic violence is rather broad and includes the cases of emotional, psychological, physical, sexual or economical abuse of an intimate partner or a former partner as well as misbehavior of parents or children. The Oregon Domestic Violence Council, for example, defined family violence as “a pattern of coercive behavior used by one person to control and subordinate another in an intimate relationship…

Tactics of coercion, terrorism, degradation, exploitation, and violence are used to engender fear in the victim in order to enforce compliance” (McCue, 2008, p. 3). The problem of domestic assault is complicated with the cultural and social context which makes the oppression of particular groups possible.

Women become the victims of the family violence in the majority of cases and lacking knowledge concerning their rights and freedoms do not register the incidents and even stay in the abusive environment. It is possible that the assault occurs in one of its forms or as a combination of forms, but the psychological aspect is present in the majority of incidents.

Along with the diversified forms and tactics of family abuse, there are a number of approaches to explaining the roots of assaultive behavior, and biological, psychoanalytical and cross-cultural perspectives on the problem are among them.

The biological perspective

The biological approach to defining the reasons of battering the intimate partner focuses mainly on the peculiarities of the makeup of the batterers’ brains. Previously the exponents of biological approach emphasized the importance of genetics and hereditary factors. This explanation has been criticized for justification of the assaultive behavior and shifting the responsibility from the batterers who appear to be victims themselves in this context.

At present, the biological theoreticians point at the higher percentage of brain traumas in batterers than those who do not practice the abusive behavior. According to the biological approach, the childhood trauma causes the physiological changes in brains which in their turn can result in occurrence of domestic violence in adulthood. This hypothesis requires further research for gathering more empirical data and supporting it.

The psychodynamic perspective

The contemporary psychodynamic theories are based on Freud’s psychoanalytic approach to defining the elements of human consciousness, explaining the roots of the assaultive behavior with the conflict between the conscious and subconscious parts of the batterer’s mind. The psychodynamic approach to coping with the posttraumatic stress is focused not on the struggle between the parts of the victim’s mind but on individual’s objective representation of the relationship with the partner.

The important aspect of psychodynamic theories is person’s experience of early relationship which has a significant impact on the development of further relationships with other partners. Thus, in case an individual has experienced partner’s abuses in early relationship, he/she might regard this behavioral pattern as normal and desirable in future.

The behavioral perspective

The proponents of behavioral perspective on the causes of the occurrence of domestic violence focus on family as the main source of behavioral models. Rapp-Paglicci, Roberts, and Wodarski (2002) noted that “people learn to be violent when they grow up in violent homes and environments” (p. 74). Thus, according to the behavioral theories, a child who witnesses the incidents of domestic violence in his/her family or is battered himself/herself has higher chances for becoming a family batterer in future.

Getting accustomed to moral justification of domestic violence with inability to cope with tension and frustration, people can regard violence as an effective means for handling disputes. It is significant that the behavioral perspective sheds light upon the importance of the environment and the contextual factors which have a significant impact on the occurrence of domestic violence.


It is important to raise public awareness of the necessity of violence ending and the risks of the emotional or even physical death of a victim which can become the result of the prolonged or incidental battering behavioral pattern of a partner.

Shedding light upon the problem of domestic violence and representing its various aspects in the mass media can be helpful for preventing the formation of stereotypes in potential victims and decreasing risks of creating the endless circles of family assault.

Registering the cases of domestic violence is important not only for protecting victims’ basic rights but also for collecting more observational data, developing new theories of the origin of the problem and the most effective way for solving it and supporting the victims who experience the traumatic stress.


The biological, psychodynamic, and behavioral approaches to defining the reasons for the occurrence of domestic violence emphasize various aspects which have an impact on behavioral patterns of domestic batterers and require further research.

Reference List

McCue, M. (2008). Domestic violence: A reference handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC CLIO.

Rapp-Paglicci, L., Roberts, A., & Wodarski, J. (2002). Handbook of violence. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.

Non-Parental Child Care

Childcare involves caring for young children, particularly from 0-9 years of age. There are two different types of childcare. The first one is parental childcare, where parents care for their children. The second one is non-parental childcare, where the child is taken care of by another person, but not the parents, through daycare or home-based care by nannies.

This paper focuses on the types of non-parent childcare and its effects on the child’s development in psychological, social and cognitive development. Galinsky (2004) affirms that daycare is nonparent childcare, which is divided into two: the long day care and short daycare. The extended day care involves taking care of a child for many hours in case the parents of the child who is being taken care are also working for many hours.

This may include the nighttime, and it is the duty of the caregiver to ensure that the child sleeps and eats well in the absence of the parent. The short daycare is where a child cares for a few hours in the case where parents work for short hours. When the parents’ working hours are over, they pick their children from the caregivers and stays with them for the rest of the day.

Daycare holds many children from different homes that are brought daily and many staffs are hired to care for them. Hiring a nanny is another type of nonparental childcare care. A family hires a nanny in their home to take care of their child. This is because of their busy schedules, and the nanny either stay in their home or goes back to his/her home when the child’s parents are back.

These nannies are usually given training on childcare, and it is their responsibility to ensure that the child grows in the best way. A nanny cares for children of one household, and when compared to the daycare, they care for many children from different households.

Similarly, according to Volling (2000), preschool is a type of childcare where children aged between 3 to 6 years are enrolled. Young children are introduced to education as other needs are being taken care of. The preschools are sometimes operated by a community, church or government. Parents may also come together and put up a preschool and hire people who have been trained in early childhood development in their area.

Although non-parental care helps the parents to concentrate on other duties apart from childcare, the care given to children at care centers influences them on social, cognitive, and psychological development. The quality of the care also matters because children who have been brought up in a high-quality daycare have good social skills.

They are not shy, and they are competent because of being exposed to different caregivers as compared to those who are cared for by their parents, and when they grow up, they become more aggressive. Howes (2000) argues that the child’s cognitive ability is determined by the age at which the child joined non-parental child care. Those who were enrolled at the age of three months have better and improved cognitive ability.

The performance is better especially for those who joined the care centers at an early stage, and those who were cared for by their parents have shown low performance in schools. Children who have been exposed to poor quality of non-parental childcare have poor mental development. They usually have a negative attitude towards life depending on their level of experiences.

High-quality childcare enables a child to live positively and is eager to learn new skills. In conclusion, although many childcare centers or systems have been helpful to the working parents, they should be careful when hiring people or selecting the type of care because the caregivers will influence the child development in psychological, mental and social issues. In essence, parents should secure enough time to interact with their children even if they are enrolled in a non-parental childcare program.


Galinsky, E. H. (2004). The Family Child Care Training Study. New York: McGraw Hill,

Howes, C. & Philips, D. A. (2000). Thresholds of quality: Implications for the Social Development of Children in Center-Based Child Care. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Volling, B. L. (2000). Infant Day Care and Children’s Social Competence. Infant Behavior and Development. Hershey: Cybertech Publishing.

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