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The Gallaghers

Meet the Children Fiona: 28-year-old female ● Stopped attending high school at 17 to care for her siblings, but went back to get GED. ● Has legal guardianship of siblings and is the primary caregiver. ● Manages a diner and also owns an apartment building. ● Strong social support and assistance from her best friend Vee.

Lip: 23-year-old male ●

Dropped out of college to attend rehab for alcoholism. Has a temper and often becomes physically violent. Assists Fiona in earning money and caring for their younger siblings. Employed at the diner that Fiona manages. Often involved in crime to make money.

Ian: 21-year-old male ● Works as an EMT to help provide for the family. ● He is homosexual and has recently ended a healthy relationship due to his ex-boyfriend showing up. ● He is not Frank’s biological son, but has only recently discovered this. ● Suffers from bipolar disorder and is often noncompliant with his treatment.

Debbie: 16-year-old female ● Purposely became pregnant at 15 hoping the father would marry her, but he moved out of state when she told him. ● Begins stealing expensive strollers with purses from the park to steal money to provide for herself and her baby. ● Married a man with a disability to steal his social security checks. ● Recently moved out of Gallagher home when Fiona refused to raise another child. ● Enrolled in welding school.

Carl: 15-year-old male ● Cares for Frank and tries to help him change. ● Has a strong relationship with ex-girlfriend’s father. ● Attends military school on a full scholarship. ● Is respectful and values being honorable. ● Has matured greatly within the past year. ● When home for the summer he helps with Liam and makes breakfast for the family.

Liam: 7-year-old male ● Frank’s biological son. ● Attends a private elementary school that Frank paid for with drug money. ● Often pulled out of class to play on the playground during campus tours to show the “diversity” of the campus. ● He is the youngest child and requires the most support from older siblings. ● Independent in daily activities and homework.

Frank Gallagher 52-year-old Caucasian male from Southside, Chicago. Frank is unemployed, suffers from alcoholism, and is the father of 6 children. Alcoholism is defined as a disease in which a person has a strong need or compulsion to consume alcohol, is unable to quit once started drinking, experiences physical dependence, and needs to increase the amount of alcohol to get high (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2016). This description perfectly fits Frank Gallagher. He spends a majority of his time at the local bar and is rarely present in his children’s lives. After spending hours drinking at the bar, he often falls asleep on the side of the road. When he awakes finding alcohol is his priority. His children only see him if he is unconscious on the kitchen floor or needs money. The money he doesn’t receive from his children comes from disability checks or scams he is involved in. Any money in his possession is spent on alcohol. He has a history of liver failure, which resulted in a liver transplant. Although Frank was not a candidate for transplantation due to alcoholism, he scammed his way to the top of the transplant list. Frank’s alcoholism has recently worsened and he has also begun using methamphetamine following the death of his estranged wife, Monica. His children have become self-reliant, have taken on new roles, and care for their father as if he is a child.

Family Dynamics Religion: the Gallagher family is Catholic, yet they are not practicing and their father is banned from the local church. The only time the family is seen attending church is for funerals and weddings.

The Gallaghers live in South side, Chicago. Their neighborhood has a high crime rate and is made up of low-income families.

Traditions: The family always gets together for holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Holidays are spent in non-traditional ways, such as at bars. This tradition typically results in new family drama or Frank passing out drunk.


The communication pattern in this family is typically chaotic. Often times communication results in profanity or members of the family becoming physically aggressive. Although the family does not have the most effective pattern of communication, they are highly adaptable. The family works together well, are supportive, and always find a solution to the problem at hand. The family is often seen sharing hugs at difficult times or when they are proud of each other. Eye rolls are a common occurrence when their father comes home or speaks of how he will be more involved in their lives.

Strengths ● ●

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The children have a strong relationship. The oldest children come together to earn money and save it in their “squirrel fund” to maintain their home. Nextdoor neighbors Kevin and Vee provide an external source of support and help the children when they are struggling. Children still care for Frank and provide for him despite his absence. Fiona owns the home and has recently started a career in real estate. Family spends meals together.

Challenges ●

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Frank is often missing and the children sometimes do not see him for weeks at a time. There is a high crime rate within the neighborhood. The children have often gotten involved in crime to make money. Fiona and Lip have put their futures on the back burner to continue providing for their younger siblings. The Gallaghers do not have health insurance. The highest level of education achieved in the family is a highschool diploma and GED.


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Frank’s alcoholism has led to a change in family structure and a loss of equilibrium. The children have had to change their roles within the family and no longer care for their father. The family does not have effective communication or coping processes. Using the systems theory it is important to tailor interventions to the family as a unit.




Outcomes & Interventions

The Gallagher family will identify 2 members of the family that will be active in Frank’s treatment, by the end of the appointment. According to Bradshaw, Shumway, Wang, Harris, Smith, and Austin-Robillard (2015), family involvement in the addict’s treatment has positive effects on recovery. a) Intervention: Assess the relationships/ roles within the family and educate the family on importance of support in recovery. Kaakinen et al. (2015) states that health instructions are followed or ignored within the family. Familial support and dedication to change will improve Frank’s ability to conquer his disease. The family will identify 3 ways that alcoholism has impacted their family and express readiness to change, by the end of appointment. To promote growth of the family unit members must become aware of the addictive behavior and its impact on the family system (Bradshaw et al., 2015). a) Intervention: Facilitate family communication and guide an open, collaborative approach. This will increase family resiliency and allow the family to withstand and rebound from this difficult stressor (Kaakinen, 2015). The family will be verbalize 2 effective coping mechanisms, by the end of the appointment. Coping is essential to recovery and can increase the readiness to change (Bradshaw et al., 2015) a) Intervention: Assess the family’s current coping mechanisms and provide education on effective coping mechanisms, such as relaxation, setting realistic goals, and positive self-talk. According to Kaakinen et al. (2015), coping mechanisms are important as the stress of a chronic illness can lead to alterations in role performance.

References Bradshaw, S., Shumway, S. T., Wang, E. W., Harris, K. S., Smith, D. B., & Austin-Robillard, H., (2015). Hope, Readiness, and Coping in Family Recovery From Addiction. Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 10(4), 313-336. doi:10.1080/1556035X.2015.1099125 Ignatavicius, D. D. & Workman, M. L., (2016). Medical- Surgical Nursing: Patient-centered collaborative care (8th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Saunders. Kaakinen, J., Coehlo, D., Steele, R., Tabacco, A., & Hanson, S.M., (2015). Family Health Care Nursing: Theory, Practice, and Research (5th ed.). F. A. Davis Company. Images

Shameless Season 7 Photos (n.d.). Retrieved from Level of Shame- The Gallaghers (2015). Retrieved from a#.cd0Erkj7N IMDb Shameless Photo Gallery (2017). Retrieved from

Family Assessment ISSUU-The Gallaghers  
Family Assessment ISSUU-The Gallaghers