Counseling and Psychotherapy Case Study
Chapter 1 of Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy introduces the hypothetical client Stan, who is struggling to overcome emotions, self-perceptions, and behaviour patterns that are hindering his ability to be the person he wants to be. At the end of each theoretical chapter, the text revisits the case of Stan to illustrate the conceptualization of client problems, the types of therapeutic goals established, the nature of the therapeutic relationship, and the application of each theoretical model. In addition, the book Case Approach to Counseling and Psychotherapy follows the case of Ruth from each theoretical perspective.
The case study is considered a research paper; therefore, you must ensure that the approaches you use are empirically supported. As such, you are required to conduct a literature review, provide adequate background research, and integrate empirical work that demonstrates that the approach you have chosen is effective for the case you have chosen. AU offers resources on how to complete a literature review, such as the link to the following guideline: http://www.duluth.umn.edu/~hrallis/guides/researching/litreview.html.
This assignment encourages you to integrate your conceptual knowledge of the various theoretical models, as supported by the literature, with insight into a case study application of those approaches. The case study is the major course assignment and should be 15 to 20 double-spaced pages. You will be graded both on your knowledge of the theoretical model(s) you select and your ability to apply that knowledge to a particular client scenario. Review the “Grading Matrix” to ensure that you understand the expectations of the assignment. You may find one or more sample papers in the Resources section of the course site as well.
For this assignment, select a hypothetical client scenario from Chapter 16 of the Student Manual that accompanies the text. Choose one of the six “Additional Cases for Practice” that describe a range of clients with a variety of different problems. These descriptions are brief. You may flesh out your chosen scenario in any way you choose, as long as it is consistent with the synopsis provided. You may want to elaborate on family background, health, current interpersonal relationships, past experiences, coping resources, and so on, to support your understanding of the problem and your approach to facilitating client change. Be creative, drawing on what you have learned from the cases of Stan, Ruth, and others throughout the course.
You must also select a particular theoretical model to work with from those covered in the units in this course (Psychoanalytic, Adlerian, Behavioural, Cognitive-Behavioural, Control Theory/Reality Therapy, Existential Theory, Person-Centred Theory, Gestalt Theory, Feminist Theory, Family Systems Theory, or Multicultural Theory). While you are not required to select the model that fits best with your own perspectives and worldview, you may find it easier to develop and present your case study if the model makes some intuitive and experiential sense to you. Select only one primary theory to work with, although you may draw on techniques of other approaches if you like. (Developing your own integrative model is beyond the scope of this course.)
Once you have selected a client scenario and a primary theoretical model, begin to develop your case study, based on the criteria outlined below. Be sure you situate your work within the literature. Make use of the course texts and at least three other resources. (The supplementary readings at the end of each unit are a good source for other resources.) You are expected to draw on ideas, express them in your own words while maintaining the professionalism of a research paper, and organize them in a way that fits for your particular case study. Do not simply paraphrase text materials. You must also properly reference your sources. (See “Specific Grading Criteria” and “Citations and References” further on.)
Begin thinking about your client scenario by week 10 of the course, just after completing the midterm exam on Sections II and III (see the “Suggested Study Schedule” in the Course Manual). At that point, skip ahead to Chapter 15 in Theory and Practice for a summary of the various approaches to see which model might fit with your worldview and the scenario you have selected. You may reverse the order in which you complete Sections IV and V of the course to make sure you cover the theoretical model you have selected by week 13 of the course. By week 14, you should have developed an outline and begun to flesh out your case study. At that point, review Table 16-1 in Theory and Practice and Table 14-1 in Case Approach to see how the various approaches address the cases of Stan and Ruth, respectively. These tables may provide insights into the development of your own case study. You are advised to submit your case study assignment by week 16 of the course so that you avoid a pile-up of evaluation components at the end of the course.
Criteria for Developing the Case Study
This paper requires a substantive review of the literature. A minimum of three primary sources are required; however, three sources are generally not enough to conduct a substantive review. To achieve full marks, you must use a minimum of 10 or more primary sources to develop the key sections of the paper and to ensure that your findings are grounded in the literature. As noted elsewhere, it is critical to remember that this is a research paper with the addition of a case study application.
This assignment allows you to fully apply one theoretical model. Do not use integrative models in the case study except perhaps for reflection in the evaluation section. The evaluation section should be a substantive section of the paper and offers a developed critique of the model you have selected and applied.
Use the following questions as guidelines for developing the various components of your case study, focusing on what you see as most relevant for the client scenario you have selected. Feel free to address any additional questions appropriate for your particular case study. Include illustrations from your client scenario to support your choice of the theoretical model(s), the way you conceptualize the client problem, and the way you approach the counseling process with that particular client. You are not expected to produce a dialogue between counselor and client, although you may include small examples of dialogue to illustrate your points. Your case study must be presented as an essay, not in question and answer format. You may organize your essay around the major headings provided, or develop your own organizational structure. Please note the specific grading criteria and weighting of each section.
- Which theoretical model have you selected for working with this client, and what is the rationale for your selection?
- What is the theory’s view of human nature? What are the underlying assumptions of that approach?
- How does this particular view of human nature fit the client scenario you have selected?
- What themes represent the core struggles in this client’s life?
- How does the theory’s view of human nature and problem development help you understand how the client’s problems have developed?
- What are the primary characteristics of this approach? What are its major areas of focus and emphasis? What are its fundamental ideas?
- What implications do the key concepts have for your work with this client? What will you focus on?
- How much emphasis will you place on past experiences, the here and now, and the future? Where will the emphasis of therapy lie—thoughts, feelings, behaviours, or interpersonal relationships?
The Therapeutic Process
- What therapeutic goals will you set with this client? How do those goals support or reflect the basic constructs of the theoretical model?
- In the context of your theoretical model, what role will you assume as a therapist? What will be your main tasks or functions? How active or directive will you be? When will self-disclosure be appropriate? How much?
- What will you expect from the client? What is the client’s role in the therapeutic process? How do you expect this client to react to that role?
- What type of relationship will exist between yourself (the counselor) and the client? How much responsibility for client change will each of you assume?
- What challenges do you anticipate in establishing your relationship with this client? How will you address those issues?
- How are your values, attitudes, worldview, and beliefs similar or dissimilar to those of the client? How might differences in perspective affect the counseling process?
- What is the role of interpersonal, systemic, or cultural factors in the client’s problems? What other individuals or systems in this client’s life might become important to the therapeutic process?
Techniques and Procedures
- What are the major techniques and methods associated with this theoretical approach?
- Which therapy activities are most appropriate for your client’s problems? What is your rationale for this selection?
- How do these strategies fit with the client’s gender, family, cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds? What potential barriers exist? How might you overcome those barriers?
- What client resources, coping strategies, personal strengths, and other characteristics may facilitate the counseling process?
- What steps will you use to implement the selected therapeutic techniques with this client?
- What changes do you anticipate in the client’s thoughts, feelings, behaviours, relationships with others, and environment?
- Why did you select this particular approach for this client? Did your decision making reflect objective criteria or your personal preferences or worldview?
- How well do you anticipate this approach will work with this client, under these circumstances, addressing this particular presenting concern?
- What are the potential limitations of this model in addressing the needs of this client?
- What other approaches might you use to supplement the conceptual framework or counseling process you used here?
- Which models or techniques would work less well with this client, and why?
- What are your model’s strengths and weaknesses?