Assignment 2: Clinical Paper (Instructions)
Paper length: The body of your paper, not including title page, references, etc., should be 10-12 typed, double-spaced pages. Please do not exceed 12 pages of text, as there is only one of me, and there are many of you!
Compare and contrast the viewpoints of two schools of family/couples therapy, with comparative application of each to the following case:
Lisa, a 39-year-old white heterosexual married woman, who works as a nurse, calls you for an initial appointment. She states that she has been feeling depressed and overwhelmed because Jimmy, her 14-year-old son, has been having trouble in school. He has been missing homework assignments, he is failing two of his classes as a result, he has occasionally been skipping classes, and last week he was suspended for punching another student. There is another child in the family, an 8-year-old girl named Emma. She is quiet, and does not seem to have any obvious behavioral difficulties at the moment; however, she does not seem very happy when you meet her during the initial interview of the family. She does not speak up spontaneously, and only responds to questions with one-word answers. In the initial interview, it also becomes apparent that there are marital tensions between the wife and her husband, Tam, a 42-year-old Vietnamese Canadian heterosexual man, who works as a software programmer. In the conjoint intake session, the couple does not elaborate upon these difficulties; however, in the second session – an individual session with each family member – you discover that the husband has been spending 2-4 hours per day playing online poker games. He feels that he has a right to do what he wishes in his free time. His wife feels that it is an addiction, that it is an emotional betrayal of her, and that it is occasionally a financial drain on the family. They never argue in front of the children, but they are both finding their son’s troubles very stressful. The wife feels that their son’s acting-out is related to the husband spending less time with the family (“he is always in his study, on the computer, mindlessly playing that stupid poker game”). However, the husband feels that it is his wife’s high stress level, and her short temper, that are causing stress in the rest of the family members.
In the first section, describe the couple or family in question, and the presenting problem. What do you think brought this family/couple in for therapy? As you assess the family (perhaps utilizing Circular Questioning) in the intake session that you imagine, what further information emerges?
In the second section, discuss two different models of family therapy, and how you would apply each to the case — what is your conceptualization and treatment plan? Conceptualization refers to how a therapist working within that model would define the problem in the family – using that model’s concepts, what would the therapist say is “the problem,” or the reason things aren’t working well currently? Treatment planning refers to what a therapist working within that model would therefore believe should be done. Thus, conceptualization and treatment planning are logically related. Within each model, also discuss how you will manage the limited number of sessions the family has committed to attend.
In the third section, address the following questions:
How are the models similar and how do they differ, in theory and/or in practice?
Which model (or which aspects of the models) do you think would be most effective for treating this case? Why?
This paper should be prepared in APA format and supplemented by references that discuss each model.
Some of these references can come from the Goldenberg & Goldenberg textbook, but at least four relevant research articles should be included from outside the textbook as well. It’s especially useful to be able to back up your clinical claims about one model or another with published research findings (e.g. specific studies on the use of that model with that diagnosis, or studies showing the general efficacy of that model of family therapy).
In addition to APA format, writing quality (including grammar and spelling) will count toward the final grade. Therefore, proofreading is strongly encouraged.
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