Conceptualizing a Case
Developmental, Sociocultural, Ethical, and Diagnostic Considerations in Counseling Children and Adolescents
Due: End of Unit 3.
Mental Health Counselors of children and adolescents often need to communicate with appropriate individuals, such as supervisors, parents, or other counselors, about the basic facts and issues surrounding their clients. Creating a factual summary is the first step in the building a case conceptualization, diagnosis, and treatment plan.
Your assignment is to develop a case description, analysis, and treatment plan for a hypothetical case. You will first create a background sketch for your hypothetical case, following the example below. Next, you will present your analysis of the developmental, cultural, and legal aspects of the case. Then you will present your diagnosis and treatment plan for the case. Your case description and treatment plan should be succinct in addressing each area. Counselors must prepare reports that summarize many details accurately but briefly. Use the Conceptualizing a Case Template, linked in Resources, to develop your treatment plan. This template will provide the correct format and structure of a brief background sketch, case analysis, and initial treatment plan. The headings for this assignment are listed below and in the template that you will use to prepare this assignment. Use a minimum of 5 references, including your textbook. Your paper should be 5–6 pages in length, not including the title page or reference page. No abstract is necessary.
Background Sketch Components
You will first complete a background sketch for a child or adolescent client whom you might serve. (Use the background sketch you developed in Unit 1, with any revisions you made after peer and instructor feedback.) The background sketch will be brief. There are many examples of background sketches in the Counseling Children textbook, in the introductions to the case studies offered throughout (for example, see page 195). Here is another example:
Identification of the Problem
Sari [hypothetical name] is a 10-year-old girl in the fifth grade at Middle Valley Elementary. She is referred to counseling because the after-school staff report that she has become withdrawn recently, refusing offers for homework help or invitations from friends to join in activities.
Individual and Background Information
Academic: Staff report that Sari was previously proud of her report cards and showed them to the after school tutors. However, she would not talk about her most recent report card and was seen tearfully tearing it into pieces.
Family and Culture: Sari’s family immigrated from Turkey when she was a toddler. She is the oldest of three children, who are also in the after school program. Her mother works in the kitchen of Middle Valley Hospital. Her father drives a cab. Her parents alternate picking up the children. Sari expresses pride for her Turkish heritage, and mentions her family’s involvement with a local Turkish cultural group.
Physical: Sari is of average height for her age. She has a lean body mass and shows no signs of puberty. She rarely misses school due to illness. She has an untreated port-wine stain birthmark on one cheek and ear; she attempts to cover it with her hair style.
Social: Sari is athletic and loved playing outdoor games until her recent withdrawal from activities she previously enjoyed. She was frequently chosen by her peers to be a team member, and has several causal friendships, though she spends much of her time checking on her younger siblings in the program.
***Case Conceptualization Components
Next, you will analyze aspects of this case for features that will need to be considered in deciding how to best assist your client.
Briefly apply concepts—from Piaget’s theory, Selman, Erikson, and what is known about development of the brain and physical maturation—to your case (refer to Chapter 2 of Counseling Children for a review of developmental theories). Is your child or adolescent on track developmentally, or off track in some domains?
Briefly highlight the cultural considerations that might be important for understanding and counseling your case (refer to Chapter 2 of Counseling Children for counseling considerations for children from diverse cultures).
***Ecomap Assessment of Stressors and Supports
Summarize your Ecomap assessment to analyze how family, community, cultural, and societal factors contribute to the stressors and supports in your client’s life. Present your evaluation of how your child or adolescent client is supported by prevention, intervention, and education efforts or programs and networks that promote mental health, or how he or she experiences stress from the absence of support.
***Legal and Ethical Issues Plan
Briefly articulate a legal and ethical issues plan, presenting the steps you will take to establish an ethical counseling relationship with your child or adolescent client. Identify potential ethical or legal issues that could arise with this client, and briefly describe how you will handle each of these, referencing specific laws and ethical codes (you may use the issues you have identified for the second discussion of this unit, after considering peer and instructor feedback).
***Treatment Plan Components
Create a treatment plan for your case, including a preliminary diagnosis (use the diagnostic process you practiced in the first Unit 2 discussion). Your treatment plan should succinctly address these sections, also outlined in the Counseling Children text (pages 103–104): Problem Identification. Problem Definition. Goal Development. Measurable Outcomes. Creating Interventions. Diagnosing.
Henderson, D. A., & Thompson, C. L. (2016). Counseling children (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage.
Resources Conceptualizing a Case Scoring Guide. Conceptualizing a Case Template. APA Style and Format. Jongsma, Peterson, McInnis, and Bruce’s e-book, The Adolescent Psychotherapy Treatment Planner. Jongsma, Peterson, McInnis, and Bruce’s e-book, The Child Psychotherapy Treatment Planner.