This paper provides the opportunity to apply the theories and interventions learned throughout the semester to an individual from your CURRENT field placement or to one of the cases provided for you. If you have never utilized interpersonal, psychodynamic, and/or cognitive behavioral approaches in your work, then act as if you did. By this I mean: analyze the client through the lenses of interpersonal, psychodynamic, and cognitive theories and then apply the interventions stemming from these theories.

It is expected that the paper include references from this course (i.e., texts, required readings), and a minimum of FIVE empirical and theoretical scholarly articles that are not on the syllabus. At least FOUR of your outside sources should come from scholarly journals, not books or websites. The DSM does not count as one of your scholarly sources.

The paper should be 11 to 12 pages (not including title page or references) typed in 12-point font, double-spaced, and with one inch margins. APA style citations and references are required. NO EXCEPTIONS. It is essential that you protect the confidentiality of your client (i.e., use pseudonyms in place of actual names of persons and in place of highly sensitive information that could link individuals and agencies). DO NOT INCLUDE AN ABSTRACT. NO DIRECT QUOTES ALLOWED. PARAPHRASE ONLY.

Organization of Paper

Part I:

Choose a client from your current field placement OR one of the cases provided for you. If you choose one provided for you, the instructor cannot provide any other information regarding the case.

YOU CAN CHOOSE ONE OF THESE CASES (Thelma case.pdf  Download Thelma case.pdf and Maria Case.pdf  Download Maria Case.pdf) for your assignment.

PLEASE NOTE: For this paper, I want to see that you are using CBT or DBT properly. This can be hard to show when working with clients who have severe major depression, bipolar disorder, and psychosis. Additionally, clients with severe substance abuse problems require you to think closely about the intervention. (DBT is usually more appropriate than CBT.) Also, if your client has borderline personality disorder, you should use DBT not CBT. Therefore, consider choosing one of the cases provided for you (Maria or Thelma) if you think that using your own case will be difficult.

Part II: Case Formulation/Assessment (no more than 5 pages)

  1. Briefly describe your professional setting (no more than two or three sentences).
  2. Identify the client’s presenting problem. Include client information (age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and/or gender identity, family composition, etc.). Also, discuss whether the client used social or mental health services in the past. This is a good place to cite literature that is not on the syllabus.
  3. Discuss how membership in an oppressed group might contribute to or exacerbate the problem. For example, if your client is Latina, discuss some of the psychosocial issues encountered by Latina populations and whether or not these issues relate to your client. This is a good place to cite literature that is not on the syllabus.
  4. What family issues and/or stressful/traumatic/developmental experiences have contributed to the client’s current problem? Describing these experiences is not enough. Advanced clinical practice requires you to carefully analyze these experiences and explain how they affect your client’s psychosocial functioning. This is a good place to cite literature that is not on the syllabus.
  5. Include a psychiatric diagnosis according to DSM-5. See example below. Please phrase in the following way:

According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) Ms. Smith meets criteria for:

            Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

            Schizotypal Personality Disorder

            Diabetes Mellitus

  1. Briefly describe the client’s strengths. Or briefly explain the way in which the client has manifested resilience throughout his or her life. Discuss the importance of client’s religion or spirituality, if applicable.
  1. Describe two of the client’s treatment goals. The client’s treatment goals should stem from the problems under discussion. Please see the chapter on goals in the course tools section. Goals should be one sentence each and should be measurableOnly describe two treatment goals.

Part III: Interpersonal Interaction (no more than three-quarters of a page)

How does the client interact with you during sessions or during your contacts with them? How does this help you to understand how s/he interacts with others, or the way in which others react to her/him?

Part IV: Engagement (no more than 1 page)

Describe the role of the holding environment in the engagement process. First, define the holding environment and briefly discuss the clinical/developmental theories underlying this intervention. Second, discuss why the holding environment is necessary for engaging and establishing a therapeutic alliance with your client. The discussion should be specific to your client—DO NOT discuss the material in a general wayThis is a good place to cite literature that is not on the syllabus.

Part V: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) OR CBT-Related Interventions (no more than 4 pages)

Describe TWO cognitive behavioral interventions (e.g., uncovering automatic thoughts, identifying distortions, using thought stopping, or using deep breathing) that can be used to help the client achieve his/her goals. Your discussion MUST include the theory underlying the cognitive behavioral model.

PROVIDE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES. Do NOT discuss the interventions in a general way. Relate the interventions to the client’s problem.


Describe TWO interventions stemming from (a) Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), (b) Trauma-Focused CBT, or (c) Exposure and Response Prevention. Choosing one of these approaches means that you will have to describe the specific theory underlying the approach. For example, if you choose DBT, you will discuss Linehan’s biosocial theory and how it informs the skills training component of DBT.

PROVIDE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES. Do NOT discuss the interventions in a general way. Relate the interventions to the client’s problem.

Part VI: Professional Use of Self (no more than 1 page)

Describe some of the factors (e.g., countertransference, personal biases, judgments) that influenced—or could have influenced—the development and maintenance of the therapeutic relationship. Did you need to modify your practice in any way?

Please note:

Students SHOULD proofread all of their work prior to submitting it. When reading your papers be certain that your sentences hang together and flow in a coherent fashion. Students are encouraged to keep to the limits permitted in regard to paper length. There is no need to include “fluff.” Be certain that the material you include has a purpose. In that light be sure to edit materials. There is no need to say the same thing in more than one way. Search out the best way and state it plainly. Papers that contain a high level of unnecessary material are not considered outstanding papers. The important aspect is quality and not quantity. It is better to say less than more, especially if more means not saying it.

Clients’ right to confidentiality must be safeguarded. This means that all identifying data concerning clients must be disguised — names, addresses, places of employment, etc. It is usually acceptable to use first names (unless these are very unusual) or to refer to clients by real last initial, to name the town or area where clients live, to describe the type of employment unless very unusual, but not the specific company where client works. Give correct ages, race, etc. — delete or change only what might serve to identify clients. Do not give real names of "collaterals" (teacher, probation officer, psychiatrist, etc.). Check with your field instructor so that you can conform to any additional confidentiality criteria required by your agency.

Students should share the assignment with their field instructors. Field instructors can be very helpful in recommending areas that you might target for your own practice growth. If you have concerns about how to describe your client within the framework of the assignment, please bring this matter to my attention as soon as possible.

Your behavior is expected to conform to ethical standards described in University guidelines (School of Social Work Student Handbook) and the NASW Code of Ethics. Violations of the expectations will be brought to the attention of the University.

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