Critical analysis of a Case Study-clinical psychology

Coursework Assignment

Write a critical analysis of a Case Study

Word Limit: 2000 words maximum

Conduct a detailed clinical analysis of one of the case studies provided

Grading will be based on consideration of the following criteria:

1. Presentation of a clear rationale behind diagnosis, drawing on examples of presenting signs and symptoms to support your conclusions, including full consideration of circumstances of onset and client history.

2. Conceptualisation of the relation between causal etiology posited for the client and mode of treatment advocated. This should be supported by appropriate use of theory as well as reference to relevant research if necessary.

3. Prescribing a means of evaluating the effectiveness of the treatment, either qualitatively or quantitatively, with reference to relevant measures and outcome studies if necessary.

Case Study 3

Emily Watson

Age: 9

Sex: Female

Ethnicity: White, British.

Educational history: In her first year at primary school Emily refused to enter her classroom without her mother and would throw  mad fits if her mother tried to leave. During these episodes she would scream and sometimes bang her head on the floor. Eventually a scheme was devised by the teachers where her mother would stay until lunchtime and then allowed to go off to do her part-time job in the afternoon. Away from her mother she was quiet and well behaved but interacted little with other children. In her second year her teachers refused to allow her mum to stay and gradually Emily began to take increasing number of days off school for a variety of physical complaints, including stomach aches, nausea and headaches, all of which were found to have no physical basis. By her fourth year the school insisted she catch the bus every morning to ensure regular attendance, but by the end of the year she refused to get on the bus for fear the bus would crash. Since this date a social worker has been assigned to the family but with little success to date.

Why client is seeking help: Referred by social services for psychological assessment after consistent periods of school truancy. Attends late for morning registration, and more often than not does not attend afternoon sessions after returning home for lunch. She is regularly plagued by worries that something terrible will happen to either herself, her mother, or her grandmother (who also lives with them), and expresses frequent fears that events portrayed in news stories will befall her family. She has a particular fear that she will be kidnapped while away from home, or alternatively killed while she is away from home in a motor vehicle accident. Emily also reports frequent nightmares, where either she or another member of her family mysteriously disappear, become lost, or killed.

Family background: Parents divorced when she was 4 years old, with mother gaining custody of both herself and her older brother (who was 7 at the time). This was only attained after long and acrimonious legal battle with her ex-husband. Whilst on a weekend visit to her fathers house she was allegedly sexually interfered with by a friend of her cousin, who reportedly took her clothes off and insisted she  play games with him. This was denied by her father s family, but from thereon her father, nor anyone else in his family, were allowed access to the children. Six weeks after this particular incident her father was killed in a car accident. Emily and her brother did not attend his funeral as their mother believed that it would be too distressing and that they were too young to understand. His name has been rarely mentioned since, though more recently Emily has begun to ask if she could be taken to see his grave.
Harvey, J. H. & Pauwels, B. G. (eds). Post-traumatic stress theory :research and application. Brunner/Mazel, 2000

Kinchin, David. Supporting children with post-traumatic stress disorder :a practical guide for teachers and professionals. David Fulton, 2001

Monton, Edgar A. Obsessional neurosis : its causes, symptoms and treatment. Rosenheath Scientific, 1990

The following sites provide a rich range of materials on the topic of anxiety disorders.

Parker, Ian. (1988) Deconstructive Psychopathology. Sage.

Joseph, Stephen. (2001)  Psychopathology and therapeutic approaches: an introduction. Palgrave.

Barker, Chris. (2002). Research methods in clinical psychology :an introduction for students and practitioners. Chichester : Wiley.