Choose one of the three Case Studies focusing on a family in crisis. Each member of the family has unique issues that you must address. You must also determine the primary problems (this may include diagnostic impressions but not formal diagnoses), intervention, prevention, and education required to assist the family. In your project, do the following:
Reflect on your journal entries throughout the course and consider what you may have learned about yourself as a future clinician working with children, adolescents, and families. Explain any areas of strength you have identified by completing this course that will assist you in working with children, adolescents, and families.
Final Project Case Study
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Working With Families: The Case of the Cooper Family
The Cooper family consists of Susan (age 42), Matthew (age 41), Savannah (age 16), and Milton (age 9). Susan works in the computer division of a telephone company. Matthew is a graphic artist who runs a private business out of their home.
There are a number of issues that precipitated a family crisis and led them to consult with you for counseling. Susan and Matthew are experiencing marital problems. Susan is a strong and achievement-oriented woman who works very long days and makes approximately four times the salary of Matthew. Although Matthew takes care of the family home and most of the children’s daily needs, he is chronically oversensitive and edgy about his place in the family hierarchy.
Both Susan and Matthew are somewhat perfectionistic. This style has clearly affected Savannah. Savannah is a straight-A student who has never even been close to having even the most minor school-related behavioral problem. She loves to feel in control. Unfortunately, she has begun obsessing not only about her academic performance but also about calorie counting. She has begun compulsively exercising and weighing herself several times a day. Both Susan and Matthew have observed Savannah’s hyper-concern about her weight but are at a complete loss as to how to deal with this problem.
Milton is the opposite of Savannah. He is slightly overweight, will eat consistently, and does not seem to understand the word “No.” Matthew gets calls about his misbehavior at school almost daily. The problems often are trivial, and Matthew has let the school know this, but Milton continues to get into trouble for slapping other students, not completing his homework, not paying attention, calling the teacher a sexist Nazi, and carving his initials into the bus seat. Susan and Matthew also struggle with Milton’s behavior at home: They cannot get him to stop playing violent video and computer games, and Milton is always into something, whether it is pestering the family dog or the next-door neighbors.
The final incident prompting counseling occurred about a week ago. Savannah had a large school project due on a Friday and came home from band practice to find that Milton had destroyed her project. After a series of wailing screams, Savannah proceeded to the privacy of her bedroom and began cutting on her left arm with a pair of scissors. The cuts were small and not dangerous, but the incident made Susan and Matthew panic and become desperate to “make things right again” in their family.
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