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To complete a case study, you must first find a case. Some suggested cases are available under the “Case Studies” link, although you do not have to use one of those. A case can be any person in a news article, fictional or historical character, person in a book, movie, TV show, etc. or just about anyone whose behaviors can be observed by the general public (note: DO NOT use someone you know personally).To submit your case study, you will fill out a diagnostic worksheet about your case. Imagine that you are a therapist seeing this character as a client and discern what information you can gather and what would be necessary for diagnosis. If the client is currently deceased, imagine a specific age at which you might have met with them while they were alive. You may have to work off-script or use your imagination a little bit. Where the worksheet requests information that is not available, you may fabricate an answer or embellish upon information already know, as long as it is consistent with the rest of the case.Grading is based on your ability to provide necessary information through the completion of the worksheet, and to decipher what information is relevant for diagnosis. Directions for diagnostic worksheets can be found below, as well as a sample worksheet. Be sure the worksheet follows the directions and contains sufficient information to justify your diagnosis (singular) or diagnoses (plural). The diagnosis/ diagnoses must be found in the DSM-5.At the bottom of your diagnostic worksheet, provide a reference (APA style) for the source you used (website, book, movie, etc.) References are provided for the suggested cases; reference on your own if you use another case.Remember, there are FIVE opportunities to submit a case study, of which only TWO are required. You must skip two case study due dates; doing an case study will not result in extra points.You will need the following files:Diagnostic Worksheet Directions and Sample downloadDiagnostic Worksheet (blank)- Word downloadDiagnostic Worksheet (blank)- PDF downloadCase Study Options
To complete a case study, you must first find a case. Some suggested cases are available under the “Case Studies” link, although you do not have to use one of those. A case can be any person in a news
Diagnostic WorksheetPatient’s name/ age:Give full name and ageSummary of Pertinent Case FeaturesPresenting Problem: What did the patient report was the issue when coming to therapy? Did anyone bring the patient or require/ recommend that he come? If so, why? What are the issues in the patient’s life and how would he like them addressed? Does the patient have a goal in mind? Do not list a diagnosis in this area. This should be the most detailed section.Medical History: List any past or current major medical problems (past surgeries, stroke, diabetes, etc.) If there is none, write, “none noted.”History of Mental Illness: List the patient’s and/ or family’s history of mental illness. If there is none, write, “none noted.”History of substance use/ addiction: List substances that the patient is currently using and/ or addicted to, as well as frequency and amount of use. If currently not using, describe patient’s history of past use or abuse, or lack thereof. If the patient does not currently use alcohol or drugs, and has no history of doing so, write “none noted.”Stressors in past year: What is currently causing stress in this patient’s life? Symptoms of the disorder do not constitute stressors.You may choose to be specific (“Patient’s wife has threatened to leave him due to his having an affair with an ex-girlfriend.”) or general (“Marital problems”). Of course, the more specific descriptions give a better overall picture. Consider stressors in all areas of life: social support, occupational, educational, legal, financial, grief, interpersonal conflict, etc. Safety assessment: Address suicidal and homicidal ideation. Address any issues that may present danger (eg. Violence, neglect of children, inability to care for one’s self, etc.) If the patient has no current suicidal/ homicidal thoughts or behaviors, write, “denies suicidal/ homicidal ideation.”Appearance/ behavior: Discuss how the patient looks (appearance) and how he is acting (behavior). Suggestions include addressing hygiene (well-groomed, unkempt, lacking hygiene, etc.), dress (disheveled, well-dressed, wrinkled clothing, etc.), overall impression (cooperative, polite, demanding, guarded, etc.)Thought Processes: Make note of any unusual thought processes (delusional, obsessive, paranoid, etc.) or note if thoughts are coherent/ logical. Using good/ fair/ poor as indicators, address both quality of insight (ability to understand self) and judgment (ability to make appropriate decisions).Mood/ Affect:Mood refers to the patient’s emotional expression via their words and affect refers to emotional expression via action (facial expressions, etc.) Address both. Note if mood and affect seem contradictory (incongruent mood/ affect).Intellectual Functioning: Assess their intelligence (high/ average/ low). Intelligence is unchanged by symptoms of a disorder, level of consciousness, education level, or age. It is generally safe to assume average intellect unless you have legitimate reason to believe that the patient is above or below average.Orientation: Patient can be oriented to person (“Who are you?”), place (“Where are you?”), time (“What is today?”) and situation (“Why are we here?”) If patient is oriented to all, note “Oriented X4.” If one or more areas are missing, note which areas patient is oriented to or is not oriented to.Final DiagnosesList each diagnosis on a new line. Make sure the diagnosis you give is a DSM-5 diagnosis. List ONLY the diagnosis (singular) or diagnoses (plural) here. No explanation is necessary. Justification for the diagnoses should be clear in the worksheet items above.Be sure to fill in every blank. Include an APA style reference for the source at the end of the worksheet. Diagnostic WorksheetPatient’s name/ age:Bob, age 22Summary of Pertinent Case FeaturesPresenting Problem:Patient states he has been visited by aliens from outer space. He states that they are trying to steal his recently deceased mother’s collection of rare depression glass throughtelekinesis, moving the glass out the windowwith molecular displacement.Patient also states he was fired from his job with Jack in the Box because the aliens appeared to him while he was working the drive thru and demanded he leave immediately or they would destroy the restaurant.He was picked up by police last night after a neighbor called in a complaint that the patient was in hisbackyard, yellingloudlyat the sky.Patient presents with his sister, Ann, who lives in the same home and was present when the police arrived.Medical History:Patient’s sisterreports he had three surgeries to correct a heart condition as a child. No other significant history noted.History of Mental Illness:Patientstates he was depressed as a teenager.Patient’s sisterstates that their father committed suicide 15 years ago. No records could be obtained.History of substanceuse/ addiction:Patient reports recreational use of alcohol since high school, threebeers or fewer per week. Denies illicit drug use. Patient is not currently under the influence.Stressors in past year:Recent death of mother(two months ago). Loss of job last week and subsequent financial problems.Lack of social support.Safety assessment:Patient denies suicidal or homicidal ideation.Patient does not have a history of violence.Appearance/ behavior:Patient is disheveled, unkempt, lacking hygiene. Patient was intermittently cooperative, alternately answering questions and becoming agitated. Responding to unseen stimuli (yelling, waving fist at sky, etc.)Thought Processes:Paranoid, delusional, incoherent. Poor judgment, fair insight.Mood/ Affect:Agitated, hostile at times toward unseen stimuli. Angry, impatient.Intellectual Functioning:NormalOrientation:Oriented to person/place, not to time or situation. (Oriented x2)Patient believes he is currently in the middle ofa nightmare. Final Diagnoses Schizophrenia Reference Smith, A. (2013). Case studies in abnormal psychology.New York: Pearsson
To complete a case study, you must first find a case. Some suggested cases are available under the “Case Studies” link, although you do not have to use one of those. A case can be any person in a news
Diagnostic Worksheet Patient’s name/ age: Summary of Pertinent Case Features Presenting Problem: Medical History: History of Mental Illness: History of substanceuse/addiction: Stressors in past year:Safety assessment: Appearance/ behavior: Thought Processes:Mood/ Affect: Intellectual Functioning: Orientation: Final Diagnoses
To complete a case study, you must first find a case. Some suggested cases are available under the “Case Studies” link, although you do not have to use one of those. A case can be any person in a news
Diagnostic Worksheet Patient’s name/ age: Summary of Pertinent Case Features Presenting Problem: Medical History: History of Mental Illness: History of substance use/ addiction: Stressors in past year: Safety assessment: Appearance/ behavior: Thought Processes: Mood/ Affect: Intellectual Functioning: Orientation: Final Diagnoses
To complete a case study, you must first find a case. Some suggested cases are available under the “Case Studies” link, although you do not have to use one of those. A case can be any person in a news
Case Study Options Below are some sample case studies. Some studies contain the reference information. You may use one of these examples or you may choose your own. If you choose your own, make sure it is someone well-known rather than someone you know personally. Good case examples can be a celebrity, public figure (eg. politician), historical figure, or character in a movie/ book/ TV show. Use your imagination!  If you find a good case study example online that you believe other students might learn from, please e-mail it to your instructor to be added to this page. Case studies excerpted from  Oltmanns, T. F., Martin, M. T., Neale J. M., & Davidson, G. C. (2012). Case studies in abnormal psychology: Ninth edition. Danvers, MA: Wiley. Alcohol Dependence Schizophrenia Dissociative Identity Disorder Antisocial Personality Disorder Borderline Personality Disorder Paraphilias Autism Spectrum Disorder Oppositional Defiant Disorder   “You Decide” cases; these do not contain a diagnosis (for an added challenge).Excerpted fromGorenstein, E.E. and Comer, R. J. (2015). Case studies in abnormal psychology: Second edition. New York: Worth. Case of Fred Case of Julia Case of Suzanne Case studies available online (Will link to external site; you will need to obtain reference depending on the source.) Bipolar Disorder (Links to an external site.) Factitious Disorder by Proxy (Links to an external site.) Borderline Personality Disorder (Links to an external site.) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (Links to an external site.)

  
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