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Case Study on Various Interventions

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How Theories Determine Interventions

scoring guide icon Discussion Participation Scoring Guide.

Discussion Scenario

For this discussion, first imagine the following scenario.

A father of a 4-year-old boy brings his son to counseling. His son has recently begun biting other children at preschool. As would be expected, this behavior is extremely upsetting to the teachers, the children who have been bitten, and their parents. The director of the preschool has told the father that the problem must be addressed by a professional if the child is to remain in preschool.

The father of the boy wants to get the best help he can, so he arranges an initial session with five counselors who advertise themselves as working from five different theoretical perspectives. He asks them all the same two questions: "Why is my child biting? And how will you make him stop?" He receives the following answers:
Psychodynamic Counselor

Why: "Your child may have an oral fixation that he has tied to his aggressive impulses."
What to do: "When your child's unconscious motives have been freely expressed and resolved, his behavior and peer interactions will become more age-appropriate."

Behavioral Counselor

Why: "It doesn't matter why; what matters is precisely selecting the behavior you want to change."
What to do: "Through observation, we will determine the contingencies that are reinforcing this biting behavior and eliminate them, while simultaneously establishing rewards for desired behaviors."

Adlerian Counselor

Why: "It will be important to know what need your son is seeking to satisfy with this behavior—power? Attention? Self-Protection?"
What to do: "When we find more constructive ways for your son to satisfy his need and encourage his use of these alternate ways, the biting behavior will discontinue."

Person-Centered Counselor

Why: "I wonder if your child feels truly seen and understood, and feels prized for who he is."
What to do: "When we create a space where your son feels unconditionally accepted, he will work through this on his own and I expect the biting will stop."

Solution Focused Counselor

Why: "I don't know why, but answer this: Are there days when he doesn't bite?"
What to do: "Let's figure out what's happening on the days he doesn't bite, and do more of that."

This whimsical scenario is overly simplified to the point of being humorous. Nevertheless, it underlines the point that the same problem would be understood and addressed differently by counselors working from different orientations. It also makes the point that the answer to what to do is based on the counselor's answer to why the problem is occurring.
Discussion Instructions

Now it is your turn. Select a common problem behavior that a child or teen might display (such as school refusal, bed-wetting, lying to teachers, sneaking out at night, obsessive fingernail biting, or always losing homework).

Briefly describe the problem.
Then, offer responses, from three different counselors who represent three different theoretical perspectives, to the why and the what to do questions.
Use your textbook to ensure that you design responses that are consistent with the theories on which they are based.
Offer a rationale, citing your support, for how you see each of your responses as exemplifying each of your chosen theories.

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Solution Preview

Case Study: always losing homework
Your client is recommended to you from his teacher and his parents. The child has been chronically losing his homework. You have completed an assessment for ADHD and other learning disabilities and your results indicate neither of these cognitive intelligence disorders are issues. He comes from a family of four, he has an older sister who excels in school. His mother works part-time as a pharmacist and his father is a partner in his law firm.

Adlerian approach
-often times children act out as a way to compensate for feelings of inferiority. By acting out they gain back power which they feel they do not have ...

Solution Summary

This solution of 446 words provides an illustration of three interventions for case of child not completing homework.

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