Character Assessment Theory Paper

Students will choose a character from a choice of television series and films to assess. Students will apply theories, perspectives, and methods described in class to the character and the character’s environment. The purpose of this assignment to assess:

1) your ability to organize data that clearly conveys assessment of person-in-environment domains, inclusive of client-centered strengths and client-defined problem/s

2) your ability to apply theories and methods that demonstrate foundational knowledge and valuing of the client’s lived experience, perspectives and strengths.

3) articulate why you chose a particular theory/method, demonstrating critical thought and reflection in the assessment process.

Follow the outline below and use the “CAT Paper Template”

Choose from “Atypical” on film media characters, either a main character or supporting character. If it is a series, you don’t have to watch the whole series. A minimum of three shows should provide content for this assignment.

● Atypical, Netflix


Briefly describe the film and the character you have chosen.

Why might this character seek help from a social worker and in what setting?

Comment on their motivation. Are they seeking services because they think they need to? Or is someone or something pressuring them?

Bio-Psycho-Social-Cultural Assessment: Summary

This section is not a full assessment, but rather a summary of pertinent client data to orient the reader/audience to the client through a person-in-environment (PIE) summary, inclusive of the following domains, and no more than one page, written in short paragraphs.

Identifying information

o age, gender, ethnicity, employment, living situation, marital/partner status

▪ This can be very brief, but should include all important identifying information. At a minimum, what is outlined above, but if you identify a piece of identifying information that is important but not specified above, please include it. One example is legal status, maybe they are on probation?

▪ Client is a 26-year-old Caucasian female, never married with two children. She is currently unemployed and living with her parents.

▪ BOOM! This section can be short and sweet, the other sections will be more in-depth, but writing an assessment in a concise and clinical tone is helpful.

o Biophysical functioning

▪ appearance, body build, general health, medical conditions, medications, injuries, or other

physical limitations, substance use.

o Cognitive functioning

▪ intellect, memory, judgment, problem-solving, core beliefs & perceptions.

o Emotional functioning

▪ mood, ability to express and manage emotions, grief and loss issues, mental health concerns, self-esteem

o Behavioral functioning

▪ organizational skills, social skills, level of independence, coping skills

o Developmental stage

▪ psychosocial developmental tasks the character is facing – apply Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development to your “client”

o Social supports and family dynamics

▪ describe what social supports and family dynamics look like, include conflicts, strengths and limitations. Community engagement.

o Culturally-based values, beliefs, customs

▪ Indications of culturally-based values, beliefs, customs, morality, ethics

o Spirituality

▪ indications of spiritually based beliefs, distress/despair, faith-based affiliation

Theoretical Approach

Next, choose a theoretical approach from class to analyze the data in your biopsychosocial assessment (do not choose Erikson’s psychosocial development since you discussed them in the assessment).

In this section, you pull together the descriptive data on the character’s life and situation that you presented in your biopsychosocial assessment summary into a critical and theory-based analysis of the dynamics of the character’s problems and strengths.

Choose one theory from the list below:

● Systems theory

● Ecological theory

● Intersectionality theory

● Psychosexual development

● Social learning theory

● Conflict theory

● Functionalism

● Symbolic interactionism theory

● Feminism

● Theories of racism, discrimination and oppression (see chapter 5)

● Community organization


In this section, identify challenges and problems to be addressed and present goals and methods/interventions

that are consistent with the theoretical approach that you have chosen above. You will use multiple outside sources to identify the best evidence-based practices for addressing your client’s problems and setting appropriate goals. Think of this section as the beginning of treatment planning.


Your final paper should be 10 pages in length, Times New Roman, 12 point, 1-inch margins, double-spaced, and use APA format. Include a minimum of 5 sources (at least 3 outside sources). Sources should be credible and may include books and peer-reviewed articles. One of your sources must be your textbook. Your series/movie does not count as one of your minimum sources but should be cited in your paper and included on your reference list.

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