The Case of Emma


All assessments should be typed (preferably double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman or 11point Calibri), carefully proofread, and should give evidence of considerable thought/reference to relevant and, where possible, contextual psychological journals and literature.

Your assessments must show the development of your position in a coherent, logical, and organized way, and must demonstrate thorough engagement with the various topics covered in this module. Papers will be graded according to the following criteria: grammar and writing style, clarity and organisation, effort, originality, critical engagement, theoretical and practical relevance, integration of knowledge, and good use of references both current and contextual. Excellent adherence to the APA guidelines is a requirement.

As per the APA style writing and referencing guide, please ensure that your assessments adopt bias-free language, that you are familiar with the paper elements and formatting as per the APA guideline, that you understand effective scholarly writing and that you consult the reference examples. Avoid plagiarism by referencing accurately, diligently and consistently. If it is someone else’s work, it should be acknowledged. Students must include a minimum of 8 references in all assessments.

Assessment 1: Case Study Session Due: Session 6 Length:

Maximum of 2800 words

Marks: 100 (40%)

What is a Case Study? A case study is a form of assessment that presents a ‘real-life’ situation, whereby the student is required to apply their knowledge, a theory, and/or literature in trying to understand and propose possible solutions for the case in question. The purpose of this is to assess a student’s understanding of keys concepts and the theories, and their ability to use these concepts and theories to

  1. understand specific scenarios;
  2. solve specific issues or problems, and

3) make decisions regarding the real-life situation. The student’s ability to: unpack and demonstrate their understanding of a case, to apply a theoretical approach and literature to better understand and make sense of a case and to propose applicable and alternative solutions to the presenting problem/s embedded in the case study will be assessed.

The Case of Emma

Read the following case study and follow the instructions accordingly. You have just been appointed as a counsellor at a high school in Gauteng (South Africa). The high school is situated in an urban area and is reasonably well resourced. The school has 1400 learners and 23 teachers. The school offers a range of academic subjects as well as various sporting codes and extra-curricular activities. The school’s student wellness policy states that learners have access to six sessions with a counsellor. As and when necessary, the counsellor is required to refer a client to a more experienced practitioner (e.g. psychologist, doctor, social worker, etc.). A concerned teacher referred Emma to you. Emma is 16 years old, in Grade 10 and is generally a below-average school achiever (she just passes). The recent onset of sadness, unexplained tearfulness, difficulty concentrating, and struggles with sleeping is part of the presenting complaint. These are the reasons the teacher has referred Emma to you. You have a small private office on the school premises and Emma comes to you after her last class of the day. You have a one-and-a-half-hour session with her. You begin your session and Emma confirms her sleepless nights, difficulties with concentration, and appears sad and tearful. Emma then starts talking and shares with you – in a rather soft voice – that she feels ashamed of her body, is rapidly gaining weight, and adds that she does not feel like going to school in the mornings and would rather sit at home in front of the TV. She also mentions she is behind with her schoolwork, and considering that it is September, preparations for the final exams will soon commence. The South African College of Applied Psychology (Pty) Ltd Crisis and Trauma Counselling Module Outline 14 She tells you that her mother works as a bookkeeper and that her mother and father separated a year ago. Her father seldom makes contact with her and forgot to phone her on her birthday. She has no idea whether divorce proceedings are underway but indicated that her father is cohabiting with his new girlfriend, who Emma has met on two occasions and seemingly dislikes. Emma’s boyfriend of over a year, who is in matric at the same school, has also recently stopped contacting her and has not responded to her WhatsApp messages. She also thinks he has defriended her on Facebook. She thinks it is because of her weight gain, adding that her gym teacher recently told her in the gym class “she was getting too fat” in front of the other learners. Two nights’ ago, her mother came to her and asked her to try to get a part-time evening and weekend job (as a restaurant server) to help with the finances, as her father was defaulting on his financial maintenance. Emma has a younger brother who is in Grade 5. She takes care of him during the afternoon, helps with his homework, and walks him to the soccer field for practice every evening. She is very close to her brother. She complained that she feels like a burden to everyone and that for the last few days she wishes she could go to sleep and never wake up. She tells you that she is unable to talk to her mother, who returns home in the late evening, often grumpy, and has her own problems. Emma says that her mother is depressed. During her session with you, Emma says, “I would just like to go to sleep and never wake up. I am a burden to everyone, and no one seems to like me”. Her eyes brimming with tears she looks up at you and says “I’m not sure how you can help me, can you?” Instructions: Based on your exposure to the content of this module, discuss how you would go about managing the case of Emma. Your answer should include the following:  The definition of and types of crises that might apply to Emma;  How you might assess and identify Emma’s emotional state e.g. possible levels of self and/or other harm;  Emma’s coping mechanisms within the context of anxiety and loss;  What principles/theories/models of crisis intervention would assist you in managing Emma’s case;  Identifying some techniques of crisis intervention that demonstrate your ability to contain her;  How you feel about the layers of crisis presented, as well as your feelings of countertransference; and lastly  Write a one-page referral letter to the school psychologist, expressing your concerns and summarising your intervention plan for Emma. The letter should be a clear summary 15 of your findings and your experience of engagement with Emma (this can be included as an appendix to your assessment).

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