Signature Paper

This activity is used to measure your progress in accomplishing the Program’s Student Learning Outcome (SLO) #2, which states, “Apply family systems oriented clinical skills across a variety of contexts.” For this final assignment, your task is to become an expert on one type of mental illness. To do this, complete each of the following:

Select a specific mental illness about which you wish to gain some added expertise. Find one or more first-person accounts of the selected illness (e.g., book, film, etc.) that you have not previously used for an assignment in this course. Use the information in the account to write a description of how a client might be feeling as he/she enters therapy with you (i.e., describe the person’s experience of the illness and what it must be like to be a client in this circumstance). Cite your sources for this information. (4 points)

Review the research literature on family factors (genetics, environment, behaviors) and cultural factors (race/ethnicity, income/social class, region of the country) that might be related to the etiology (origin), course of illness, and treatment of the illness. Consider both positive and negative views of the family’s role in mental illness generally and your selected disorder specifically. Cite the appropriate literature giving greatest weight to literature after 1990. (6 points)

Using both popular and research literature, develop a description of how one or more family members might feel about their relative’s behavior and symptoms. What do they know about the illness? How do they react to the symptoms? How do they try to help? How do they make things worse, etc.? Cite the appropriate literature. (4 points)

Using the information from the popular and research literature, develop a treatment plan that incorporates both medication (if warranted) and a family therapy based treatment. (6 points)

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