Assignment 1: application of family therapy to a case

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In this module, you explored theoretical approaches to family counseling. These approaches include family theories emphasizing the client’s background, emotions, thoughts, and actions. Your exploration included the basic assumptions about, the role of the therapist in, and the nature of the treatment associated with each of these approaches.

In this assignment, you will apply a family counseling theory/approach to a case study.

Case study below 

 The Case of Jeremy © 2014 Argosy University M6A1: Case Study 2  The following case study is adapted from Pearson’s MyCounselingLab for Counseling Theories (Seligman & Reichenberg, 2014). 

You are a mental health counselor in an outpatient mental health center. Jeremy’s mother, Jane, called asking for an appointment. She was referred to you by a behavioral managed care organization. Jeremy’s mother states that the juvenile office has suggested counseling for her son. Jeremy, who is 15, and his stepfather, Al, had an altercation because Jeremy threatened to harm his parents and destroyed some furniture. Jeremy’s parents reported this incident to the juvenile officer. Jeremy is also on out-ofschool suspension for talking back to school authorities and for fighting at school. 

Al is 35 and has been married to Jane, also 35, for the last 9 years. Each has been married before. Jeremy sees his biological father about once per month. Al’s daughter, Jessica, is 13. Jessica lives with her mother and visits Al every other weekend and two days during each week. Both Al and Jane are high school graduates, and both are employed. Jeremy had attended counseling when he was in the primary grades and was diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactive disorder. His grades in school are average, though he has one F in English/Language. His parents have hired a tutor to help him with this class. Jeremy has had detention about once per week for the last several months and is now on out-of-school suspension. 

His parents report almost daily calls from the school regarding Jeremy’s behavior. Jeremy’s at-home altercation with his stepfather has led to a 3-month probation with the juvenile office. During the assessment interview, the family members often interrupt one another. It resembles a conversation food fight. At no time does anyone have the opportunity to finish a sentence. They do not engage in any eye contact and speak primarily in negative terms with one another. Jeremy seems to be easily frustrated and freely expresses himself, though no one seems to listen. Jeremy also mumbles quite a bit and does not make eye contact with anyone in the room. His conversation social skills seem to be absent, though when he does talk, he is disrespectful and emits a tone of anger. 

Toward the end of the assessment session, Jeremy states he wants to do better but is unable to come up with ways to help his situation. He states he gets into trouble most when he just blurts out whatever comes to his mind. Jane has difficulty recognizing anything good about Jeremy (for instance, that he keeps most of his grades in the average range or his coming willingly for counseling). Al processes the altercation that occurred at home saying he was angry with Jeremy and that Jeremy would not listen to him. Al and Jane state that they have, on average, two arguments per day with Jeremy. The most regular and intense arguments are usually between Jeremy and Jane. All present agree that Jeremy is not using drugs, does not drink alcohol, and is not taking any prescription drugs. Jeremy does have friends and enjoys sport activities. He loves working on his computer. In a session, Jeremy is generally cooperative. 

Jane states that the juvenile officer would like a report at the end of counseling. Protocol for the managed care organization is that the counseling professional should send a copy of the treatment plan to the primary care physician. Consequently, releases of information are signed to give permission to the clinical counselor to communicate with the juvenile officer and to the primary care physician. 


Seligman, L., & Reichenberg, L. W. (2014). MyCounselingLab for Counseling Theories. (eText ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. ISBN-13: 978-0-13-3390803. 



Read the case study and in a minimum of 200 words, post your responses to the following:

  • Select one of the family counseling theories/approaches discussed in your required readings for this module.
  • Apply the theory to the case, taking on the role of Jeremy’s counselor. In your application:
    • Include the role of the counselor.
    • Identify the problem (worded in a language fitting your chosen theory).
    • Indicate the etiology of the problem (causes as per your chosen theory).
    • Identify the goals of counseling (also worded in a language fitting your chosen theory).
    • Identify the techniques the counselor is likely to use.
    • Identify the strengths and limitations of your selected theory.

What ethical issues are involved in this case?

  • Identify at least two issues from the relevant ethical standards from the American Counseling Association’s (ACA’s) code of ethics (American Counseling Association [ACA], 2014).
  • Describe the ethical approach to handling those issues in this case.
  • Provide at least one strategy to use if you, as the counselor, are unsure about how to manage those issues ethically.

Support your rationale and analyses by using at least two resources from professional literature in your response. Professional literature may include the Argosy University online library resources; relevant textbooks; peer-reviewed journal articles; and websites created by professional organizations, agencies, or institutions (websites ending in .edu or .gov).

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