Psychodynamic case study

For this case study activity, please read the case details carefully, imagining yourself in the role of a counselor if it helps to do so. Then write 4-5 paragraphs to address the following:

  • Use 5 ideas from psychoanalytic/psychodynamic therapy to
    • Explain the causes of the clients distress
    • Illustrate how therapy could proceed with this client
    • Recommend strategies the therapist could use


Case: Tanya

Tanya is a 15-year-old White heterosexual female living with her mother and no siblings. She has had limited contact with her biological father and has lived with her mother only since about age 6. Her mother has experienced chronic depression and over the last 2 years has experienced significant medical concerns, such that she has been legitimately concerned that she could die quickly any day. Tanya was a good student until a year and a half ago, then has been truant from school and failing most of her classes since. She has a few close friends at school.


                Tanyas current symptoms included diminished appetite, difficulty falling asleep, emotional numbing, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and self-injury by cutting on her thighs multiple times weekly. According to a police report, Tanya has been using alcohol and marijuana regularly and recently was caught using methamphetamine. Medically, Tanya has been stable but recently has lost more weight than expected.


                Tanya reports that she is very concerned about her mothers health, including sleeping in the same bed as her mother most nights. Tanya stated that she often feels worthless. She also states that she does not want to talk about when her mood difficulties began (a year and a half ago), with some suggestion that there was a traumatic event that occurred at that time.


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