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Au Psy492 M7 A3 E Portf Dahl V.Doc


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Au Psy492 M7 A3 E Portf Dahl V.Doc

  1. 1. 1 Undergraduate Studies ePortfolio Vanessa (Eva) Dahl B.A. Psychology, 2010
  2. 2. Personal Statement When I was only 3 years old, I had learned to read, not simply by memory, but actually recognizing text. By second grade I read my mother’s mystery novels and anything I could get my hands on. I was not only passionate about reading, but learning in general. I wanted to know everything and not have to ask all the time. I found that responses such as “I am not sure” or “you are not old enough to know about that yet”, made me frustrated and books had all the answers I needed. I always intended to go to college to become a teacher, preferably of English or a librarian. After high school, I had a child and felt that was the end of my dream. I would, instead, go to thrift stores and purchase old textbooks, teaching myself the subjects I was interested in and taking the chapter tests. I was working two jobs, had a child on my own, and college did not seem an option. While meeting with a social worker for my welfare case, she mentioned that the state paid for college tuition and I qualified for a grant as well to attend college if I was interested in continuing my education to get a better career. I enrolled immediately and took as many classes as I could, to learn about everything I had ever wondered about, from acting to education. It was an anthropology class that I took that really made me interested in the field of psychology. The study of culture opened my eyes to what others did and believed and I wanted to know why, what was behind it in their minds.
  3. 3. Personal Statement Continued My career thus far has been in the customer service and childcare industry, which I feel are great places to work with people and both educate and fulfill a need for others. They also allow me to utilize my skills in communication, writing, observing and evaluation. College courses I have found to be the most rewarding for me have pertained to education and psychology, and then there was my amazing anthropology class that inspired my interest in psychology. My classes in education have included working with children with hyperactivity, which I have utilized in real life, through caring for various children in preschool, and a class on children and violence, which has been useful in my volunteer work, I work in a temporary emergency homeless shelter, caring for children while their mothers attend meetings, training, etc. Combining my employment skills and volunteer experience with my education has allowed me to grow and learn what I feel are necessary skills that will attribute to my success in graduate school on the road to my Master’s degree in either clinical social work (MSW) or school psychology (M.ed).
  4. 4. Resume Objective To provide children the necessary care and education to be successful learners. Related Experience Scottsdale School 10/2000-08/2006 12630 N 48th St Phoenix, AZ 85032 Assistant Director  Hire, train, evaluate and manage staff  Develop and implement effective policies, procedures, and guidelines that meet the school’s mission and annual goals  Oversee Program Development, Direct Programs and Youth Services Programs; ensure these units are compliant with the mission, policies, procedures, quality standards and annual goals of the school  Work collaboratively with management and team to assure efficiency of overall operations and maintenance of organized systems for program accountability  Maintain records and manage data on children, staff, supplies and equipment, and school programs  Handled monetary transactions and supported overseeing of revenues and expenses  Earned Accreditation from NAEYC Other Experiences Fiskars 01/2008-12/2009 2537 Daniels St Madison, WI 53718 Customer Service Representative  New Account Set up  Credit/payments  Consumer information  Data Entry  Account Management  EDI and other various reports American Express 08/2006-12/2007 20022 N 31st Ave Phoenix, AZ 85027 Small Business Finance/Customer Service Representative  Maintain client accounts  Assist customers through inbound phone system  Provide maximum levels of customer service  Educate cardholders  Create strong working relationships Activities Volunteer for Dane County Humane Society FOF Division Marathon Race for the Cure Marathon NAMI Current volunteer for Horizon’s for Homeless Children Interests Hiking, Photography, Various Paper Crafting, Travel Education Certification Argosy University- Bachelor’s Degree Psychology 2008 – Present Paradise Valley Community College - Associates Degree 2000-2007 CPR Adult, Infant, and Child - Valid through April 2011 First Aid Adult, Child and Infant- Valid through September 2012 EEC certified for TP and T I/P – Issued 2010 References Upon Request
  5. 5. Reflection My class in counseling theories provided a better understanding of various methods and approaches of counseling, the stages of development and ego. Social psychology class gave me a better grasp on relationships, attitudes, and conflicts in society today and throughout time. My class in personality theory taught me what personality is, the different theories and perspectives on how it is formed, along with how to evaluate and measure it. Personality theory required an understanding that a theory is based on science as well as philosophy. The theory usually begins with an idea or opinion that is formed from experiences or observations. These are then tested and examined in greater detail through experiments, tests, or surveys. Maladaptive Behavior and Psychopathology class educated me on maladaptive behavior diagnoses, in accordance to DSM-IV, and treatment in relation to the disorder. Our main project was a “hands on” project with a fictitious patient with multiple problems, including a history of sexual abuse and a sleeping disorder, where we analyzed her behavior, evaluated her disorders, and offered ideas for treatment. My class in Physiological Psychology reviewed the biological connection to psychology, which was extremely interesting the way the two are actually related. Ethics in Psychology class taught me to be aware of the ethics and values related to counseling as well as the appropriate places to find them and how to ensure that you are making the right choices, which are beyond important when working in counseling. All of these classes in psychology have prepared me for work in future endeavors. I have been able to utilize what I learned in eliminating career options that I was not meant for and finding what would be a good fit for me. I have decided from my current knowledge of the industry that my talents and knowledge would best be suited to work in either clinical social work or school psychology.
  6. 6. Table of Contents • Cognitive Abilities: Critical Thinking and Information Literacy • Research Skills • Communication Skills: Oral and Written • Ethics and Diversity Awareness • Foundations of Psychology • Applied Psychology • Interpersonal Effectiveness
  7. 7. Cognitive Abilities: Critical Thinking and Information Literacy Vanessa “Eva” Dahl The Pearson correlation coefficient study is used to determine the relationship of the variables in a study. Researchers are able to use the information retained to create further investigations into their study area. It is popular for use in instances of prediction, for example, a company requires the knowledge of potential customer service quality for the future. This information could be calculated using a correlation coefficient study because the analysis of the relationship of variables combined with prediction of its effects are required to attempt an outlook into the future (Argosy, 2010). The chi square goodness of fit test however comes in handy when one is marketing a new medication and needs to know if it will sell relatively proportionately to existing medications. The reason we would use this test for this scenario is that the chi square goodness of fit test will establish if the observed frequency distribution of the current product will differ or be equivalent to the theoretical upcoming product (Argosy, 2010). If a situation arose in which one was looking to discover, for example, the potential outcomes of a new therapy to treat bipolar disorder and were concerned about its success, either test would be appropriate as they both seem to predict an outcome. References: Argosy Online. (2010). Lecture Notes. Retrieved April 15, 2010 from
  8. 8. Research Skills Vanessa Dahl Instances of Prevalence in Procrastination for Adults with ADD/ADHD Compared to the General Community • Procrastination, the act of putting things off, is a common challenge for man although it seems to affect people more profoundly that are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. ADD/ADHD, also known as Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a behavioral condition that makes focusing on everyday requests and routines challenging (APA, 2010). Procrastination is a subject which deserves much more effort tin research as it is so prevalent in society and it has such negative effects on those who do it (Ramsay, 2010). Using literature on the subject of procrastination and ADD/ADHD, many associations have been discovered and noted into the link of the two. In studies done by both Miller (Miller, 2008) and Ferrari (Ferrari, 2006) on subjects with issues of procrastination, there is much evidence for the theory that procrastination behavior could be indicative of ADD/ADHD. In order to divulge the greatest amount of statistical data, all aspects of procrastination must be addressed from the situation to the type. This can be found by collecting data on each from all parties involved and analyzing the similarities and/or differences. • Participants in the study were comprised of a sample of those diagnosed with ADD/ADHD as well as a sample of the general population not diagnosed with the disorder. The research was in the form of a survey in order to allow for the most accurate account of the experiences as well as convenience for the participants and researchers. The surveys covered numerous circumstances and types of procrastination in which people are often privy to, opening up multiple options for responses. The use of causal research designs were used in order to find the cause and affect relationships between the variables of behavior and the disorder of ADD/ADHD (Argosy, 2010). This was achieved by pulling 50 random samples from a group of adults with ADD/ADHD and 50 random samples from a group of general population who are not diagnosed with the disorder and had them respond to a survey which detailed different levels and types of procrastination and measured their individual frequency.
  9. 9. Research Skills Continued Instances of Prevalence in Procrastination for Adults with ADD/ADHD Compared to the General Community Continued Methods • In order to test the hypothesis, “Is there a difference between instances of prevalence in procrastination for adults with ADD/ADHD in comparison to that of the general community”, statistical analysis will be performed. The type used for this test will be what is known as an unpaired t-test, also known as a t-test for independent groups. The unpaired t-test is an “inferential test for comparing two means from different groups of subjects” (Shaughnessy, J., et al, 2009). The reason in which this was chosen was because of the test’s ability to compare two separate independent and identically distributed samples. The way this study will be set up by registering randomly 50 individuals with ADD/ADHD and 50 individuals of the community with no ADD/ADHD diagnosis. This group provides two independent samples with which to use on the t-test, in unpaired form. From there, the P value needs to be calculated through a t-test in order to determine the outcome of the null hypothesis, for instance if it will be accepted or rejected as well as if the test was “statistically significant” or “scientifically important” (Argosy, 2010). Those involved will be given the option to participate and even stop participation at any time at their own free will. Consent will be required for participation and random codes will be assigned for partakers to ensure the anonymity of those responding to the surveys.
  10. 10. Research Skills Continued Instances of Prevalence in Procrastination for Adults with ADD/ADHD Compared to the General Community Continued Results • The hypothesis “Is there a difference between instances of prevalence in procrastination for adults with ADD/ADHD in comparison to that of the general community” will hopefully be examined through the methods listed above resulting in convincing results. Resulting in a testable difference between the two samples will indicate that those who engaged in behaviors of procrastination most often in all types, as well as situations, were those in the ADD/ADHD population. These findings should be consistent to those seen in previous literature regarding the link between ADD/ADHD as they presented the same type of study as well as ended with similar results. The replication of results would be indicative of convergent construct validity and retest method of reliability. The results need also be concurrent with those of Svegedy-Maszak’s article (Szegedy-Maszak, 2004), which acquired information from various tests of those with ADD/ADHD and covered the idea of procrastination as not just a symptom of ADD/ADHD, but as an actual indicator of the disorder. The benefit of this information will relate to the explanatory writing done by Ramsey (Ramsay, 2010) which detailed the negative impacts which procrastination had on lives of those with ADD/ADHD as well as that of Paulson (Paulson, 2005) that was done in terms to the affects of Ritalin and its impact on the symptoms of ADD/ADHD using the within- subject design method (Argosy, 2010). With this additional knowledge, those with ADD/ADHD would then be able to understand the behavior of procrastination as well as its effects and treatment better.
  11. 11. Research Skills Continued Instances of Prevalence in Procrastination for Adults with ADD/ADHD Compared to the General Community Continued References Miller, C.W. (2008). Procrastination and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the college setting: The relationship between procrastination and anxiety. Retrieved June 7, 2010 from Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering Vol 68(9-B), pp. 6322. Ferrari, J.R., & Sanders, S.E. (2006). Procrastination rates among adults with and without AD/HD: A pilot study. Retrieved June 7, 2010 from Counseling and Clinical Psychology, 3, 2-9. Szegedy-Maszak, M. (2004). Driven to distraction. Retrieved June 7, 2010 from U.S. News & World Report. (53). Paulson, K. (2005) Paying attention to ADD. Retrieved June 7, 2010 from Santa Fe New Mexican. D-1. Ramsay, J. R. (2010). CBT for adult ADHD: Adaptations and hypothesized mechanisms of change. June 7, 2010 Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly, 24(1), 37-45. Argosy Lecture Notes. (2010). Argosy Online. Retrieved June 20, 2010 from
  12. 12. Communication Skills: Oral and Written Christen, a 23-year-old European-American woman, has a daughter who is diagnosed with autism probably caused by neurodevelopmental factors. Christen approaches you in tears because she thinks that her daughter has a psychiatric disorder. Christen feels guilty, wondering if her parenting or parenting style might have caused the disorder. What clarification would you provide Christen regarding the diagnosis? What are some of the characteristic symptoms or behaviors that are associated with autism? What suggestions would you provide Christen about her daughter’s possible limitations and the special care needed? “I would clarify for Christen the fact that, there is not one known cause for autism, although it seems most likely that an abnormality in genes or brain structure or other various medical conditions are most frequently seen in those diagnosed. For example, many people who develop autism have been diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome, rubella syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis (Autism Society, 2008). There are also cases in which toxins or ingestion of harmful substances during pregnancy may have been a factor. Characteristically, people with autism process and respond to information in unique ways and can be more aggressive or unresponsive than those without, and all characteristics are unique to the individual. There are also varying degrees to the condition as some may have delays in learning while others can have more severe symptoms such as the inability to make social connections. Other known traits are resistance to change, repetition, tantrums, over or under-attachment to people, routines, things, and over or under- sensitivity to pain (Autism Society, 2008). Two limiting behaviors of Autism are tantrums or bursts of anger or sadness or difficulty relating and relating to others. This creates a challenge in treatment and education of an autistic child. The first thing to do is discover the child’s intellectual strengths and weaknesses and their specific needs in order to tailor a plan for how the child should be treated and educated. I would suggest that she work with a specialist to discover an arrangement of how to work with her daughter (Autism Society, 2008).” Vanessa Dahl References Radiology (2009). Retrieved November 12, 2009 from a2z.cfm?alpha=all Autism Society (2008). Retrieved November 13, 2009 from
  13. 13. Ethics and Diversity Awareness Code of Ethics Awareness Vanessa Dahl The code of ethics for APA and ACA were sufficient in what they are intended for and have obviously been made in regards to issues that are commonly faced in counseling and psychology. Some were obviously made in response to lawsuits, complaints, etc over the years that, had the restrictions existed previously, would never have occurred. There is a definite need for codes such as these and all of them seemed viable. Some codes were sufficiently precise, while others lacked elaboration that, I felt, would have been necessary, especially to some who need more strict guidelines.. In APA code 3.06 (APA, 2010), it states not to let your values blind you to what your goals are with the patient. While in ACA code A.4.b. (ACA, 2005), the code says that counselors keep their values separate from their sessions and not impose them onto clients. The APA code is vague and generally states to keep the patient’s best interest in mind no matter your personal value, while the ACA code, more specifically, claims that a counselor needs to have their own beliefs but not try and incorporate them into the sessions and especially do not try to convert your patient. Another example are the codes involved in sexual relationships between supervisors and counselors. In the ACA ethical code F.3.b. Sexual Relationships (ACA, 2005), it is clearly defined that sexual or romantic relationships between the supervisor and supervisee are prohibited, while APA ethical code 7.07 Sexual Relationships with Students and Supervisees (APA, 2010), declares that “psychologists do not engage in sexual relationships with students or supervisees who are in their department, agency, or training center or over whom psychologists have or are likely to have evaluative authority” and APA ethical code, 3.08 Exploitative Relationships, states that psychologists should not exploit persons over whom they have a supervisory relationship. The APA code 3.08 is much more exact on what could be considered unethical as it basically states that supervisors should not to put counselors into a compromising position such as a sexual relationship in which their job, evaluations, etc. may be biased or at risk.
  14. 14. Ethics and Diversity Awareness Continued Code of Ethics Awareness Continued I also found some information to be vastly different and thought that it would make more sense to make a more universal code between APA and ACA. For example on the topic of dating previous clients, we learned that ACA, code A.5.b. (ACA, 2005), requires the counselor to wait 5 years between the last professional session and the start of a sexual relationship, while APA code 10.08 (APA, 2010), Sexual Intimacies with Former Therapy Clients/Patients, basically states that, only in the most extreme cases should one engage in sexual intimacies with patients and only after awaiting the allotted two years after therapy has been terminated to begin the relationship. ACA and APA have a vastly different number for how long should pass between professional and personal relationships which could be seen as confusing or contradictory to implement such seriously different lengths in such similar careers. In my opinion, the codes are useful and well written. They are beneficial to all parties involved in the counseling process, from the patient to the counselor, to the supervisor. It is good to know how easily accessible they are and how much they cover, as I can see that they are a staple to a successful career in psychology. References: APA.(2010). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct with the 2010 Amendments. Retrieved August 16, 2010 from ACA Code of Ethics. (2005). ACA. Retrieved August 16, 2010 from
  15. 15. Foundations of Psychology Vanessa Dahl Rogerian Theory The Rogerian theory explains that people “tend to develop in a positive direction” in what he called the actualizing tendency and that human problem are a distortion of the natural tendency to do so (Argosy,2009). What this means is that people have goals and want to be the best they can and if not it’s because they do not want to. Rogers felt that using client centered therapy, which involves being authentic, non-judgmental, and empathetic, then clients are able to discover for themselves what steps they should take to regain their life and goal to be “good”. Realistically, I feel it is hard to overlook the fact that someone has raped someone or that they don’t have a lot of a “self” to them. Many people are even disgusted by these people. For myself, I know that most sex offenders have mental issues or have been victims themselves to offenses and this could help me to work at building a relationship with them for a psychotherapy purpose. I know I would be fine caring for someone with dementia and with mentally challenged children. It is hard for me not to love someone who can’t take care of themselves and I have always believed in advocacy for those who are unable to do so. I think, using the Rogerian theory, one would need to open themselves up to meeting someone without judging that persons disabilities or past. Focusing on the person’s qualities as well as the present, here and now, this helps suspend the preconceptions we have of a person in their situation. A therapist can express themselves honestly as well as understand what the other person may be thinking or feeling. In this environment, the person can feel accepted and diminish the need to defend his self-concept and start accepting and valuing themselves. They can reconsider and break up circumstances of value and decrease their tension .This approach will make communication better, which allows for more information to be presented and, the more information you have, the better able you are to treat the patient. References Argosy University. (2009). PSY361 Course Lectures. Retrieved on August 8, 2009 from
  16. 16. Foundations of Psychology Continued Robert Lowe, a 42-year-old African-American, experiences back pain and spells of dizziness and consults a neurologist at your facility. The neurologist suspects a bulging disc and tells Robert to get an MRI. Robert calls you on the telephone for answers to specific questions related to his condition. He wants to know the details regarding the tests he had to undergo. Substantiate your answers to his questions with reasons. How does an MRI work? How will it help diagnose his condition? Does it have any potential harmful effects? Can he go for an X-ray or a PET instead of an MRI? What are the relative benefits of an X-ray or a PET scan as alternatives to an MRI? “MRI, magnetic resonance imaging, is a noninvasive test used by physicians to diagnose and treat medical conditions (Argosy, 2009). This is done using a combination of radio frequency pulses, computers, and powerful magnetic fields. The way this works is, the magnetic field passes an electric current through coils in the unit while radio waves redirect the axes of spinning protons; finally the computer processes the signals and generates images which show thin slices of the body which can be studied from multiple angles (RSNA, 2009). The MRI produces images which can be examined by radiologists on computers, and can also be printed or copied for the primary care physician. The MRI is useful in diagnoses and evaluation of anything from lesions and tumors to bone abnormalities and diseases. This is because the images and resonance are so detailed in an MRI. It is also helpful in discovering issues that are covered up by bones in most imaging methods. This eliminates the old fashioned method of guessing the problem. The only potential harmful effects are not from the MRI itself but complications from outside influences such as excessive sedation, allergic reaction to injected contrast materials, and malfunctions of implanted medical devices containing metal. A rare complication of an MRI known as Nephrogenic System Fibrosis is another harmful effect. This complication is due to an injection of high doses of MRI contrast materials in patients with kidney problems (RSNA, 2009). Robert could get an x-ray instead of doing an MRI as this produces images representing bone density and soft tissue. X- Rays are image producing procedures as well although these involve exposing the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation(RSNA, 2009). PET is used for details on both the structure and function of organs and tissues (RSNA, 2009).. This would not help diagnosis in the event of bulging disc as this is a condition related to the spine, when the disc, which is the cushioning for the vertebrate in the spine, in the lower back shifts out of its normal radius and bulges through a crevice in the spine. An MRI would be the appropriate tool to use to note the differentiation than other imaging systems such as x- rays and PETs as it is most accurate and safest of the three options. If the patient were claustrophobic or obese, he would benefit from having an x-ray over the MRI as the machine can be pretty close quarters. “ Vanessa Dahl References Radiology (2009). Retrieved November 12, 2009 from a2z.cfm?alpha=all Autism Society (2008). Retrieved November 13, 2009 from
  17. 17. Applied Psychology You are asked to interview René, a 16-year-old girl, who describes herself as biracial, is 5’ 6” tall, weighs and 98 lbs. She says that she overeats at least once every week, and afterwards she induces vomiting. She perceives herself as “fat” but fears that she may become “fatter.” She also has amenorrhea. Analyze Rene’s case, and submit a report to your supervisor regarding her DSM diagnosis. Include the rationale for your diagnosis. “Rene suffers from bulimia nervosa (307.51), an eating disorder which is characterized by repeated binge eating followed by self-inducing vomiting. Her perceived image of her own body is disproportionate with reality. A healthy person that is 5’6” and 16 should normally be around 127 lbs. and Rene is only 98 lbs. She has admitted that it is a common occurrence for her to overeat and then induce vomiting at least once a week as well as claims that she is “fat” with an absurd fear of getting “fatter” (Argosy, 2009). Her disorder is most likely due to a self esteem issue related directly to her body shape and weight. The fact that she has amenorrhea is a bad sign that she has done this for a while and most likely has had a past of anorexia nervosa. Excessive exercise and loss of body mass is the common reason for the loss or slow of one’s menstrual cycle. It would be in her best interest to educate her on the dangers and complications of the disorder as well as set up a therapy and nutritional counseling session for her to understand better what is going on with her body. A good group therapy may help her to see she is not alone in her pain. It is important to boost her self esteem and help her see what she is missing and enjoy food. Often Prozac can help to reduce the binge episodes and even out her anxiety of being overweight as well (psychnet-uk, 2003). “ Vanessa Dahl Resources Argosy University. (2009). Module 6: Overview. Retrieved December 6, 2009, from, Retrieved December 6, 2009, from
  18. 18. Applied Psychology Continued Sam is an 18-year-old European-American man who says he is depressed. He is a college freshman at a small private university that is affiliated with a religious denomination. He is popular, athletic, and academically successful. During the interview, you are not aware of any of the “typical” precipitants for depression, so you wonder about biomedical or endogenous depression. He, however, tells you that he is gay and is afraid that when his parents find out, they will reject him. He thinks that his parents suspect that he is gay and that his father wants to talk to you to discuss his son’s depression. Sam says he does not want you to contact either of his parents. How would you respond to Sam? Would you contact his father? What factors would you consider in arriving at your decision? What would you deduce from the information you have gathered so far regarding possible causes for Sam’s depression? “I would let Sam know I was pleased that he was comfortable enough to discuss his homosexuality with me and let him know that he can trust me with that information. As he is legally an adult, that information is confidential. I will not be discussing anything against his wishes. I would also provide him with resources on how to come out to his family and support groups that can help him. I would also discuss with him where he felt his sexual preferences fit in with his religious beliefs as well as why he felt he would be rejected for his orientation. Sam being an adult has rights to his privacy and I would not discuss his sexual preference with his father. That is something Sam will have to do on his own. I would also not discuss Sam’s depression with his family as that would bring about too many opportunities for his parents to discover their son’s secret, which he obviously feels would be terrible. No one wants to be rejected for any reason, but when it is something you cannot control, it is even worse. Sam is depressed because he fears he will be persecuted and isolated from his family for being gay. He works hard to keep up his grades, athletics, and popularity which can only make him lonelier or set up more opportunities for rejection in the end. He is in a difficult place and needs someone to talk to.” Vanessa Dahl Resources Argosy University. (2009). Module 6: Overview. Retrieved December 6, 2009, from, Retrieved December 6, 2009, from http://www.psychnet-
  19. 19. Interpersonal Effectiveness Scenario Katherine is a 45-year-old African-American woman who comes to your office. She describes a history of childhood sexual abuse. She feels this greatly impacts her life and wants to move beyond its effects on her. She is feeling angry towards her parents and is concerned that her relationship with her daughter is being affected. She has been working as a dental hygienist for 15 years and gets along with her co-workers. She has, however, been passed over for a raise at work and wonders if her attitude is pervading her job. Katherine becomes tearful when discussing the sexual abuse but does not break down. She describes a healthy relationship with her sister and says has several friends on whom she relies for support. She is involved with her church and enjoys painting. She shares that she found painting therapeutic in the past but feels that this no longer is an effective channeling of her emotions. Katherine also discloses that she decided to seek therapy because, lately, she has become irritable and less interested in sex with her husband. In the fifth session, Katherine tells you that she has started talking to God again. She says she has not been attending church as much as she used to, but after she spoke with you last week, she felt compelled to return to church. She used to talk to God everyday but lost some of her faith when she started feeling sad. She says she has spoken to God everyday since the last session and is feeling great. She also had a vision of God visiting her and telling her everything would be fine soon. She tells you this occurred as she was falling asleep last night. Yesterday, she thought she heard someone calling her name, and she thinks it may have been God showing her the way. Is Katherine showing signs of a psychotic disorder? If so, what treatment options do you recommend? What cultural considerations would you keep in mind in the context of this case?
  20. 20. Interpersonal Effectiveness Findings “Katherine is showing signs of the psychotic disorder known as paranoid schizophrenia. Katherine has admitted to “hearing and seeing god.” In episodes of Paranoid Schizophrenia, hallucinations can occur in any of the senses, but patients tend to be particularly prone to have them in the dimension of hearing. A common sort of hallucination involves hearing voices of people who aren't there. The voices may be talking to them, about them, or talking at them, or even narrating like a sportscaster. They may even say terrible and critical things about them, or encouraging them to engage in dangerous activities. The person may not know who is speaking to them, or they may mistake the voice for God, an angel, a devil, an alien or even a dog. If her symptoms are that of paranoid schizophrenia then the best treatment for her is medication, therapy or a combination of the two. Medication has been proven to reduce the positive signs of schizophrenia as well as produce the maximum level of improvement. In the 1950s antipsychotic drugs made a scientific leap in the treatment and care of schizophrenia. It was found that an allergy medication, an antihistamine helped to reduce the symptoms of psychosis. In 1954 this drug, Thorazine, was approved for sale in the United States. Now there are new drugs known as atypical anti-psychotics. Psychotherapy is very helpful when used in combination with medication. There are a variety of forms of psychotherapy including insight therapy and two broad socio-cultural therapies, family and social therapy. Insight therapy is successful based on the amount of experience the therapist has with this type of psychosis. Family and Social therapy involve support from the family or the community. Katherine would benefit from the combination of a mild antipsychotic and a family therapy session. It is important for culture to be considered as some believe that communication with God is a religious experience and not a delusion related to a mental disorder. Billions of people do believe with all their being that there is a god and they can communicate with him. If something conforms to social and cultural beliefs, it can be dismissed as any form of delusion. Therefore, some religions see this type of experience that Katherine has had as a manifestation of righteousness and sanctity. This would depend on how bizarre the delusion is as to if it can be seen as an impairment of one’s mental capacity or a religious experience. If her church has a high belief in a shared delusion of speaking with the lord, then her peers would see her as being healthy and blessed while outsiders may view her as delusional and insane. Therefore, “psychosis is in the eye of the beholder”, as social process that may or may not make sense based on your society.” Vanessa Dahl References Argosy University. (2009). Maladaptive behavior and psychopathology. Retrieved August 7, 2009, from The Nature of Psychosis Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.,2007, Retrieved August 8,2009, from
  21. 21. My Future in Learning “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” – Helen Keller If I have learned anything about myself throughout my college experience, it is that I love to learn. As a human, there is already a natural curiosity and thirst to know more. I feel that I have a desire beyond that, to the point in which I need to comprehend fully, which I attempt to fulfill each day in everything I do. What I love the most about the field of psychology is the fact that there is always new information and additional updating that requires more education and more research. This ensures me that I will never run out of things to discover and I can indeed be a lifelong learner. I intend to increase my actual experiences as well, since it is one of the best ways to understand a subject and be successful in your trade. Another importance in gaining experience is to receive respect from others in my field and increase my chances of gainful employment in the career of my choice. I will increase my experience by volunteering with organizations which fit into my career path as well as conducting educational interviews with others in my professional field to determine the path I would best take to reach my goal. Merging my employment skills and volunteer experience with my education will permit me the familiarity with the skills necessary for my success in graduate school on the road to my Master’s degree to achieve an occupation in either clinical social work (MSW) or school psychology (M.ed).
  22. 22. Contact Me Thank you for viewing my ePortfolio. For further information, please contact me at the e-mail address below.