Exploration of the Presenting Problem in Clinical Practice

Defining and exploring the presenting problem of a client often lays the foundation for a positive treatment relationship and the beginning of an interpretive therapeutic inquiry. From a clinical perspective, the presenting problem is often manifested via a chief complaint, symptoms, a series of life stressors—which may be interpersonal or environmental in nature—or a combination of these variables. In this assignment—and predicated on a psychodynamic understanding you will thoughtfully describe your exploration of a client’s presenting problem. The assignment must include all of the following components:

I Describe the client’s presenting problem(s), background (i.e., pertinent identifying information) and provide a brief description of the agency where you will be providing clinical services to the identified client. No more than one page.

II Discuss how the following areas are contributing to your client’s presenting problem(s) and underlying issues: Client’s coping and help-seeking behavior(s) A. What did the client do to cope with his/her presenting problem(s)? B. How did the client perceive the cause of and solution to his/her presenting problem(s)? C. How is the perception of the presenting problem representative of early childhood dynamics or the client’s developmental history? D. What did the client do to alleviate his/her anxiety/anger/fear/pain in relation to the presenting problem(s)? E. How would you describe the client’s overall sense of self and others? F. What is the client looking for emotionally? G. What is your assessment of the client’s deficits and assets in terms of his/her coping and help-seeking behavior(s)? How does the client’s help seeking behavior represent a quest for a sense of mastery and competence? Provide some evidence for your response. III From an ecological perspective, discuss how the client’s presenting problem(s) may be reinforced or exacerbated by the presence or lack of environmental resources, stressful life transitions and/or maladaptive interpersonal and family processes. Your discussion should include references to psychodynamic theories (especially object relations). For example, the object relations concept of the good-enough parent or the holding environment may assist you in explicating how the identified client has coped with the presenting problem(s). You may also utilize Ego Psychology concepts and tenets however the paper should be focused on Object Relations Theory. The assignment must be typed and double-spaced. Maximum length: 8-10 pages. Please use APA style for citations and reference. The professional literature (i.e., required readings for the course) should be cited and infused throughout this mid-term assignment.

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