The subject of this case study is a client called Jamal. He is a 15-yerar-old boy who has had thoughts of hurting himself. This happened when his parents caught him smoking in his room and he admitted that he didnt care anymore and wanted to die. Prior to this feeling, Jamal had episodes of depression for several months. He had an excellent academic record in his 9th and 1oth grade, which significantly declined in the 11th grade. He had difficulty fitting in and he associated himself with kids who took drugs and skipped classes. His depressive symptoms included; sad mood, decreased motivation, decreased energy, decreased concentration, and sleep difficulty. He cut his forearm with a razor and had fleeting thoughts of killing himself after breaking up with his girlfriend.
Jamals family members include; his mother, stepfather, 18-year-old older sister, and 11-year-old younger sister. His biological parents divorced while he was two years old and his mother remarried four years later. According to his mother, Jamals biological father was abusive towards her, but not towards the children. The divorce happened as a result of the father striking the mother while she was holding Jamal after she felt that the safety of her baby was being threatened. Though Jamal only had little contact with his biological father, he recently contacted him since he wanted to leave his current family and live with him in another state. But he was disappointed that his fathers response was noncommittal.
Jamals mother reports symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the abuse she suffered from Jamals Biological father and also from sexual assault in her adolescent years.
Jamal always had a distanced relationship with his stepfather, who was a retired police officer who highly valued order and discipline. He didnt agree with Jamals passion for acting and long hairstyle.
Jamals older sister suffered from bipolar disorder. Even though she had showed stability for the past two years, she had rough moments for several years and could not attend school regularly. Special treatment offered to her made Jamal feel that she was being treated unfairly.
Description of the problem
For several months, Jamal has suffered from depression. He had a dream of becoming an actor but later said that he did not see the point of going to school or studying. His academic performance drastically declined in the 11th grade, the point at which he could not take part in extracurricular activities, such as drama club that could have propelled him towards his dream. He admitted that he it was difficult for him to fit in and he walked with kids who took drugs and skipped classes. His depressive symptoms were as follows: sad mood, decreased motivation, decreased energy, decreased concentration, and difficulty in sleeping. Breaking up with his girlfriend made Jamal superficially cut himself on the forearm with a razor and have fleeting thoughts of killing himself.
After these episodes of depression, he admitted to his parents that he had thoughts of killing himself. This was after he was caught smoking cigarette in his room by his stepfather. His parents then opted for a mental health treatment for him.
Jamal also admitted that sometimes he feared sis stepfather when his temper rose. His stepfather forced him to cut hair and change his style of clothes after he was caught smoking. The stepfather was generally suspicious of mental health providers and viewed psychiatric symptoms as an excuse or a weakness. This enhanced Jamals depressive symptoms.
Jamal also felt that there was inequality in the treatment he got as compared to the one his older sister got. His older sister had been suffering from bipolar disorder, though she had been stable for the last two years.
The client is likely to be suffering from major depressive disorder. This diagnosis is based on Jamals reported experience and behavior as reported in the case study. Common symptoms of this disorder include; low mood that is persistent, low self-esteem, loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable. Another dangerous symptom associated to it is suicidal thoughts. In the Jamal Case Study provided, the boy is experiencing almost all symptoms associated with major depressive disorder.
Cognitive-Behavioral approach is the therapy chosen to help Jamal out his mental condition. This approach is more problem focused and is oriented on action. It treats given problems that are related to the already diagnosed disorder. The role of the therapist will be to assist Jamal in coming up with and practicing strategies that are effective in addressing the already identified goals and also to minimize the symptoms of the illness. This approach embraces a belief that symptoms and distress associated with them can be minimized through teaching of new skills of information processing and coping mechanisms.
This case study and the story of Jamal gives many clear insights as to what one can expect in a counseling process where a client is suffering heavy depression that is majorly related to the issues of the family.
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