Session 5 Assignment – Emma Case Study Psychology 205 – Abnormal Psychology (Psychopathology)


Session 5 Assignment – Emma Case Study

Psychology 205 – Abnormal Psychology (Psychopathology)

Text: Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology 7th Edition, Ronald J. Comer

Please read this case study and as your assignment, submit answers to the questions below.

Emma is a 24 year old pre-school teacher. She completed her undergraduate degree in elementary education 2 yrs ago. She did not want to work in a large school district and could not find a job in a smaller one, so she is currently working in a private pre-school. She teaches the 3 year old class. She generally likes her job, but reported that it is not what she wants to do for the rest of her career. She has been thinking about going to law school, but has not taken the LSATs or completed any applications. She reported that every time she thinks about applying she gets sad and stops thinking about it. She lives with a girlfriend in a center city apartment. Her salary does not cover all of her expenses, so her parents help her. Emma reported this makes her feel, “like a failure because she should be able to support herself.” Lately she has been going to work and coming straight home. She is often invited out, but in the last two months she has only accepted one invitation. When asked about her decrease in going to social events she said, “I’ll probably not be good company. No one would want to hang out with me, and I’ll probably embarrass myself somehow.” Emma also has been sleeping a lot more than she used to. Within the last month she has been sleeping 11-13 hours each night. Sometimes she naps after work, is up for an hour and then goes back to bed. She was late for work due to oversleeping 5 times in the last 3 weeks. Emma also has trouble concentrating at work. Recently, she got into an argument with a parent, and the educational director agreed with the parent and scolded Emma harshly. Emma can’t seem to “get over that.” She ruminates and constantly thinks about what the director said to her. The other day she told her roommate that, “she wasn’t meant to work with small children because she can never get anything right.” Emma reported that she has been feeling “miserable” since the argument. She reported that she is worried she is going to get fired.

About 6 months ago, Emma’s boyfriend, Mark, broke up with her. They had been dating for a year and a half. He told her he was not sure he loved her and he wanted to see other people. He also told Emma that he got frustrated with her because she made little effort to get to know his friends. When they would go out as a group, she would keep to herself, never really joining the conversation. When Mark confronted Emma she said, “Well, they don’t want to talk to me either. They are all doctors, lawyers, real teachers or business people with important jobs.” Since the break-up, Emma has not dated at all, though she has been invited out many times. She reported that she was heartbroken when Mark broke up with her, and six months later she remains “really bummed about it.”

Emma grew up in the suburbs. Her father is a partner in a medium-sized law firm, and her mother is a pilates and yoga instructor in a studio near the house where Emma grew up. Emma has a 20 year old sister and a 16 year old brother. Her sister is an undergraduate at an Ivy League university and lives at the school, and her brother is a star soccer player in high school and lives with their parents. Emma’s mother was worried about Emma and suggested she see a therapist for depression. She feels that Emma is stuck in a career that she really doesn’t want to be in, and that she would be much happier working as a lawyer. She also feels that Emma needs to “get over” her last relationship and start dating again. Emma and her mother fight about this, and Emma usually says something like, “I won’t find anyone like Mark.” Emma reported feeling “irritated”at her mother the last time they spoke. Emma’s father is supportive of Emma and generally stays out of the conversations about dating and her career.

Emma has never been to a therapist before. Her friend is a social worker in a hospital and suggested she see a therapist.

As your assignment, please answer these questions with a minimum of 2 sentences each.

  • What is Emma’s Diagnosis? Differential Diagnosis?
  • Based on the theories and techniques we have talked about, what treatment would you suggest might be beneficial to Emma?