PSYC 4050 Alternative Writing Activity

This activity is designed to assist students who are interested in a particular topic more than it can be covered in class, those who do not test well, and those that learn better by doing than listening and reading. The activity will replace the lowest test score in the class and is dues the last day of regular lecture in the course, not final exams week. If you want to do this activity, it is recommended that you begin no later than after the second exam score is returned and the instructor must approve your topic in advance. The activity is as follows:

You are a compassionate and scientifically trained practicing psychologist (or psychiatrist, social worker, counselor, nurse practitioner specialist) working for a community mental health center that has a comprehensive program. It includes an inpatient hospital unit, an outpatient program, drug and alcohol treatment programming, partial hospitalization program, a residential program, and a 24-hour hotline for emergencies at the child, adult, or geriatric levels. You have just finished seeing a patient who you diagnosed as having his or her first episode of a __________ disorder. The patient and family has asked you to explain to them what is going on for the client and what to expect.

You decide to respond to this situation by writing them a full 8-page scientific APA styled yet compassionate report about the condition and its prognosis based on what you know about it and the patient so that they can refer to the report for clarification and understanding in the future. You are also aware that the family is suffering pain, uncertainly, and anxiety for the client's well-being, so you realize that your letter must be written in a compassionate as well as scientifically accurate mode.

Whether or not you receive credit for the assignment is based on how comprehensively you cover the specific areas presented below, how well-grounded your responses are in the evidence presented by the literature and lecture, and how compassionately you articulate this information while maintaining a professional tone. The "rubrics" of the process are as follows:

Page 1: Treatment Philosophy: This page covers your credentials, experience with helping people with this condition, and your general philosophy of treatment.

Page 2: Diagnosis: Describe the symptoms you found while interviewing the client and how they helped you make a diagnosis using the DSM. Include whether or not there are comorbid factors to consider, such as drugs, anxiety, depression, or personality disorders, as well as positive and negative factors that may affect treatment, such as employment, past history, etc. Be sure to identify another diagnostic possibility you could have used that fits the symptoms and why you did not.

Page 3: Causes: Write a two page explanation of psychology's best current understanding of what causes of the condition based on the best evidence we have to date. You may also include an alternative understanding, especially if we do not know much about the condition. Be sure to use sources outside of as well as the lecture and texts. 2

Page 4: Treatments: Present two pages on the types of treatment typically offered for this condition. Then identify which one you would consider to be the treatment of choice and why. Be sure to include what you think the likely prognosis for this particular client will be and why.

Page 5: Additional Factors: Describe how family, social, employment, financial, and legal issues often associated with the condition may be additional factors to consider given your patient and his or her family situation.

Page 6: References: You should be citing material from the lecture, texts, and outside readings throughout this paper. Although you do not need to worry about abstracts, title pages, headers, and so on, you do need to stick to APA page formatting and APA style for your references.


A = Exemplary work in all six areas. Because this is an alternative or makeup activity that replaces a low grade, an A paper is exceptional enough to stand as an example or model paper without errors of omission or commission.

B = Very good work: Again, because it may replace a test score, a B paper is very good in all six areas.

C. Good work: Errors involving inaccurate or missing but important information found in the course in two areas of the paper.

D. Poor work: Errors involving inaccurate or missing but important information found in the course found in three or more areas of the paper.

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