Counseling Children & Adolescents – Case Study

For child counseling to be successful, a broad range of factors must be considered. Individual cases can vary in a variety of ways, all of which can influence the child’s presenting problem and the effectiveness of different treatment approaches.

What is a Case Study – About the Assignment

A typical case study is a written narrative of some real-life event, situation, or experience centered in a problem or issue faced by a person, group of persons, organization, community, or even an entire society. Case studies are intended to test your understanding of important concepts and discover how to sharpen your intellectual skills of analysis, synthesis, evaluation, critical thinking and application. Cases add realism to the course and allow you to apply the concepts in a controlled setting while increasing your involvement in the material. In order to achieve the deepest possible understanding of the ethical particulars of an issue, a case study narrative is used to relate the case.

Assessment, Case Formulation, and Treatment Plan
review a case study of a teenager named Carly who is in counseling. Then, you will develop an assessment, case formulation, and treatment plan. You can use any format you choose to write up the assessment (see attached content guide for examples) but it should include, at a minimum, the following:

identification of the client’s presenting problem (you do not need to make a diagnosis but you can identify symptoms of particular disorders; review the Depressive Disorder Criteria page (attached) for some diagnostic criteria that may be useful)
identification of the child’s strengths and needs
identification of any relevant strengths and needs in the child’s family and community
description of how issues of culture and diversity (e.g. race, SES, gender, LGBTQ issues, family composition, immigration status) should be considered in working with the child and family
any barriers that you anticipate to the client achieving the treatment goals
a treatment plan that includes two goals and each goal should be followed by 2-3 objectives
The case formulation should be a concise narrative of at least 50 to 100 words which highlights key points about this adolescent. Please review the content guide on Case Conceptualization and Treatment Planning (attached) and follow the guidelines for writing goals and objectives. Remember that treatment goals should be personalized to the client and are broad outcomes, while objectives are specific, time-limited, attainable, and measurable.

Your entire paper should be about 3 pages in length. You do not need to reiterate the entire case study in your case conceptualization; just pull out the most relevant and important pieces of information.



Carly is a 17-year-old Latina girl who has just completed 11th grade. She recently presented for an intake at a counseling center. Carly’s mother explained to the counselor that Carly has changed in many ways over the last year. In particular, her symptoms have become more noticeable on a daily basis over the past month. She keeps to herself more than usual (e.g remains in her room, refuses to eat meals with the family) and sleeps from the time she comes home from school to dinner and then back to bed till morning. On weekends, she stays in bed all day. When she does have meals with the family, she does not eat much and appears to have lost 10 lbs or more over the past month. From her bedroom, her mother shared that she sometimes hears Carly crying but Carly will not let mother in to talk with her. Her mother has heard Carly on the phone with a friend last week saying she feels worthless and wishes she could escape how she feels.

Carly lives at home with her mother and a younger brother. Carly and her brother generally get along well but Carly has been more irritable with her brother in recent months, as evidenced by her snapping at him and telling him to leave her alone. Her parents both immigrated to the US from Colombia. Her father, who is separated from Carly’s mother, is a US citizen but Carly’s mother does not have legal status to live in the US. Carly has mentioned several times that she worries that her mother will be forced to return to Colombia.

Until recently, Carly has done very well in school, especially in math. Her grades have begun to decline since the middle of 11th grade. She is an excellent basketball player and, in the past, had expressed that she hoped to play in college someday.

Carly’s father, who lives nearby, was diagnosed with a chronic illness last year. He is often in pain and his disability makes it difficult for him to work. Since her father’s diagnosis, Carly has been reluctant to spend time with him. She told her mother that she feels guilty about avoiding him but cannot stand to see him in pain. Carly told the intake counselor that she feels hopeless about life when she thinks about her father and his illness.

Formerly outgoing and popular with her peers, Carly now avoids most social situations, stating that she prefers to be home alone. Her teachers report that she is less engaged in class and seems to be having trouble concentrating on her work. Carly reported to the counselor that she doesn’t see any point in making an effort in school because “none of it means anything anyway.”

Both of Carly’s parents have told the intake counselor that they are supportive of treatment and will do whatever it takes to help their daughter.

Sample Solution