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Individual Psychotherapy Essay
Individual Psychotherapy Essay

The patient is a 38-year-old white woman, a single mother of 4 children, lost her husband two years ago due to a car crash. She lives with her children in a two-bedroom apartment and works as nursing assistance in a nearby hospital. She does not have enough money to pay her bills, care for her children, and herself. She finds herself worrying excessively, finding it difficult to sleep, unable to concentrate, crying occasionally, and now start to neglect her hygiene. She was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a year ago and takes metformin 500mg two times daily. Individual Psychotherapy Essay

Using the DSM-5, explain and justify your diagnosis for this client.
Discuss cognitive behavioral theory and its relevance in individual psychotherapy
Explain whether cognitive behavioral therapy would be effective with this client. Include expected outcomes based on this therapeutic approach. Support your approach with evidence-based literature.
Explain any legal and/or ethical implications related to counseling this client.
Individual Psychotherapy


The client a 38-year-old white female and a single mother of four children presented with complaints about excessive worrying, sleep problems, concentration difficulties, crying spells, and neglecting personal hygiene. The client reported that she lost her husband two years ago and is experiencing financial difficulties. This paper will make the diagnosis for the client and discuss the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy for the client. Individual Psychotherapy Essay

Diagnosis for the Client

The diagnosis for this client is major depressive disorder and anxious distress. According to the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, major depressive disorder is typified by symptoms like sleep problems, concentration difficulties, lack of appetite, sadness, excessive worrying, tearfulness, lack of energy, social withdrawal, suicidal thoughts, and lack of interest in once pleasurable activities. The client exhibits more than five of the symptoms associated with the major depressive disorder and therefore the justifies the diagnosis. (American Psychiatric Association, 2015). Anxious distress is characterized by extreme distress, lack of concentration and constant worrying. The client manifests constant worrying about lack of finances to pay her bills and take care of her children and this justifies the diagnosis of anxious distress (American Psychiatric Association, 2015). Individual Psychotherapy Essay

Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) in Individual Psychotherapy

CBT is a psychotherapy model that hypothesizes that emotions, feelings, and behaviors of people are influenced by how they perceive events. What determines how an individual feels; is how an individual construes a situation and not the situation itself. The negative thinking patterns are the cause of negative feelings and negative behaviors for an individual experience. Therefore, using CBT, a therapist can help a person identify the negative and maladaptive thinking patterns and modify these thoughts into more positive ones(Vallury et al., 2015). For example, a person with depression has a negative thinking pattern regarding the self, future, and the world and this leads to a cycle of negative automatic thoughts. CBT can be used to change the negative thinking pattern into a more positive thought pattern by explaining to the client how the negative thinking pattern affects the mood and the behavior of a person. The therapist inspires the individual to view life events more positively and adopt a more positive thinking pattern.

Efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT would be an effective therapy for the client. CBT helps to modify the thinking pattern of an individual and this consequently modifies the mood and the behavior of an individual. Therefore, CBT would help the client to identify the negative thoughts and how she responds to stressful and depressing situations such as losing a loved one and financial difficulties (Driessen &Hollon, 2015). Individual Psychotherapy Essay

In addition, CBT will help the client to analyze how her thoughts affect her feelings, actions and mood and her perception regarding the world. CBT will also equip the client with constructive skills on how to handle stressful situations to eliminate or decrease the resulting distressing behavior. A study by Twomey et al (2015) demonstrated the efficacy of CBT in improving depressive and anxiety symptoms, and this illustrates the efficacy of CBT for this client.


Furthermore, through CBT clients learn how to identify spontaneous thoughts, series of situations and how one responds to the situations (Vallury et al., 2015). The thoughts and beliefs are evaluated until the person stops having strong negative beliefs and adapts a more positive and healthy thinking pattern. Therefore, it is expected that through CBT, the depressive and anxiety symptoms would reduce for this client. This is because through CBT, the negative thinking pattern for this client would be replaced by a more healthy and adaptive thinking pattern and the client will also gain coping skills and resiliency to cope with stressful situations in life (Twomey et al, 2015). Individual Psychotherapy Essay

Ethical and/or Legal Implications

The client has ethical and legal rights that should be protected by the therapist. The legal and ethical rights of the client consist of the right to get the appropriate treatment, confidentiality, autonomy, and informed consent. Before the assessment and treatment, the therapist ought to seek informed consent from the client. The therapist should also respect the decision the client makes about her treatment (Bellesheim, 2016). Moreover, the privacy and confidentiality of the client should be respected and thus the therapist should not disclose any information shared during the therapy.


The diagnosis for this client is major depressive disorder and anxious distress. According to CBT, emotions, feelings, and behaviors of people are influenced by how they perceive events. Therefore, the thinking pattern of an individual significantly influences their behavior. CBT, therefore, focuses on altering the negative thinking pattern, into a healthy and adaptive thinking pattern. In conclusion, CBT would be effective for this client as she would be taught to adopt a more positive thinking pattern and gain coping skills and resiliency to handle life’s distressing events. Individual Psychotherapy Essay


American Psychiatric Association. (2015). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.


Bellesheim K. (2016). Ethical Challenges and Legal Issues for Mental Health Professionals Working with Family Caregivers of Individuals with Serious Mental Illness. Ethics &Behaviour, 26(7), 607-620.
Driessen E &Hollon S. (2015). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Mood Disorders: Efficacy, Moderators and Mediators. Psychiatr Clin North Am, 33(3): 537–555.

Twomey C, O’Reilly G &Bryne M. (2015). Effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety and depression in primary care: a meta-analysis. Family Practice, 32(1), 3–15.

Vallury K, Jones M & Chloe O. (2015). Computerized Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Anxiety and Depression in Rural Areas: A Systematic Review. JMIR Publications, 17(6). Individual Psychotherapy Essay

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