Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Case Study of a 17-Year-Old Female

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Chase, Kaitlinn D.
Washburn University
Psychology Department
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The following is a de-identified case study that presents the treatment process and outcome for Jenny, a 17-year-old female with a primary diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder. Names and other details of the case have been changed to ensure client confidentiality. Jenny is a high school student residing in a midsize city in Midwest America. Jenny was seen at a community mental health center for therapy and was occasionally accompanied to session by her adoptive mother (who will be referred to as ‘mother’ henceforth). Jenny presented with moderately severe anxiety symptoms that caused her significant distress. Jenny’s anxiety often manifested initially in negative cognitions, followed by emotional outbursts, irritability, uncomfortable physiological sensations, and avoidant behaviors. The therapist utilized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), an empirically supported and highly effective treatment of anxiety for adolescents. To best conceptualize Jenny’s case and increase the likelihood of treatment progress, the therapist reviewed relevant psychological literature and gathered information pertaining to Jenny’s biological, psychological, social, and medical history. This case study reviews scholarly literature relevant to Jenny’s case, and the processes of clarifying diagnosis, developing treatment goals, applying interventions, and discussing barriers to treatment. A complete therapy session transcription is included to illustrate client engagement and insight, as well as how the therapist utilized CBT interventions in-session. The transcript is followed by a self-critique of therapist’s strengths and areas for improvement. Jenny was engaged, cooperative, and compliant with completing homework throughout her treatment. After eight sessions, Jenny’s self-reported anxiety score on a validated measure showed decreased anxiety symptoms, and she reported minimal life interference.
An Empirically Supported Treatment Case Study