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Practicum – Week 5 Journal Entry

Practicum – Week 5 Journal Entry

                                      Learning Objectives

Students will:

· Develop diagnoses for clients receiving psychotherapy*

· Evaluate the efficacy of therapeutic approaches for clients*

· Analyze legal and ethical implications of counseling clients with psychiatric 


                                             The Assignment 

Select a client whom you observed or counseled that suffers from a disorder related to trauma. Then, address the following in your Practicum Journal:

· Describe the client (without violating HIPAA regulations) and identify any 

  pertinent history or medical information, including prescribed medications.

· Using the DSM-5, explain and justify your diagnosis for this client.

· Explain whether any of the therapeutic approaches in this week’s Learning 

 Resources would be effective with this client. Include expected outcomes based  

 on these therapeutic approaches. Support your approach with evidence-based  


· Explain any legal and/or ethical implications related to counseling this client.

                                                  Learning Resources

Required Readings

Wheeler, K. (Ed.). (2014). Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: A how-to guide for evidence-based practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

  • Chapter      13, “Stabilization for Trauma and Dissociation” (pp. 469–508)

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2012a). Academic year in residence: Thompson family case study [Multimedia file]. Baltimore, MD: Author. 

Ochberg, F. (2012). Psychotherapy for chronic PTSD [Video file]. Mill Valley, CA:






Expert Solution Preview

Introduction: In this journal entry assignment, students are required to describe a client who is suffering from a disorder related to trauma, identify their pertinent medical history and explain and justify their diagnosis using DSM-5. They are also required to evaluate whether any of the therapeutic approaches mentioned in the learning resources would be effective with the client and explain the legal and ethical implications related to counseling them.

1. Describe the client and identify any pertinent history or medical information, including prescribed medications.

To comply with HIPAA regulations, I cannot provide real client information. Therefore, let’s consider a hypothetical client, John, who is a 35-year-old male. According to the information provided by John, he has a history of childhood trauma and has been experiencing nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and anxiety attacks. He has been prescribed anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications by his primary care physician.

2. Using DSM-5, explain and justify your diagnosis for this client.

Based on the symptoms and medical history provided by John, it can be concluded that he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for PTSD include exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence through direct experience, witness, or learning about the event; intrusive symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts; avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma; negative changes in mood and cognition, such as persistent negative beliefs and blame about oneself; and hyperarousal symptoms, including irritability, hypervigilance, and exaggerated startle response. John meets all the criteria for PTSD, and thus, the diagnosis of PTSD is justified for him.

3. Explain whether any of the therapeutic approaches in this week’s Learning Resources would be effective with this client.

There are different therapeutic approaches available for treating PTSD, and among them, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most widely used and effective treatment. The specific type of CBT recommended for treating PTSD is prolonged exposure therapy, which involves exposing the client to the memories and triggers associated with the traumatic event(s) in a safe and controlled environment, and helping them to process and cope with the anxiety and distress that arises during this process. Another effective therapeutic approach is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), which involves recalling the traumatic event(s) while following a visual or auditory stimulus that helps to desensitize the emotional response associated with those memories. Both CBT and EMDR have evidence-based literature to support their effectiveness in treating PTSD, and thus, they could be effective to alleviate John’s PTSD symptoms.

4. Explain any legal and/or ethical implications related to counseling this client.

As a medical professional, it is important to be aware of the legal and ethical implications of treating clients with psychiatric disorders, especially those who have a history of trauma. It is crucial to maintain confidentiality and protect the client’s privacy, as any breach of privacy can have legal consequences. Furthermore, the therapist must ensure that the client is fully informed about the nature and purpose of the treatment, the risks and benefits involved, and their right to refuse or stop the treatment at any point. In case the client exhibits any suicidal or harmful behaviors, it is the therapist’s ethical responsibility to report and provide necessary interventions to ensure the client’s safety. Lastly, the therapist must maintain a non-judgmental and empathetic attitude towards the client and respect their autonomy to make decisions about their treatment.

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