Case Study — Approaches and Frameworks to Understanding Mental Health


The aim of this assignment is to provide you with the opportunity to explore the variety of approaches and frameworks to understanding mental health through application to a case scenario.

Read the Case Scenario: Ashleigh.
Write a short 3–5 page case study essay responding to the following questions:

  1. How might the various perspectives and approaches to mental health contribute to the EAP therapist Alan’s understanding of the situation. Specifically, refer to the Biological Interpretation from Lesson 2, the Social Science Theory Perspective from Lesson 3 and the Diagnostic frameworks of Lesson 4).
  2. How might these approaches result in different plans/goals for Ashleigh?
  3. Consider the strengths and limitations of drawing upon the different perspectives in Ashleigh’s

Case Scenario: Ashleigh
Ashleigh is a 25-year-old recent university graduate who left her family in Western Canada just 8 months ago in order to pursue a job in fundraising with a large company in Toronto. At first, the job and change was everything Ashleigh wanted. Her mid-sized home town would not have offered the sort of expanded and “high energy” experience she desired. She also wanted to live independently and believed her parents were overly controlling and protective of her. Now, 8 months into her new job, and one month before her employer’s probation review, Ashleigh makes an appointment with her company’s employee assistance program (EAP) for “help” 10 days before Christmas break. “My life is a mess. I can’t tell if I am going or coming.” The EAP counselor, Alan, sees an attractive, well-dressed, anxious woman carrying a bundle of papers. “These special event arrangements need to be completed in 3 days, along with the Christmas cards I want to get out in the mail and some parcels that have to get posted within 2 days or they won’t arrive back West in time. In addition, the guy I have been sub-letting a room from just told me he is breaking the lease and moving – so now I need to go apartment hunting in the middle of winter! On top of that, my co-worker has invited me to visit with him and his parents for Christmas in rural Quebec. And I haven’t baked any cookies or bought any gifts – and I can barely speak French so I better at least have some gifts.”Ashleigh stops to take a breath and then resumes, “And I didn’t tell you that I am tutoring on the side to earn some extra Christmas money. I can’t sleep because I am worrying about completing all this work and getting ready for Christmas and trying not to get fired – do you think that could happen? My thoughts are racing and I just can’t concentrate and get anything done. Where do I start? I am totally confused, and I don’t know what to do. Can you help?”

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