Assessment of Adolescents

SOCW 61week 4 discussion 1 and 2

Week 4: Assessment of Adolescents

Adolescence is often one of the most difficult stages individuals experience in their lives. Think back to your own teenage years and consider some of the questionable choices you made at that time, or reflect upon some of your responses to situations that may now seem emotionally and hormonally driven. Given the nature of the developmental changes that occur during adolescence, it can be quite challenging for a clinician to assess what a client is actually experiencing. During the adolescent stage, teens will often exhibit behaviors that seem unhealthy, dangerous, and sometimes even pathological. A closer look at the current developmental stage of the client and the familial history may lead to a very different conclusion. Therefore, social workers need to be very thorough when assessing adolescents and take into consideration multiple factors prior to planning and intervening.

Learning Objectives

Students will: not a assingment

· Apply attachment theory to a case study

· Analyze attachment styles in adolescents

· Analyze developmental stages in adolescents

· Apply developmental theory to a case study

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Gutiérrez, L., Oh, H. J., & Gillmore, M. R. (2000). Toward an understanding of (em)power(ment) for HIV/AIDS prevention with adolescent women. Sex Roles, 42(7–8), 581–611.

Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

Springer, D. W., & Powell, T. M. (2013). Assessment of adolescents. In M. J. Holosko, C. N. Dulmus, & K. M. Sowers (Eds.), Social work practice with individuals and families: Evidence-informed assessments and interventions (pp. 71–95). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014a). Sessions: case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].

· The Bradley Family (pp. 17–19)

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014b). Social work case studies: Concentration year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].


· Working With Families: The Case of Brady (pp. 26–28)


Note: Depending on your concentration, you may not receive a case study book until a later term. Therefore, if you did not receive a copy of Social Work Case Studies: Concentration Year in your previous course, use the linked PDF provided here. If you did receive the book referenced above, you may find the cases there or use the PDF.

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2013a). Bradley family: Episode 2 [Video file]. Retrieved from

The Bradley Family Episode 2 

Discussion 1: Attachment Theory

The adolescent stage can be described as a time where there is a loss of innocence and a preentry into adulthood. A large part of being an adolescent is beginning that process of stepping out into the world and learning about oneself as a unique and autonomous individual. This movement out into the world is contingent upon the knowledge that this young person will have a safe and secure home to return to at the end of the day. If a traumatic loss or event has occurred in the adolescent’s life, there may be no safe base to which this individual can return. Attachment theory teaches us that a young person’s ability to attach/engage with peers, family, and other potential support systems is an important aspect of the developmental process. During the adolescent stage of development, assessing attachment styles is important because it provides a window into how the adolescent relates to others, which allows the clinician to choose the appropriate intervention.

1. Post a 1 hole page or more answer and support all of your written ideas with 2 APA citations and references per paragraph. Use the Learning resource in the work instructions as REFERENCES. Answer in an application of the attachment theory to the case of either Tiffani or Brady. Discuss the connection between his or her attachment style and the exhibiting behavior. For this Discussion, choose either the program case study for the Bradley family or the course-specific case study for Brady. This answer is for a Masters course not a Bachelors course.

Discussion 2: Developmental Stages

Understanding an adolescent’s behavior can be at times elusive and even frustrating. Due to the multiple aspects of the developmental tasks during these years, it can be at times quite challenging to clearly define the issue(s) at hand. Assessment during this stage will include an evaluation of whether an adolescent’s actions are indicative of unhealthy behavior or merely representative of being an adolescent. A comprehensive assessment that includes an evaluation of the client’s developmental stage is a priority when working with this age group.

1. For this Discussion, choose the opposite case from Discussion 1 and use Erikson’s developmental theory. Post a 1 hole page or more answer and support all your written I ideas with 2 APA citations per paragraph and references. Use the Learning Resources given in the work as REFERENCES. Write your answer with an assessment of whether the client is mastering the stage of identity. Identify the areas that should be addressed in an intervention based on his or her developmental stage. Describe how you might address those areas. This is for a Masters course not for a Bachelors course

Support your posts with specific references to this week’s resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.

Bradley Family Episode 2

Bradley Family Episode 2 Program Transcript

DOCTOR: Tiffany, what are you thinking?

TIFFANY: I was remembering being out on the street. I got in trouble for not make enough money. I don’t want to talk about it.

DOCTOR: That necklace is beautiful.

TIFFANY: Thank you. I think so. You really like it?

DOCTOR: Yeah, I do. I like your shoes, too.

TIFFANY: I like to shop. It makes me forget for a while, you know? You’re asking me to share my feelings about what’s going on, but it’s hard, you know. I’ve got so many feelings.

DOCTOR: Take your time.

TIFFANY: I miss Donald. I know I shouldn’t say that. He loved me, he really did.

DOCTOR: You also told me that he hit you and sold you to another pimp.

TIFFANY: Yes, but you don’t understand. The house where I was growing up, I never felt safe. My mother, she didn’t love me, not really. Like other girls I knew. There were other things, too. Someone in the family, he would abuse me sometimes. Nobody seemed to care, only Donald. He came along and he got me out of there. He was my boyfriend and he protected me.

DOCTOR: So you’re telling me all the positives he did for you, and how you felt safe with him and he loved you. Can we also talk about what you said he did that wasn’t so loving and kind? You were together for two years and there were a lot of things that happened during that time that weren’t very good for you. Can we talk about that?

Bradley Family Episode 2 Additional Content Attribution

MUSIC: Music by Clean Cuts

Original Art and Photography Provided By: Brian Kline and Nico Danks

©2013 Laureate Education, Inc. 1





Working With Families: The Case of Brady

Brady is a 15-year-old, Caucasian male referred to me by his previous social worker for a second evaluation. Brady’s father, Steve, reports that his son is irritable, impulsive, and often in trouble at school; has difficulty concentrating on work (both at home and in school); and uses foul language. He also informed me that his wife, Diane, passed away 3 years ago, although he denies any relationship between Brady’s behavior and the death of his mother.

Brady presented as immature and exhibited below-average intelligence and emotional functioning. He reported feelings of low self-esteem, fear of his father, and no desire to attend school. Steve presented as emotionally deregulated and also emotionally immature. He appeared very nervous and guarded in the sessions with Brady. He verbalized frustration with Brady and feeling overwhelmed trying to take care of his son’s needs.

Brady attended four sessions with me, including both individual and family work. I also met with Steve alone to discuss the state of his own mental health and parenting support needs. In the initial evaluation session I suggested that Brady be tested for learning and emotional disabilities. I provided a referral to a psychiatrist, and I encouraged Steve to have Brady evaluated by the child study team at his school. Steve unequivocally told me he would not follow up with these referrals, telling me, “There is nothing wrong with him. He just doesn’t listen, and he is disrespectful.”

After the initial session, I met individually with Brady and completed a genogram and asked him to discuss each member of his family. He described his father as angry and mean and reported feeling afraid of him. When I inquired what he was afraid of, Brady did not go into detail, simply saying, “getting in trouble.”

In the next follow-up session with both Steve and Brady present, Steve immediately told me about an incident Brady had at school. Steve was clearly frustrated and angry and began to call Brady hurtful names. I asked Steve about his behavior and the words used toward Brady. Brady interjected and told his dad that being



called these names made him feel afraid of him and further caused him to feel badly about himself. Steve then began to discuss the effects of his wife’s death on him and Brady and verbalized feel- ings of hopelessness. I suggested that Steve follow up with my previous recommendations and, further, that he should strongly consider meeting with a social worker to address his own feelings of grief. Steve agreed to take the referral for the psychiatrist and said he would follow up with the school about an evaluation for Brady, but he denied that he needed treatment.

In the third session, I met initially with Brady to complete his genogram, when he said, “I want to tell you what happens some- times when I get in trouble.” Brady reported that there had been physical altercations between him and his father. I called Steve in and told him what Brady had discussed in the session. Brady confronted his father, telling him how he felt when they fight. He also told Steve that he had become “meaner” after “mommy died.” Steve admitted to physical altercations in the home and an increase in his irritability since the death of his wife. Steve and Brady then hugged. I told them it was my legal obligation to report the accusations of abuse to Child Protective Services (CPS), which would assist with services such as behavior modifica- tion and parenting skills.

Steve asked to speak to me alone and became angry, accusing me of calling him a child abuser. I explained the role of CPS and that the intent of the call was to help put services into place. After our session, I called CPS and reported the incident. At our next session, after the report was made, Steve was again angry and asked me what his legal rights were as a parent. He then told me that he was seeking legal counsel to file a lawsuit against me. I explained my legal obligations as a clinical social worker and mandated reporter. Steve asked me very clearly, “Do you think I am abusing my son?” My answer was, “I cannot be the one to make that determination. I am obligated by law to report.” Steve sighed, rolled his eyes, and called me some names under his breath.

Brady’s case was opened as a child welfare case rather than a child protective case (which would have required his removal



from the home). CPS initiated behavior modification, parenting skills classes, and a school evaluation. Steve was ordered by the court to seek mental health counseling. One year after I closed this case, Brady called me to thank me, asking that I not let his father know that he called. Brady reported that they continued to be involved with child welfare and that he and his father had not had any physical altercations since the report.



5. What were the agreed-upon goals to be met to address the concern?

The goal was to find solutions to alleviate their frustrations and the discord in their relationship.

6. Did you have to address any issues around cultural compe- tence? Did you have to learn about this population/group prior to beginning your work with this client system? If so, what type of research did you do to prepare?

I was aware and sensitive to the fact that they were a gay couple. I was cognizant of the possible biased reactions they might have received from administrators at Jackson’s school and their surrounding community. I inquired into their interactions with the adoption agency and the school to get a sense of any nega- tive interactions that might have impeded service delivery. I also suggested a support group for lesbian and gay couples who adopt.

7. How would you advocate for social change to positively affect this case?

I would advocate for better education for foster and adoptive parents on the resources they may be eligible to receive.

8. How can evidence-based practice be integrated into this situation?

Using weekly scaling questions would be one way in which evidence-based practice could be implemented.

Working With Families: The Case of Brady 1. What specific intervention strategies (skills, knowledge, etc.)

did you use to address this client situation? I used structural family therapy, particularly the use of a geno-