Discuss three different approaches for the case study of Darren and Joy: Couple counselling , Family therapy or Group counselling for those with gambling concerns. Counselling assignment

Discuss three different approaches for the case study of Darren and Joy: Couple counselling , Family therapy or Group counselling for those with gambling concerns. Counselling assignment

Module / Subject / School:


Assessment 2-Critical Essay on Case Study – Couples, Families or Group Counselling

Word count: 4000 words (±10%)

Weighting: 50%

Presentation requirements: APA 7 referencing and formatting for both assessments.


Details of Case Study:

Darren (52) and Joy (37) are a re-married couple with their first baby who is 9 months old. They have been married for 4 years. Darren has been previously married with two children Tom (15) and Sarah (13) who both visit every second weekend. Their mother Sandy is dating and looks forward to having these child-free weekends. Joy divorced from her first marriage in her 20’s without children from that relationship.

The baby has settled well into a routine, and Joy would like to return to her part time job. Joy’s mother Penny (68) has recently come over from Malaysia and is planning on living with them for 12 months as she is grieving the loss of her husband who died a year ago. Joy is really pleased that her mother can help out with the care of the baby and help facilitate her return to work but Darren is not keen on it. Darren’s family reside in the UK.

Tom is having learning problems at school and was in trouble for stealing some money from his mother, Sandy. As a result, Sandy feels that Tom should stay with his father every weekend, to allow them to have more time together doing “male bonding” activities. Sarah is quite precocious and spends a lot of time communicating on social media. Joy feels that Sarah’s dress is quite “tarty” and that she is too interested in her looks and appearance and not spending much time on her studies. Darren thinks that Joy is too uptight and needs to take things more easily with Tom and Sarah.

Darren and Joy find themselves getting into heated arguments recently, due to all of these issues. When arguments occur, Darren usually withdraws into his study and nothing seems to get resolved. During COVID-19 Darren was working from home and Joy noticed that Darren was spending an increasing amount of time watching sports and engaging in sports betting. Joy wants Darren to step up and be more involved in his children’s lives. Penny, Darren’s mother-in-law, has noticed Darren escapes into his study as the tension and conflict escalates in the home and she is worried about the impact this is having on her daughter.

Your task:

While individual counselling is a common first choice, Darren is keen to find out about what other counselling approaches might offer.

Discuss three different approaches for Darren:

  • Couple counselling OR
  • Family therapy OR
  • Group counselling for those with gambling concerns

Use the following questions to structure your essay in relation to the case study above.

  1. Critical analysis of couples counselling, family counselling and counselling groups. Provide an evidence-base for each approach (couples, family and group) approach that might be helpful for developing different goals for the presenting issues. Your evidence-base should be drawn from theories and peer-reviewed empirical literature. In the context of the case study, outline the goals, benefits, limitations and possible risks of each approach. [15 marks]
  2. Draw a genogram for the family representing who is in it and use symbols to represent their different relationships, including their (emotional relationship). [10 marks] Discuss who you might include for the different approaches and discuss reasons for your decisions, the similarities and differences in establishing therapeutic relationships in couples, family and group counselling. How would you go about engaging more than one person in counselling? How would you engage children or teenagers who might be reluctant to attend family counselling? [10 marks]
  3. Application of counselling skills for ONE approach. Choose FIVE micro counselling skills from the list below and give an example of how you would use each skill for the case study. Give a brief definition of the FIVE skills that you will apply and identify which approach you are working. [10 marks]
    • Probing questions
    • Advanced empathy
    • Exception questions
    • Scaling questions
    • Challenging
    • Externalisation
    • Circular questions

4. Tailoring counselling to the ONE approach. Briefly describe why tailoring therapy is critical to therapeutic outcomes. Discuss how you would tailor the chosen counselling approach to address cultural and diversity for this case study. [5 marks]

5. Counselling skills to explore and manage ethical issues. It has been several months since the family has stopped receiving counselling at your agency. Joy’s mother Penny has noticed that Tom seems to be sharing photos of Sarah in revealing attire on his phone. Joy phones your agency and asks for help with this issue. Discuss how you would work therapeutically with any potential ethical issues. [5 marks]

6. Presentation Academic writing style that is well-structured, coherent and well expressed with no/minor grammatical errors. APA 7 style –in-text citations, referencing, font type (Arial, Times Roman, Cabrini); 1.5-double spacing, include a title page. [5 marks] See APA resource in the resource folder

What we score:


Our Writer’s Comment 

This assignment tests students on their understanding of the counselling approaches.

Based on the assignment requirements provided, here are some comments to help students score well on this assignment:

To excel in this critical essay, it’s crucial to approach the case study with depth and clarity. Here’s how you can structure and address each section effectively:

1. Critical Analysis of Approaches:

  • Couples Counselling: Begin by discussing how couples counselling might address Darren and Joy’s issues, considering their communication, conflict resolution, and adjusting to their roles as parents and step-parents.
  • Family Therapy: Analyze how family therapy could address the complex dynamics involving Tom, Sarah, Penny, and the new baby. Consider how family therapy might help navigate blended family challenges, parenting roles, and intergenerational relationships.
  • Group Counselling for Gambling Concerns: Examine how group counselling could address Darren’s gambling behavior. Discuss the potential benefits of group support, sharing experiences, and accountability.
  • Evidence-Base: Support your analysis with theories and empirical literature. Reference reputable sources that highlight the efficacy of each approach for similar issues.

2. Therapeutic Relationships and Engagement:

  • Genogram: Create a genogram representing the family members and their relationships. Use symbols to denote emotional relationships. This will provide a visual aid for your discussion.
  • Engagement Strategies: Discuss who you’d include in each approach and explain your choices. Compare and contrast how therapeutic relationships are established in couples, family, and group counselling. Address engaging reluctant children/teens and multiple participants.

3. Application of Counselling Skills:

  • Choose ONE Approach: Select one of the three approaches and clarify your choice.
  • Micro Counselling Skills: Choose five micro counselling skills (from the list provided) that are relevant to the chosen approach. Briefly define each skill and provide an example of how you would use it in the case study context.

4. Tailoring Counselling to the Approach:

  • Tailoring Therapy: Explain the importance of tailoring therapy to meet individual and cultural needs. Discuss how you’d adapt the chosen approach to respect cultural diversity in the case study.

5. Exploring Ethical Issues:

  • Ethical Issues: Address Joy’s concerns about Tom sharing inappropriate photos of Sarah. Discuss the ethical concerns involved in this situation.
  • Therapeutic Approach: Outline how you’d approach this ethical issue therapeutically. Emphasize open communication, boundaries, and potential family interventions.

6. Presentation and Writing Style:

  • Well-Structured Content: Ensure your essay flows logically from section to section. Each section should have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Coherence and Expression: Write in a clear, coherent manner. Your ideas should be easy to follow, and your expression should be concise.
  • APA 7 Style: Accurately use in-text citations and references following APA 7 guidelines. Properly format your paper, including font type, line spacing, and title page.

By addressing each section comprehensively and incorporating relevant theories and evidence, you’ll create a critical essay that showcases your understanding of different counselling approaches and their application in a real-world context.

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