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PSYC 3386 Theoretical Application Paper
This paper allows you to select a theory we covered in class and apply it to a hypothetical
client. In 2-3 double-spaced pages, describe the theory using key terms, explain why you
chose this theory, and apply it to your client. Below are three hypothetical cases. You will
select one of them for your paper.
Fernando is a 44-year-old Mexican, heterosexual male high school principal. He and his
partner have two kids, ages 11 and 13. He came to therapy because he is having trouble
coping with his mother’s death six months prior. His mother has been a consistent source of
emotional support; he states that “she supported me when no one else did.” In the past few
months, he reports intense anxiety, sadness, sleeping problems, and anger, problems that he
feels are increasingly becoming worse. He even struggles to believe in himself since she
passed away. He reports that spending time with family used to be “my favorite thing in the
world” but sometimes he cannot relax and enjoy it.
Katy is a 25-year-old White, bisexual female legal secretary. She comes to therapy due to
conflicts in her long-term relationship. She reports that she constantly feels exhausted due to
work pressures, and this leaves her with little energy for her partner or their three-year-old
daughter. She feels “miserable” and “guilty” that she is missing out on time with her daughter
and that her partner has to take more responsibility. However, she still “cannot say no” to her
boss and wants to be the “best employee.” She leaves work tired and irritable, which leads to
constant arguments with her partner, and she is worried about their relationship ending.
Julie is a 17-year-old African American, heterosexual female student. Her parents are going
through a divorce. They brought her into therapy because they are worried that she does not
communicate how she is feeling and has become increasingly withdrawn. She used to be a
straight A student but is now struggling in her classes. Julie tells you in the first session that
she is concerned about her parents because “they seem sad all the time.” She worries that if
she expresses any “negative emotion,” she will make them feel worse. She tells you that she
“turns my feelings off” to protect her parents.
The paper will be worth 10 points, or 5% of your course grade. You will be graded according to
the following bulleted questions within each number:
1. Theory (2 points)
Each theory should include an explanation of a) theory and b) application (#3 below). If
you are confused about which is which, please refer to the lecture objectives slide.
• Is your theory correctly described with at least two key terms? Define your terms,
rather than just stating them.
2. Intentionality and rationale (2 points)
Explain why you chose this theory (e.g., personal experience or philosophy, evidence
base, relates to population you want to work with, relevant for client, etc.)
• Do you provide at least two reasons for selecting this theory/application, including
at least one about why this application may be useful your client (e.g., this
approach has been demonstrated to be effective with client’s presenting issue(s),
client’s personal traits may work well for this type of treatment, specific application
you chose would benefit client, etc.)?
3. Application (3 points)
• Do you explain at least one application (e.g. free association, systematic
desensitization) in a way that an adult who has never heard of this approach
would understand?
• Did you explain how you are implementing this application with this client
specifically (e.g., statements you would make as a therapist)?
• Do you discuss at least one multicultural issue that may be relevant in applying
this theory to your client?
4. Writing and confidentiality (3 points)
Paper guidelines are 2-3 double-spaced pages. Also, your introduction should start
broad, then narrow into your topic like a funnel. You do not need a concluding
paragraph, but you need at least one sentence that summarizes the paper.
• Is your paper 2-3 double-spaced pages, 12 point font, Times New Roman, with a
clear introduction and conclusion?
Proofread your paper for errors. I also encourage you to have someone else read it, like
the Writing Center, Academic Skills Center, or a fellow student.
• Is your paper mostly free of grammatical errors?
In your paper, do not use client’s name so you can practice confidentiality; instead, use
either “client” or first initial.
• To practice confidentiality, did you only use the term client or first initial in your
paper?

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