ll papers must only include the following main sections. Your paper should only have the following centered headings in order: Assessment Plan, Diagnostic Impressions, Case Conceptualization, Treatment Plan, and Discussion. You do not need a heading for the Introduction section. You may create personalized subheadings within the main headings that fit your paper and themes.
Provide a brief summary of the film and the central character. This should set up the rest of the paper and let me know that you have indeed watched the film. It needs to be thorough enough so the plot is clear, but focus on what’s important.
Introduce the main themes (and arguments) that will be explored (and justified) in the rest of the paper. Themes might include the role of specific factors in the person’s mental health difficulties (family, emotion regulation) and should be briefly introduced.
Formulate a plan for conducting additional assessment of the character.
When considering the psychological problems of the character that you observed in the film, what aspects or factors are important to know but were not presented or discussed in the film? Focus on what would help you better understand, diagnose, conceptualize, and treat the character. For example, perhaps the frequency or onset of symptoms were not discussed. Or maybe you don’t know much about the character’s family background.
Citing articles would be helpful here to show evidence that what you are assessing is indeed important. For example, if you want to know whether the character has a family history of bipolar disorder, provide a citation that shows that family history of bipolar disorder is related to the type of problem your character is experiencing.
Be specific. State concretely the information you would want, why it could be important, and how you would obtain that information. Discuss your methods. For
example, state the titles of self-report or interview measures you would use. They should be evidence-based. Make sure to cite them too!
Provide provisional and differential diagnoses (and justification). The following three sections are required subheadings within the Diagnostic Impressions heading.
Provisional Diagnosis. Which diagnosis or diagnoses would you give? Why? Please describe them and your justification for giving them by connecting specific character behaviors to each DSM-V criteria. Do this most thoroughly for the primary diagnosis. Do this systematically by stating the disorder, going through each symptom criteria of the disorder that the character meets (state the criteria), and providing supporting evidence from the film in the form of specific character actions, statements, and emotions. You must show that they meet the necessary criteria of the primary diagnosis. Summarize secondary diagnoses more briefly.
Differential Diagnosis. Which two diagnoses did you consider but rule out? Why? [Note: if you did not consider any other diagnoses, please describe at least two diagnoses that could have fit the client’s presentation and explain why you would rule them out]. Your reasoning must be clear and sensible. Look at the diagnostic criteria and explain which of the criteria is not met by the character. Common reasons for ruling out a diagnosis are that the duration of symptoms may not be met or that the symptoms are better accounted for by another diagnosis. Do not rule out a diagnosis because you don’t have enough information from the film.
Four Ds. For your character’s primary diagnosis/problem, discuss how it fits within each of the Four Ds (dysfunction, personal distress, etc.). That is, how do you know the problem is really a problem? Is it dysfunctional? Is it distressing? Explain how by noting specific examples from the film. If it doesn’t fit within one of the Ds, explain why. Identify which of the Ds is most related to the problem.
Explain how your character came to develop their presenting problems.
Organize and integrate case details to support your explanation of the presenting problems, i.e. the underlying dynamics/factors in the case. This is where you will provide your arguments as to factors influencing the client’s problems and evidence from the film to support your arguments. For example, how might the client’s family contribute to the development or maintenance of the problem? Or maybe genetics and biology played a major role?
You can describe factors that contributed to the initial development of the character’s main diagnosis and/or factors that contributed to the current state of their presenting problems as displayed in the film.
Look in your text to get inspiration as to the factors typically involved in the disorder. But make sure to investigate further by finding journal articles.
Approach the case from at least 2-3 perspectives and theoretical orientations (e.g., biological, cognitive, cognitive-behavioral, trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral, family systems, developmental psychopathology). Briefly describe the main tenets of the orientation and then apply it to explain the development of your character’s major psychological problems. Be thorough: provide examples showing how the theory/approach applies to the character. (Note: it may be difficult to approach the case from multiple perspectives. Don’t “stretch” too much so it doesn’t make sense.)
Should inform your treatment plan – i.e. don’t write about treatment here, but make sure contributing factors you cite here are targeted in the treatment recommendations
Present a hypothetical treatment plan for your character.
It should logically extend from your conceptualization.
The best work here will show discussion of specific treatment goals and techniques tailored to meet your character’s needs. Be thorough and descriptive in explaining how you would apply specific strategies in treating their presenting problems. Explain your work. For example, instead of saying that you would provide cognitive-behavioral therapy, discuss the specific cognitions and behaviors you would target and how you would target them.
Provide a very brief conclusion and summary of the highlights of your paper.
You have flexibility to address issues from the film you think are important, but return back to and expand on your main themes from the introduction.
Your discussion should address the film’s portrayal of mental illness and health by addressing the following questions:
Is mental health stigma present in the film? How much and how so? How do other people react to/around your character?
Is the portrayal of mental illness and/or treatment fair and realistic or is it exaggerated, sensationalized, or disrespectful? How so?
How might the film’s portrayal affect viewer attitudes toward mental illness?
Finding and Using Research Articles
You will need to cite and integrate at least five articles from peer-reviewed scholarly journals into your final papers.
For example, if your character has depression and parents who are very harsh toward him, you may want to discuss research in your case conceptualization showing the role of parenting in childhood depression (as long as the research is relevant to the character’s experience). Or you may want to support your treatment plan section by discussing findings showing the effectiveness of a treatment for a specific population schizophrenia.
The majority of your references must be from the past 10 years.
With few exceptions, all of your references should be relevant articles from peer-reviewed journals. Exceptions may include a very relevant article from a respected periodical, such as the New York Times. These should be used sparingly and purposefully. For example, you may wish to highlight how a certain mental health problem has gained attention in the mass media, such as citing a Time Magazine article on social anxiety.
Do not cite from websites or the Kring textbook. If you need to provide basic information (e.g., DSM-5 criteria), cite the primary source, such as the DSM-5 itself (make sure to cite/reference it properly – google the reference!) or an article that presents the information.
You will need to conduct literature searches to find articles that you will highlight in your paper. While you may be tempted to use Google or similar search engines, it will be faster for you to conduct your literature searches via academic search engines.
For example, you can access many articles through the MSU library website at www.montclair.edu/library. In Search Our Resources, click Articles and enter keywords to facilitate your search.
Another popular search engine is Pubmed (pubmed.com).
When you find articles helpful to writing your paper, you can also look in reference sections of those articles to identify other articles to read.
You may also look through online issues of important journals in the field. Relevant journals include the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Clinical Psychology Review, Journal of Anxiety Disorders, Depression and Anxiety, Behaviour Research and Therapy, and Addictive Behaviors.
How do I prepare my topic proposal?
Using an outline format, provide an overview of the film and main ideas/themes you will explore, consistent with the components described above. Your proposal (2-3 pages) should provide a clear understanding of the structure of your paper by identifying the main points in each section. You should think about how you would like to organize your paper, especially in terms of the order of information you will present. It may be helpful to identify additional subheadings that you will use in your paper to provide organization. Also, prepare the proposal as if I have not watched your film, which means you will need to be as clear and thorough as possible.
Provide at least three references that you intend to use in your paper. All references should be from peer-reviewed journal articles. In providing a list of references, please highlight for me the sections of your paper in which you will discuss these articles. It will be important for me to see that you have read through these articles already and have a clear understanding of how you will discuss them in your paper.
You should receive full credit for the proposal if you follow the above guidelines. Ways to lose points on the proposal include providing fewer than three references, not including main sections in your outline, and if it feels that you did not put forth sufficient effort.