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Developmental Influences and Considerations Application

Research has shown that for most people, problems associated with addiction often begin during adolescence. The unique developmental processes of this stage put individuals at a higher risk for substance misuse, and can have long-term detrimental effects on both substance and behavioral regulation. Research also indicates that challenging life experiences—such as abuse or traumatic loss—also increase risk of addiction, though not with the same impact across the lifespan. What developmental considerations might aid a counselor in better understating the role and impact of developmental stage on addiction?

For this Assignment, please select one of the three clients from the case studies provided in the Learning Resources this week.

Complete a 3- to 4-page paper in which you do the following:

  • Provide a brief conceptualization of the client, including developmental considerations.
  • Identify at least two risk factors relating to client’s developmental stage, and how you might address these using stage-focused interventions and goals.
  • Describe how a developmental lens can inform your efforts to effectively facilitate assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • Justify your response with specific references to this week’s Learning Resources and the current literature
  • Marisa (Young Adult)

    Marisa is an 18-year-old lesbian-identified female of Hispanic American heritage. She has been referred to you by her college advisor following a consultation about her academic struggles and noticeable weight loss since earlier in the school year. In your first meeting with Marisa, she appears anxious and hesitant to discuss her challenges, repeatedly telling you, “My problems are no different from anyone else’s.” Marisa does admit that she has felt out of place at school, and feels pressured to fit in with “all of the pretty, rich girls;” she is also hoping to pledge a sorority before the end of the year.

    Marisa was raised by a single mother in a middle-class neighborhood, and she had little contact with her biological father during childhood. Her mother was married briefly to a man Marisa describes as a “fat, selfish jerk,” and their divorce was contentious. Marisa describes her mother as a “strong, beautiful role model” and states that she misses her mother very much. She admits that her mother was a very restrictive parent, and that Marisa had very little freedom growing up. Her mother was also somewhat critical and controlling, though Marisa quickly rationalizes those behaviors by saying “she just worried about me a lot.” Marisa also shares that her biggest fear at school is letting her mother down—her mother has repeatedly stressed the need for Marisa to focus on rushing a sorority, and being sure not to “fall victim to the Freshman 15.”

    As Marisa slowly opens up, she admits to you that she has been using cocaine “occasionally,” which she easily gets from her roommate. She emphatically denies that she has a “problem,” although does admit that she sometimes uses cocaine several days in a row when she needs to stay awake to study or to work her part-time job. Marisa also likes that cocaine controls her appetite, and she acknowledges that she’s lost a significant amount of weight (approximately 20 pounds) since the beginning of the school year. She adds, however, that “everyone tells me how good I look.”

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