Danny’s case scenario

Danny is a 22-year-old college student, who has been brought into your office by his parents. Danny has agreed to let his parents be involved in his counseling. You first meet with Danny’s parents who explain to you that Danny has never been involved in counseling prior to this incident. They stated they felt his problems were not serious enough to bring him into counseling.

His mother reports that Danny can be the real life of the party and that most people find him very charismatic. She says that there was one incident in which Danny tried to harm himself due to a girlfriend cheating on him. She said that her husband felt that it was a pretty typical response for an adolescent. She said lately he has been staying up late playing video games and getting on the average of 2-3 hours of sleep per night. She said she worries about his lack of sleep but he doesn’t seem to show any signs that the lack of sleep is impacting his ability to function normally. He is currently getting all A’s in his college courses, but his recent incident has jeopardized his place at the university.

Danny comes into the office and explains to you that the whole incident is a big misunderstanding. He said to you that he doesn’t want to come to counseling because he is not crazy. He said his parents and the college administrators are requiring that he comes in for evaluation and commits to the recommendations of the counselor regarding if there is a need for therapy.

You ask him to tell you a little bit about the incident that caused him to come into your office. He explains to you that he really likes fast cars, but his parents don’t have a lot of money. He said he received a scholarship to a private university due to his outstanding grades. He said the only problem is that the other kids have a lot of money and can afford the items that he desperately wants but can’t afford. He said he saw another student leave his car running in the parking lot and went into the student center building. He said he was feeling like he was on top of the world and this was his golden opportunity to take that car for a spin. He said he had no plans for stealing the car, he was merely taking it for a test drive. When Danny came back to the building, campus security was interviewing the owner of the car. When he tried to explain to the other student and campus security he was taking it for a quick test drive, he was escorted into the building to talk to the administration. Since it’s a small private university, the student and administrators agreed not to press charges but he was placed on probation and had to commit to psych evaluation as well as following any recommendations made regarding therapy.

When you were speaking to Danny, you asked him if he was really trying to steal the car. He replies to you how dumb would he be to take the car back to the scene of the crime if he really had intended to steal the car. Then you ask him if he ever feels depressed. He says of course he does but he believes everyone has weeks or months where they just feel sad. You try to get him to engage further in the discussion, but he says he’s not here for you to diagnose him with depression. The session ends, now you need to figure out his diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

After reviewing the scenario answer the following questions:

Do we have enough information to make a diagnosis?
What other questions may you want to ask Danny?
Do you believe Danny when he says he just wanted to take the car for a spin and not steal it?
If you had to speculate on a possible diagnosis for Danny what would that diagnosis be? Why? Support your answer using the DSM and information from the scenario.
What type of treatment recommendations would you make for Danny? Why?
You may also research the psychological disorders, by reviewing an electronic version of the DSM-5 in CTU’s library. For more information on accessing the DSM-5 in the library please review How to Access DSM-5 and/or watch this video.

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