University of British Columbia Somatic Symptom Disorders Presentation

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Assignment: Somatic Symptom Disorders

Individuals with somatic symptom disorders tend  to have considerable difficulty with how they experience and appraise  their bodily symptoms. The illness and the dysfunctional focus and  behavior around the illness can assume a central role in the person’s  life.

Somatic symptom disorders were originally  thought of as “hysterical,” without legitimate medical causation, or as  hypochondriasis. Though thinking has changed, negative judgments about  unfounded illnesses can still be attached to individuals with these  disorders. The boundary between medical and emotional problems can be  further blurred. In some cases, an individual labeled with one of these  illnesses may simply be experiencing a developing medical condition that  has not yet been well defined. For all of these reasons, social workers  need to take particular care in diagnosing somatic symptom disorders  and in providing a fully biopsychosocial and multidisciplinary approach.

In this Assignment, you describe what that approach might look like for one client.

To prepare: 

  • Imagine that Jennifer Brea, whose TEDTalk (TED Conferences, LLC,  2016) you watched, is referred to you for ongoing supportive therapy  when her psychiatry consultant decides that she does not have a  conversion disorder. Despite the psychiatrist’s opinion, her primary  care physician ignores that consult and labels Jennifer with the  conversion disorder anyway. Be sure to investigate what the ‘conversion’  diagnosis means when responding.
  • Record your presentation using Personal Capture (record audio,  video, and screen). See Kaltura Media Uploader in left-hand navigation  menu in course for directions on recording and uploading media.

By Day 7

Submit a 5-minute recorded PowerPoint (5–7 slides) in which you address the following: 

  • Explain in a concise professional manner how you would conduct your  first meeting with Jennifer. Identify specific steps you would take to  understand her circumstance and needs.
  • Explain how you would proceed with her medical team in terms of advocacy for her as a client believed to have this condition. 
  • Explain why you would need to take a biopsychosocial approach to her ongoing care.
  • Explain what social, family, vocational, Internet, and medical  supports you would explore to help with her longer-term stabilization.
  • Analyze the controversy in diagnosing a mental disorder based on  unexplained physical symptoms. Within your analysis, consider how power  and privilege influence who provides the diagnoses and which groups are  more likely to be diagnosed with certain disorders. Explain your  thoughts on this debate. 

The ted talk link is below:

https://www.ted.com/talks/jennifer_brea_what_happe…

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