Theory Paper

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Theory Paper (100 pts.)

Maximum 5 pages

Due Date: Thursday, 11/16

Choose one of the theoretical approaches to psychotherapy covered in class that was interesting to you. Then, think of someone you know—such as a friend, acquaintance, family member, or co-worker—who is experiencing some type of personal problem and apply the theory to that person’s problem or situation. Use the basic principles of the theory to explain the person’s problem.

Your paper must include:

  1. Background information about the person—age, occupation, education, etc. Please remember to omit or change identifying information to protect the privacy of the individual.
  2. Description of the problem—tell about the person’s problem or situation (e.g., problematic personality characteristics, divorce, depression, anxiety).
  3. Brief summary of the theory—define the concepts and give a simple explanation of the basic principles you will be discussing.
  4. Application of the theory—give specific examples about the person’s personality, behavior, or situation and explain them using the theoretical principles. This is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the paper. You are to use basic concepts from the theory and apply them to the person’s problem. Here are some suggestions for how to approach this part of the paper:
  • a)Use the theory to explain WHY the person is thinking, feeling, or behaving in a particular way;
  • b)Use the theory to describe HOW you might try to help this person; in other words, you might pretend that you are his/her therapist; or
  • c)Do a combination of both a and b.

In general, the paper must be:

  1. Neatly typed and double-spaced
  2. Well-organized and well-written, with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation
  3. Within the page limit
  4. Turned in on time. The paper is due by the end of class on the due date. Papers received after class on that day will be considered late and 5 points will be deducted for each day the paper is late.

I don’t expect you to write a dissertation. Remember to be thorough, yet concise. Here’s a hint—it is better to discuss two or three ideas in depth than to give superficial coverage to a lot of different things. Always remember, when in doubt, COME AND SEE ME. I will be happy to go over outlines and drafts of papers with you BEFORE the due date. (PLEASE NOTE: Reading of drafts does not guarantee a particular grade on the paper).

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