Case Study assignment: Case Study of Tessie


For this Case Study assignment, you will begin by reviewing the case study of a three-year-old child named Tessie, whose mother has come in for an assessment of trauma.  Please refer to the below listed readings and the CANS assessment tool:





Case Study of Tessie

Consider this case study of a 3-year-old girl, named Tessie.  In this scenario, you are the counselor who will meet with Tessie’s mother, Barbara, who was referred to your agency to treat Tessie and the family following the opening of a child protective services case on the family.  This is the only information you have on Tessie, her mother Barbara, and their family:

Barbara had noticed a rash on Tessie’s genital area that would not go away for several months and so she took Tessie to the doctor. The doctor took an STD test, found it to be positive, and called CPS. Barbara was stunned knowing that no men had been near Tessie. She half thought it must be the devil’s work.

Barbara is a single mother with four children living in their two-bedroom apartment in Washington Heights, NY: Tessie, 3; Hector, 16; Etan, 17; and Victor, 19. Barbara has been depressed and does not keep up with the home or with her own self-care since the father of the three older children left the family eight years ago. Tessie’s father has not been involved with the family.

CPS required the three sons to be tested for STDs as none would admit to having sexual contact with Tessie and there were no other males who had contact with her. Victor was found to have an STD and he was arrested for the sexual abuse of Tessie. The family was torn up: furious, disbelieving, anguished about Victor’s and Tessie’s welfare, etc.

In her initial interview with CPS, Barbara told the worker that Tessie was just a “problem child”: refusing lately to go to bed and insisting that she sleep with her mother, whom she kept constantly awake by her nightmares and tossing and turning. Barbara said that Tessie’s bad temper, throwing things, and never settling down forced Barbara to smack her sometimes. “Then she got nice and quiet and didn’t make a peep for days,” Barbara said.

To Do:

Your role is to assess the possible exposure to trauma and the trauma reactions that Tessie is showing by using the multiple domains of a comprehensive trauma assessment.  To accomplish this, imagine you have the opportunity to interview Barbara.  Then, in a written format answer the following five questions:

·         What questions you would like to ask Barbara? Please list ONLY your top 6 questions! For each question, state your reason for asking it. How does each question contribute to the assessment of an important domain of Tessie’s life covered in a CANS assessment?

·         Please identify 3-4 possible signs that would indicate that Tessie is having some longer-term trauma reactions. Describe each sign and what it might indicate that would need further exploration with Barbara.

·         Please describe how you will engage Barbara in the assessment process knowing that she is guarded and overwhelmed herself.

·         Please spell out the picture that is forming in your mind about Tessie’s possible trauma exposure.

·         What are the risk and protective factors in Tessie’s situation that could enter into her treatment?


                                  Case Study and Assessment

The reaction of children aged 0-6 to traumatic experiences may be different from older children because at this age they are not able to verbalize their reactions to dangerous or threatening events.  Although some people may assume that the yo8nd age protects these children from the effects of traumatic experiences but according to most studies they are impacted by events that threaten their safety (Alisic et al., 2014). Therefore, regarding Tessie’s case, she may fail to verbalize her reactions to sexual abuse at age 3 but an interview with her mother Barbara will help assess possible exposure to trauma and the trauma reactions the young girl shows.

At first, while interviewing Barbara, various questions will help determine Tessie’s traumatic experiences and the young girl’s reaction to them.  They include:

  • Have there been increased medical problems in Tessie’s life?

At age 3, Tessie is too young to communicate symptoms of physical problems. Additionally, she is less observant with her body thus it unlikely for her to observe some symptoms such as the rash on her genital area. Thus it is necessary to ask Barbara, her mother this question because she is in a better position to observe unusual physical changes in Tessie’s body. This will help determine the progress in Tessie’s physical development and the causes of any problem if any.

  • Does Tessie have a problem trusting others and specifically who?

This question is important because if a child has been exposed to trauma they will have difficulty developing strong relationships with other people including close people (Kisiel et al., 2009). Barbara is close to Barbara and she may have heard or witnessed concerns about how Tessie is interacting with people close to her. If she has trust issues especially with a specific group or person it shows that the traumatic experiences have impacted her attachment and social development …………for help with this assignment contact us via Email Address:

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