Performance Psychology

Performance Psychology

Michelle Rogers
PSY 839-0500
Performance Psychologist works with individuals to achieve a particular goal. They teach individuals how to gain power over the mind and how to apply these skills in activities of everyday life. In order for a Performance Psychologist to effectively be able to enhance performance of a client, the psychologist needs to gain an understanding of the critical factors that the client is experiencing. Once the key factors have been established then the counselor is able to develop a treatment plan and implement the necessary interventions needed to improve performance.
In a recent case, a 25 year old male has entered a treatment facility because it was court ordered that he seek an evaluation for chemical dependency. The client informed the counselor that he had been using drugs and alcohol for over 5 years. He also stated that he began using marijuana at the age of 13, and continued using marijuana and cocaine throughout the past 12 years. However, the client retracted his statement and informed the counselor that he had quit using marijuana for about 6 months now, but continues to use cocaine and alcohol. The client stated that he initially started using drugs and alcohol for recreational purposes, but it has currently escalated into everyday use and it is affecting his home life and work life. The client stated that he uses cocaine every chance he gets and has stolen property from his family to purchase drugs. The client stated that the amount that of cocaine being used has increased over time and it now takes a significant amount for him to receive “a good high”. The client states that he has had a heart attack within the past six months and has experienced blackouts, seizures, and an occasional tremor.
The client has stated that he has been arrested several times throughout the past 5 years for breaking and entering, selling stolen merchandise, and shoplifting. He was incarcerated for approximately 18 months and reported that he had not remembered what he did wrong when he became sober.
The client reported that as a child he had been sexual assaulted by his uncle, but his parents did not believe that anything happened. Both parents worked a full time job and the caregiver was predominantly the uncle. The client has been hospitalized for depression and was prescribed medication. The client states that the medicine does not work and makes him sleepy, so he doesn’t used the prescribed medication.
During the assessment upon entrance to the facility the client was asked to take a couple different assessments in order for the professional to be able to determine his social and psychological functioning. The Beck Depression Inventory was given. This is a multiple choice test that consists of 21 questions and is widely used for determining a person’s level of depression. The client scored in the 30-63range, which demonstrated a high level of depression (Skule, Ulleberg, Dallavara Lending, Berge, Egeland, Brennen, & Landro, 2014). Depression could be stemming from the abuse as a child, withdrawals from the drug use, or current health problems. Further testing is necessary to determine the underlying reasons for the depression and what will be necessary for the client to become functional. The client received testing from the child abuse rating system. This test was given for the professional to get a better understanding of the client’s emotional stability and level of severity from the abuse (Choi, Reddy, Spaulding, 2012). Information received from this test will help the professional to better understand the type of treatment necessary for the client to be able to function again. Situations like child abuse can provide reasoning for the need to uses drugs and alcohol as a form of self medication. Information obtained can be used by the professional to work with the client to assign homework that could increase performance gradually.
The counselor needs to assess the fact that the client has been using drugs and alcohol for a number of years. He reports that he suffers from depression, and has trouble in his personal family and work environment. The root cause for this may be stemming from the child abuse and lack of support from his family. In order for the client to begin functioning the counselor needs to consider working with the client through talk therapy and working on his cognitive and behavioral abilities. Talk therapy will allow the client to talk about what the problem is and help the counselor develop ways for the client to move forward from it. Cognitive behavioral therapy on the other hand can be used to deal with the thoughts the client has about himself and they challenge situations within the world to alter behavioral patterns that are not wanted. The use of cognitive therapy would help the client obtain a better understanding of the problems at hand and ways to help treat the depression (Mirea, 2013).
The client has a lot of different problems taking place. In order for an enhancement in performance the counselor will need to look at the critical factors and then work up a needs assessment. In this case the critical factors consist of maladaptive behaviors. The client will need to establish a need for him to change and he must be able to show a commitment for making the change. The psychologist must concern themselves with any psychological distress and must be able to understand the client’s problems to provide meaning. There were many different factors that contributed to the client becoming dependent on drugs and alcohol. For example, genetics plays a critical part in the chance that someone may become substance dependent. A person’s environment can increase the possibilities for someone becoming a drug user because it may be readily available, peer pressure, poverty, cultural attitudes, and different occupations may also contribute to substance abuse (McFarlane, 1998).
There are also individual risk factors that need to be considered. Factors like personality disorders, victim of child abuse, family problems, depression, peer pressure, and family history of abusers. These types of risk factors may cause aggressive behaviors, the client may have not had a strong parental support system, they could be suffering from poor social skills, and in some cases clients will become substance abusers because it’s starts off as experimental and is easy to get at school (McFarlene, 1998).
After the initial assessment the counselor needs to compile all the data that have been received and compile a needs assessment. The assessment will address exactly what needs to be resolved in the case and will look into using evaluations, creating timelines, addressing both internal and external barriers, and what resources are or will be available for the client. In this case the client will need to consider the environment that he is in and will need to make lifestyle changes in order to improve performance in daily life. If the client is having trouble at home and work because of his use of drugs and alcohol than his is going to need to come up with ways to avoid people that are bringing him down. To increase performance the counselor may want to assign the client a time frame for him to get a job. Getting a job will keep him busy and will allow for less time to socialize with negative people.
Initially the client needs to realize that his substance abuse problem may be stemming from the lack of family support when he was being abused as a child. The client found drugs and alcohol as a way of dealing with what was happening in his life. Since the parents did not believe the allegations of child abuse from a family member, the abuse was allowed to continue. Drugs and alcohol led the client to a life of crime and landed him in incarceration for a period of time. It is at this point that the counselor has established the need for the client to be able to talk about what happened to him as an adolescent and for the counselor to develop a treatment plan to enhance performance for the client. The client will need to work on socialization skills and needs to find better coping skills when dealing with daily life events. Understanding his emotional conflicts will allow the client to learn to deal with people and may help him learn to talk things out in his life to improve his work and personal life.
Since the child abuse seems to be the factor that may be responsible for the depression, and substance abuse than the professional needs to assign therapy sessions that the client can learn to understand why the abuse took place and that he was not at fault. Releasing some of the feelings of guilt and will allow him to function better.
Finally, the client has developed a tolerance for drugs and alcohol. He will not be able to stop immediately, but he can work towards seeking treatment for substance abuse and work to reduce the amount and frequency consumed. Incarceration will help the client get clean, but then there is the issue of being around the same people that enabled you to partake in the drugs originally, so the professional will need to establish a plan to help the client deals with that.


Cameron, M., & Keenan, E. (2010). The common factors model: implications for transtheoretical
clinical social work practice. Social Work, 55(1), 63-73. doi:10.1093/sw/55.1.63

Choi, K., Reddy, L., & Spaulding, W. (2012). Child abuse rating system for archival information
in severe mental illness. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 47(8), 1271-
1279. doi:10.1007/s00127-011-0435-z

McFarlane, A. C. (1998). The nature and longitudinal course of psychological
trauma. Psychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences, 52S49-S57.

Mirea, D. (2013). Review of Developing resilience: A cognitive-behavioural approach. Existential Analysis, 24(2), 342-346.

Skule, C., Ulleberg, P., Dallavara Lending, H., Berge, T., Egeland, J., Brennen, T., & Landrø, N.
I. (2014). Depressive Symptoms in People with and without Alcohol Abuse: Factor Structure and Measurement Invariance of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) Across Groups. Plos ONE, 9(2), 1-7. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088321

Write an essay (2,250-2,500 words) in which you propose a plan for the fictitious case you described in the Module 2 assignment. Your plan should include the following:

  1. A description of the psychological theories that must be applied for effective leadership of the stakeholders and other important participants in the case.
  2. A description of a theoretically sound and ethical intervention to the case that applies behavior modification to enhance individual performance.
  3. A description of the constructs and theories of psychomotor skill and motor control that will be applied in the intervention to improve learning and performance.
  4. A description of the assessment tool(s) and process that will be used following the intervention to determine whether the intervention was effective and how it can be improved.
  5. A description of the expected resolution to the case that demonstrates potential applications of psychological theories and principles underlying performance and is based on your theoretical perspective, the intervention you implemented, and your assessment of the intervention.

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