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.

Required Reading

Cleaveland Clinic. (2019). Conversion Disorder in Adults. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17975-conversion-disorder-in-adults

GARD. (2017). Conversion disorder. Retrieved from https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/6191/conversion-disorder

CDC.gov. (2018). What is ME/CFS?. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/me-cfs/about/index.html

CDC.gov. (2018). Treatment of ME/CFS. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/me-cfs/treatment/index.html

Remedy Health Media. (2019). The Biopsychosocial Approach. Retrieved from https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/treatments/psychological/biopsychosocial-approach

Video 

Jennifer Brea Conference Video:

https://www.ted.com/talks/jen_brea_what_happens_when_you_have_a_disease_doctors_can_t_diagnose

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

prepare:

· Imagine that Jennifer Brea, whose TEDTalk (TED Conferences, LLC, 2016) Video 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.

Assignment

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.

Support your presentation with research and references to scholarly literature.

Make sure you add in information in the note section explaining each slides and Include a transcript and/or edit closed captioning in your presentation to ensure your presentation is accessible to colleagues of differing abilities.

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