Robin Henderson Essay
Robin Henderson is a 30-year-old married Caucasian woman with no children who lives in a middle-class urban area with her husband. Robin was referred to a clinical psychologist by her psychiatrist. The psychiatrist has been treating Robin for more than 18 months with primarily anti-depressant medication. During this time, Robin has been hospitalized at least 10 times (one hospitalization lasted 6 months) for treatment of suicidal ideation (and one near lethal attempt) and numerous instances of suicidal gestures, including at least 10 instances of drinking Clorox bleach and self-inflicting multiple cuts and burns.
Robin was accompanied by her husband to the first meeting with the clinical psychologist. Her husband stated that both he and the patient’s family considered Robin “too dangerous” to be outside a hospital setting. Consequently, he and her family were seriously discussing the possibility of long-term inpatient care. However, Robin expressed a strong preference for outpatient treatment, although no therapist had agreed to accept Robin as an outpatient client. The clinical psychologist agreed to accept Robin into therapy, as long as she was committed to working toward behavioral change and staying treatment for at least 1 year. This agreement also included Robin contracting for safety- agreeing she would not attempt suicide.
Robin was raised as an only child. Both her father (who worked as a salesman) and her mother had a history of alcohol abuse and depression. Robin disclosed in therapy that she had experienced severe physical abuse by her mother throughout childhood. When Robin was 5, her father began sexually abusing her. Although the sexual abuse had been non-violent for the first several years, her father’s sexual advances became physically abusive when Robin was about 12 years-old. This abuse continued through Robin’s first years of high school. Beginning at age 14, Robin began having difficulties with alcohol abuse and bulimia nervosa. In fact, Robin met her husband at an A.A (Alcoholics Anonymous) meeting while she was attending college. Robin continued to display binge-drinking behavior at an intermittent frequency and often engaged in restricted food intake with consequent eating binges. Despite these behaviors, Robin was able to function well in work and school settings, until the age of 27. She had earned her college degree and completed 2 years of medical school.
However, during her second year of medical school, a classmate that Robin barely knew committed suicide. Robin reported that when she heard of the suicide, she decided to kill herself as well. Robin displayed very little insight as to why the situation had provoked her inclination to kill herself. Within weeks, Robin dropped out of medical school and became severely depressed and actively suicidal. A certain chain of events seemed to precede Robin’s suicidal behavior. This chain began with an interpersonal encounter, usually with her husband, which caused Robin to feel threatened, criticized or unloved (usually with no clear or objective basis for this perception. These feelings were followed by urges to either self-mutilate or kill herself. Robin’s decision to self-mutilate or attempt suicide were often done out of spite accompanied by the thought, “I’ll show you.” Robin’s self- injurious behaviors appeared to be attention-seeking.
Once Robin burned her leg very deeply and filled the area with dirt to convince the doctor that she needed medical attention- she required reconstructive surgery. Although she had been able to function competently in school and at work, Robin’s interpersonal behavior was erratic and unstable; she would quickly and without reason, fluctuate from one extreme to the other. Robin’s behavior was very inconsistent she would behave appropriately at times, well mannered and reasonable and at other times she seemed irrational and enraged, often verbally berating her friends. Afterwards she would become worried that she had permanently alienated them.
Robin would frantically do something kind for her friends in an attempt to bring them emotionally closer to her. When friends or family tried to distance themselves from her, Robin would threaten suicide to keep them from leaving her. During the course of treatment, Robin’s husband reported that he could not take her suicidal and erratic behavior any longer. Robin’s husband filed for divorce shortly after her treatment began. Robin began binge drinking and taking illegal pain medication. Robin reported suicidal ideation and feeling of worthlessness. Robin displayed signs of improvement during therapy, but this ended in her 14 month of treatment when she committed suicide by consuming an overdose of prescription medication and alcohol.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 11 February 2017
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