Assessment 2:        Case Study

Session due:      Session 10

Length:              2500 words maximum

Marks:                100 (40%)

What is a case study?   Davis (1993) defines case studies as stories that represent real, complex and contextualized situations, which often involve dilemmas, conflicts or problems with no obvious solution. Case studies can take different forms, ranging from simple situations to complex scenarios, and can be presented as multiple or single cases, as well as simulations based on real problems or based on people’s own experiences (De Miguel, 2005).  

The student’s ability to: unpack and demonstrate their understanding of a case, to apply a theoretical approach and literature to better understand and make sense of a case will be assessed. Furthermore, the student’s ability to demonstrate their engagement in critical thinking, in following a logical decision-making process, on reflecting and evaluating potential solutions to the given dilemmas, demonstrating how they can integrate theory and practical application and in applying their knowledge to propose potential solutions will be assessed


Read the case study carefully and answer the questions that follow. John is a counsellor and educator at a local college. After he moved to the area with his family, he decided to open a private practice to offer a much-needed service to the community, and to stabilize his finances. John describes himself as a spiritual and religious being, and soon found himself involved in various activities in his church. One day, John was approached by the church pastor, who told him that he encouraged one of the church council members, Emma, to contact him for grief counselling. Emma’s brother died a few months ago in a car accident. The pastor thought it would be helpful for Emma to speak to a counsellor and seeing that John is the same age as her brother, he thought she would feel more at ease opening up to him about her challenges in dealing with his passing. John knows about Emma because he purchased a car from her husband’s dealership shortly after he had relocated and because Emma’s husband is a member of a well-known NGO in the community, at which John volunteers each month. John also came to learn that Emma’s son is one of his students in his professional ethics class.

Respond to the following questions based on the case study:

  • How can Emma benefit from the counselling relationship should John take her on as a client? Also, consider the potential harms for Emma if she becomes a client of John.
  • Discuss the ethical concerns that you might have and reflect on the implications of these.
  • If you were John, how would manage the case? What are your recommendations for John? Provide a literature-based explanation in support of your answers.
  • What measures must John have in place being a counsellor in private practice?

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