MFT California Clinical Exam

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Stages of Psychosocial Development (Erikson)

Unlike Freud's theory of psychosexual stages, Erikson's theory described the impact of social experience across the whole lifespan. Erikson was interested in how social interaction and relationships played a role in the development and growth of human beings. Stage 1 - Trust vs. Mistrust
Stage 2 - Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
Stage 3 - Initiative vs. Guilt
Stage 4 - Industry vs. Inferiority
Stage 5 - Identity vs. Confusion
Stage 6 - Intimacy vs. Isolation
Stage 7 - Generativity vs. Stagnation
Stage 8 - Integrity vs. Despair

Psychosexual Stages of Development (Freud)

Freud believed that personality developed through a series of childhood stages in which the pleasure-seeking energies of the id become focused on certain erogenous areas. An erogenous zone is characterized as an area of the body that is particularly sensitive to stimulation. During the five psychosexual stages, which are the oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital stages.

Each stage of development is marked by conflicts that can help build growth or stifle development, depending upon how they are resolved.

Family Life Cycle Stages

Carter and McGoldrick family life cycle distinguishes between 6 predictable stages and identifies the developmental tasks that families face during the transition to each stage. The inadequate accomplishment of any tasks can lead to a crisis and disequilibrium


Acculturation refers to the extent to which an individual from one cultural group has adopted the beliefs, attitudes, values, and other characteristics of another cultural group and can be conceptualized in terms of four categories: Integration occurs when individuals are able to adopt the cultural norms of the dominant or host culture while maintaining their culture of origin, Assimilation occurs when individuals adopt the cultural norms of a dominant or host culture, over their original culture, Separation occurs when individuals reject the dominant or host culture in favor of preserving their culture of origin. and marginalized when individuals reject both their culture of origin and the dominant host culture.

Racial / Ethnic Identity

Racial /ethnic identity refers to a person's sense of group or Collective identity based on his or her perception that he or she shares a common racial or ethnic Heritage with a particular group. A client's racial/ ethnic identity may have a substantial impact on assessment and treatment

Clinical Interview

Clinical interviews are the most common method for collecting information, obtaining information that is not available from other sources, and for establishing and maintaining a good working relationship with the client. There are 3 basic types of clinical interviews: structure, semi structured, an unstructured.

Initial Interview

The primary goals of the initial interview with new clients are to 1 establish report ; 2 describe the structure and process of therapy; 3 identify and prioritize client problems; 4 clarify expectations and goals for therapy; 5 define the next steps ( who will be attending future sessions, setting up the next appointment com etc. ).

Unit of Treatment

In family therapy, the family rather than the individual is considered the unit of treatment. However, the decision about which individuals to include in therapy is based on several factors including the nature of the presenting problem, who was involved with the presenting problem, the likelihood that the presence of one or more family members will hinder the therapy process , and the motivation and capacity of each family member to participate in family therapy.

Mental Status Exam

A mental status exam uses observation, questions, and simple task to obtain information on several aspects of a client's current mental state ( appearance, thought content, effect) and is useful for determining if a client's symptoms want a referral to a decision or psychiatrist.

Collateral sources of information

Important information about a client can be obtained from family members, friends, physicians, previous therapist, social service agencies, teachers, employers, clergy, and other collateral sources. It may also be appropriate to Refer a client to another professional or agency for specialized evaluation (doctor, neurologist, psychiatrist, or psychologist).

Beck Depression Inventory - 2nd edition (BDI-II)

The BDI-II is used to assess the mood, cognitive, behavioral, and physical aspects of depression for individuals age 13 to 86.

Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales | Second Edition

The Vineland-II is used to evaluate personal and social skills of children, adolescents, and adults with intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, brain injury, or major or mild neurocognitive disorder and to assist in the development of educational and treatment plans.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2)

The MMPI-2 is an objective measure of personality for individuals aged 18 and older. It is used to assist with diagnosis and treatment planning and provides scores on a number of clinical, content, supplementary, and validity scales.

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale 4th Ed (WAIS-IV)

The WAIS-IV is an individually administered intelligence test for individuals age 16 to 90. It provides a full-scale IQ score com A scores on for indexes, and subtest scores.

Graphic Assessment Techniques

Graphic Assessment Techniques include genogram and ecomap. The Gina Graham depicts family relationships over several generations and provides information on significant life advanced, family structure and rolls, etc ., while the ecomap provides information on the strength and nature of relationships between family members and people, institutions, and agencies in the social environment.

Gender Dysphoria

In children, gender dysphoria diagnosis involves at least six of the following and associated significant distress or impairment in function, lasting at least six months.

A strong desire to be of the other gender or an insistence that one is the other gender
A strong preference for wearing clothes typical of the opposite gender
A strong preference for cross-gender roles in make-believe play or fantasy play
A strong preference for the toys, games or activities stereotypically used or engaged in by the other gender
A strong preference for playmates of the other gender
A strong rejection of toys, games, and activities typical of one’s assigned gender
A strong dislike of one’s sexual anatomy
A strong desire for the physical sex characteristics that match one’s experienced gender

In adolescents and adults, gender dysphoria diagnosis involves a difference between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, and significant distress or problems functioning. It lasts at least six months and is shown by at least two of the following:

A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics
A strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics
A strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender
A strong desire to be of the other gender
A strong desire to be treated as the other gender
A strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender

Relationship Distress with Spouse or Intimate Partner

Relationship distress with spouse or intimate partner Is included in the DSM 5 with other conditions that may be a focus of clinical attention and applies “when the major focus of the clinical contact is to address the quality of the intimate relationship or when the quality of that relationship is affecting the course, prognosis, or treatment of a mental or other medical disorder”. It involves behavior cognitive and affective functioning.

Paranoid Personality Disorder

Paranoid Personality Disorder involves a pervasive pattern of distrust and suspiciousness that entails interpreting the motives of others as malevolent. The diagnosis requires the presence of at least 4 characteristics symptoms – e.g., suspects that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her without a sufficient basis for doing so; reads the meaning content into benign remarks or events; persistently bears grudges; is persistently suspicious about the fidelity of his or her spouse or sexual partner without justification.