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Running head: DEREK PRATT 1

Psychological Evaluation of Derek Pratt

Corinne Baum

Indiana University East



Name: Derek Pratt

Date of Birth: XX-XX-XXXX

Age: 15

Tests Administered: Parent and Teacher Rating Scales

Reviews of Academic and Legal Records

Direct Observation

Youth-Self Report

Childrens Depression Inventory

Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)


Derek Pratt was referred by his father- Mr. Pratt-, school counselors, and juvenile detention

officer, because of his law-breaking activities, school absences, and contact with juvenile

criminal justice system.


Developmental/Family: Derek Pratt was a 15-year-old, European American male. Derek lives

with his single father, Mr. Pratt. His mother and his father were divorced for four years. His

mother, Mrs. Lander, remarried and lived out of state.

Educational: Derek Pratt was in the tenth grade at the time of his initial assessment.


Interview with Derek Pratt: At the onset of the interview, Derek was belligerent, insisting he

be addressed by his street name, Tree. He said he would not answer any questions because he did

not feel like it. Confidentiality was discussed in detain, but Derek still remained dismissive.

Questioning revealed the Derek had been getting into more serious trouble and was arrested for

shoplifting four weeks before. He and a dozen friends swarmed a convenience store, took

everything they could and left in their cars. Derek was caught with one other youth. This event

followed similar crimes at a compact disc store and a retail clothing store. Derek blamed his

friends for his arrest because they left him behind. He was charged with only shoplifting after

police found him holding just three candy bars and a bog of potato chips. Derek expressed no

remorse for the theft or for the clerk, who was injured when one of the teens pushed her into a

glass case. Derek said he did not do it, so he should not care.

Further questioning about legal violations revealed that Derek had an extended history of trouble.

Ten months earlier, he was arrested for vandalism. He broke windows and damaged cars on

school property. He received probation for six months because it was his first offense. He also

boasted of other exploits for which he was not caught, including several shoplifting episodes,

heavy marijuana use, joyriding, and missing school. He reported missing twenty-three days of

school since the beginning of the academic year. He also described break-in attempts of his

neighbors apartments and precocious sexual activity. Derek rarely strayed from his bravado

during the interview. It seemed, however, during the end of the interview, he disliked himself a

bit. He said he did not really care what happened to him.


Derek was finally asked about his current situation and his goals for his future. He said he did

not expect to receive any serious consequences from the judge for the shoplifting charge and he

did not care about going back to school. He was either indifferent or hostile about any

suggestions he was given about attending part-time school programs, stating cryptically that he

and his friends would take care of themselves. Derek also stated that his father worked and did

not spend much time with him. He said he did not mind that, seeming content and insistent on

maintaining his status quo.

Interview with Mr. Pratt: A subsequent interview with Mr. Pratt confirmed some of Dereks

report, though Mr. Pratt was not fully aware of the extent of his sons behavior. He said that the

school counselor and juvenile detention officer strongly recommended that he and Derek pursue


Mr. Pratt was cooperative during the interview, but seemed careful to justify hos actions as a

parent and not to assume too much blame. He complained that being a single parent was

difficult, that he often worked, that school officials waited too long to inform him of Dereks

absences, and that police officers deliberately chose to arrest his son rather than the gang leaders.

Mr. Pratt said Derek was usually compliant when home but that his on was often with friends

during the day and night. He was unsure what Derek did when he was away from home, but

speculated that his son stayed with friends and played video games. He also said that he had a

good relationship with his son and they had talked about Dereks recent school and legal

problems. Mr. Pratt reported that Derek said he was willing to change his behaviors and return to

school, however, he said Derek usually lied about such things and could not be trusted.

Mr. Pratt said he wanted to help his son get on the right track and he was very hopeful that

therapy would help, which implied that Mr. Pratt did not want to expend much personal effort in

Dereks treatment. Rather bluntly, he stated that he planned to leave the area and Derek as soon

as his son turned 18-years-old.

Interview with Mrs. Lander (Dereks mother): Mrs. Lander reported that she had little contact

with Mr. Pratt, but did talk to Derek about once a month. She voiced her concern that Derek was

not properly supervised. She also added that she had no plans to visit her son and did not think it

was possible for him to live with her. She made this decision based on Dereks behavior over the

past two years.

Interview with School Counselor: During the interview with Dereks school counselor, she said

she was unfamiliar with Derek because of his many absences, but had spoken with several of his

teachers. She reported that his teachers said Derek withdrew in class, contributed little to in-class

projects, and completed few homework assignments. He was failing each class and his prospects

of passing the academic year were slim, however, Derek showed no overt behavior problems.

The counselor believed that the presence of several strong male authority figures at school

prevented antisocial behavior from Derek.

Interview with Juvenile Detention Officer: Dereks juvenile detention officer said that Derek

was to appear before a judge in the near future, at which time he might receive a sentence of

some kind. The officer believed that Derek was at risk of receiving a strong punishment because

the most recent was his second arrest in less than a year and because Derek had a disrespectful

attitude. He was confident, however, the judge would consider their family counseling and

mediate the sentence. He was skeptical that Derek and his father would continue to attend

therapy. He based this remark on their history; Mr. Pratt and Derek kept only one of three

appointments with him in the past three years.


Other Interviews: Information about Derek was also obtained through further interviews with

three of Dereks teachers, two of his friends, and one of his neighbors. These interviews that

Derek was peer focused and considered fellow gang members to be his family. Derek had a

quick temper, seemed frustrated by recent life events, and was a threat to others. Dereks

neighbor reported that several residents of the apartment complex were aware of Dereks

behavior and took extra precautions to protect themselves and their belongings when he was

around. This was especially true if Derek wanted something specific or was under the influence

of drugs.


Commonly used self-report measures for assessing youths with conduct disorder include Youth

Self-Report and the Childrens Depression Inventory. Dereks scores on these measures revealed

clinical levels of externalizing behaviors, as well as near-clinical levels of internalizing behavior.

Derek rated certain items on the Youth Self-Report as particularly relevant to himself, including

feelings of sadness, worthlessness, self-consciousness, and suspiciousness. Derek scored just

below the clinical range on the Childrens Depression Inventory. He endorsed items indicating

worries about the future, doubts he was as good as other children, and depressed mood. It was

thus believed that Derek had some level of subclinical depression.

Ratings from adolescents with conduct disorder are not always reliable, so ratings from

knowledgeable others are used. Parent rating scales for this population include the Child

Behavior Checklist, which was completed by Dereks father. He endorsed very high levels of

externalizing behavior and very low levels of internalizing behavior. This may have been due to

Mr. Pratts overemphasis on Dereks recent law-breaking events and his fathers general

ignorance of his sons depressive symptoms. Family assessment revealed high levels of

independence and surprisingly low levels of conflicts in the two-person family.

A common teacher rating scale for this population is the Teacher Report Form, which was

completed by Dereks teachers. These were, however, not found to be helpful because the school

officials did not now Derek very well. A review of Dereks school records indicated a gradual

decline in school performance. He was an A and B student in elementary school, a C and D

student in junior high school, but an F student in high school.

Direct observation is useful to assess a youths interaction with his family. Derek was closely

watched as he interacted with his father during the therapy sessions. The interactions were

generally cordial but distant. Neither Derek nor Mr. Pratt seemed interested in the conversation

of the other, however, no arguing or major disagreements occurred. Each seemed content to let

the other live his life with the implicit assumption that the separate arrangement would

eventually be permanent, but neither was willing to change the current situation. Dereks

disruptive behavior was a source of irritation for Mr. Pratt, who was concerned with devoting his

time to appointments with school officials, a juvenile detention officer, and a psychologist.


A preliminary diagnosis of conduct disorder was found for Derek based on the knowledge that,

over the past year, Derek engaged in shoplifting, school refusal behavior, acts of vandalism, and

curfew breaking. His troubles with the legal system and poor school performance indicated

general impairment in functioning as well. He reported that many of his illegal activities, such as

drug use and shoplifting and made him feel good. Derek had not physically harmed anyone in

recent months, so his diagnosis of conduct disorder was rated as moderate.


Dereks symptoms included low self-esteems, feelings of worthlessness, and social withdrawal

during school.


Preventing delinquency is desirable because treating adolescents with conduct disorder is often

difficult and unsuccessful. Dereks treatment included elements of parent-familial, social-

cognitive, and peer- and school-based interventions. Much of his therapy concentrated on

improving communication between Derek and his father, and increasing Mr. Pratts monitoring

of his son. Both of these goals proved difficult to achieve because Derek and his father missed

several appointments, and were generally unwilling to talk to one another. More time was spent

discussing Mr. Pratts personal issues which led to his emotional distance from Derek. It was

discovered that the divorce was much harder on him than originally thought and that he actively

tried to forget about his first marriage. Derek was a constant reminder of this and his problems

reinforced Mr. Pratts sense of personal failure. Mr. Pratts ability to monitor his sons behavior

and his motivation to change the current situation remained inadequate.

Communication skills training between Derek and his father was only partially effective because

neither had much interest in talking to one another, and poor motivation was the main problem in

developing more extending conversations.

Contracts were also written up to reduce Dereks drug use and school refusal behavior. Derek

and Mr. Pratt put effort into designing the conflicts but made little effort to apply them at home.

Again, poor motivation sabotaged this treatment technique, and no change occurred in Dereks

drug use. He did, however, agree to attend and after-school program that allowed him to earn

partial credits toward his high school diploma. During his after-school program, Dereks

attendance was spotty, but he completed the necessary work over a three-month period.

Other treatments for Derek involved social-cognitive techniques. Much of this focused of

Dereks negative self-statements and depressive symptoms. He responded best to this approach.

He was shown the link between his mood and his behavior, especially how negative thoughts

sometimes led to reckless and impulsive behavior. Different types of cognitive distortions were

discussed, especially minimization. Derek had the tendency to undervalue himself and his

interaction with others. He learned to examine both side of a thought and think about any

alternative and more realistic thoughts. Dereks depression did improve to some extent over the

course of therapy.

Derek was instructed to manage his anger and control his impulses and emphasis was placed on

his problem solving skills. He was presented with different scenarios and asked to develop

potential solutions. He learned to evaluate the usefulness and effectiveness of each solution after

he assigned them grades. Derek grasped this concept but never applied it to real-life situations.

Treatment also involved, to a lesser extent, management of Dereks wide range of behaviors in

his new classroom. He often shifted between acting disruptively, appropriately, or withdrawn.

Cues that led to these shifts were identified. He was most disruptive when unexpectedly asked to

answer questions in class, most appropriate when social interactions in the classroom were under

control, and more withdrawn when he was left alone. His teacher started giving Derek a short list

of questions that might be asked in class the next day, so he could then prepare answers. The

teacher also made sure Derek had many opportunities to interact with her and his classmates

during breaks. The teacher reported that Dereks attendance remained uneven, but his classroom

behavior did improve over several weeks.



Derek and his father remained in therapy for almost four months but missed about 40% of the

sessions. The continuity of therapy and rapport was interrupted. Derek was involved in some

level of therapy, so the judge sentenced him to fifty hours of community service, which Derek

completed. Following the completion of his sentence, however, Derek refused to attend therapy.

Mr. Pratt was met with alone for three weeks afterward, but eventually, he ended therapy as well,

despite recommendations to continue.

Derek was arrested a third time, one year later. The charges were shoplifting and assault; Derek

punched a security guard following an attempted theft at a department store. He was assigned to

a juvenile detention facility. He dropped out of school in the interim and resumed many of his

previous antisocial behaviors. Dereks parents transferred custody of Derek to the state and

severed contact with their son. Derek was at a high risk for future delinquent behavior.


Kearney, C. A. (2013). Casebook in Child Behavior Disorders (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: