A mother and her twleve-year-old son meet with a social worker
after the child was referred by his primary care physician, who has
diagnosed the boy with encopresis. The boy makes it clear he
doesn't want to talk about the condition and doesn't want to meet
with the social worker. What treatment goal is likely to be MOST
effective in reducing symptoms of encopresis?
A. The child will learn to identify and replace cognitive
distortions that contribute to his feelings of shame.
B. The child's mother will establish a behavior plan that
rewards him for using the toilet at regular intervals.
C. The child will learn to talk to his mother about his feelings
about encopresis in family therapy.
D. The child will learn to talk openly about the encopresis to
reduce his shame and embarrassment.
What do you think?
Let's take the answers one at a time. Remember you're looking
for a treatment goal, not an intervention.
A. Identify cognitive distortions (intervention: CBT). Replacing
cognitive distortions might be effective in reducing the child's
shame but won't likely reduce his behavioral symptoms. So, no.
B. Behavior modification--rewarding the child for regular toilet
habits--is likely to reduce the child's symptoms. This one's in the
running. But always read through all answers. There may be a still
better answer in the bunch.
C. Voice feelings. While there may be a psychodynamic route to
symptom reduction in this case, having the child talk about his
feelings about encopresis in family therapy isn't likely to reduce
D. More talking. Talking about his symptoms might help reduce
this child's embarrassment but won't likely resolve his
So, really only one contender this time. Which makes it easier
than many questions on the ASWB exam, which often have two decent
answers doing battle. This time, provided you aren't drawn to the
CBT and talk-therapy options, you've got your answer without too
much difficulty: B, behavior mod.
To read up about encopresis symtpoms and treatment,
here's a good resource. To keep preparing for the social work
licensing exam, you're already in the right place. Sign up to get
started with full-length exams.
Happy studying, stay safe, and good luck on the exam!