Rhonda is a 32-year-old Hispanic female who presents to your office for her initial appointment. When you ask what brought her to your office, she states: “I’m at the end of my rope, I don’t know what else to do.” She then bursts into tears. Rhonda explains that she has very few friends left, and everyone seems to have “abandoned” her. Rhonda explains that she goes out of her way to help other people, and to be nice to them, but this does not seem to help.
Rhonda then stands up and begins to pace around your office at times using wild hand gestures to explain the circumstances that led up to her making the appointment with you. She describes the recent breakup with her boyfriend as traumatic and explains “when we first met, he was the best guy in the world. He treated me really well. But he just became a complete monster! Even though he broke off the relationship with me, I was glad to see it end. I hate his guts!”
Rhonda explains that her current financial situation is also precarious. She states that she recently purchased an automobile, and is not certain how she is going to pay for it. She states that she had a car that was repossessed last year at that time, and that she borrowed some money from a friend to help pay for the car; the friend later turned around and accused her of theft. “It was my friend’s fault. She told me she would loan me the money and then backed out. I only took the money because she said she would loan it to me … people just can’t go back on their word like that when other people are counting on them.”
Rhonda reports that she was “always in trouble” as a kid. She states that people were always picking on her, to which she adds: “the other kids my age were just stupid. They didn’t know how to have fun.” She says “I have always been impulsive, but it’s fun. Sometimes people can be such prudes … you only go around life once, so you have to make the best of it.”
Rhonda is currently single. She has no children. Educationally, she had completed two semesters toward her bachelor of arts degree in fine arts. Rhonda currently works as a waitress at a local restaurant. She has held this job for about 2 weeks. Prior to this, Rhonda worked as a housekeeper for a local hotel chain. She states that she was fired from this job because her coworkers were jealous of her and “planted” evidence of her stealing from hotel patrons. She was also arrested for cashing checks under an alias, for which she spent 120 days in jail.
Rhonda has a history of multiple incarcerations for offences ranging from larceny to possession of controlled substances to possession of an illegal firearm. She was also arrested several times for fighting and on at least one occasion, used a baseball bat to beat up a girl who she thought was trying to “set her up” with the police.
MENTAL STATUS EXAM
Rhonda is alert and oriented × 4 spheres. Her speech is clear, coherent, goal directed, and spontaneous. She reports her mood as “terrible!” Affect is labile and seems to change rapidly with the subject being discussed. Her eye contact is normal, but at times, she appears to stare at you. Rhonda is oriented to person, place, and time. She denies visual/auditory hallucinations, no overt paranoia or delusional thought processes noted. Rhonda denies any suicidal or homicidal ideation.