Case Study: Esther Dugoni
A slightly built woman of nearly 70, Esther Dugoni was healthy and fit, though in the last year or two she had developed a tremor characteristic of early Parkinson’s disease. For the several years since she had retired from her job teaching horticulture in junior college, she has concentrated on her own garden. At the flower show the year before, her roses had won first prize.
But 10 days earlier, her mother had died in Detroit, over halfway across the country. She and her sister had been appointed co-executors. The estate was large, and she would have to make a number of trips to probate the will and dispose of the house. That meant flying, and this was shy she had sought help from the mental health clinic.
“I can’t fly!” she had told the clinician. “ I haven’t flown anywhere for 20 years.”
Esther had been reared during the Depression; as a child, she had never had the opportunity to fly. With five children of her own ot care for on her husband’s school teacher pay, she hadn’t travelled much as an adult. She had made a few short hops years ago when two of her children were getting married in different cities. On one of those trips, her plane had circled the field for nearly an hour, trying to land in Omaha between thunderstorms. The ride was wretchedly bumpy; the plane was full; and many of the passengers were airsick, including the two men on either side of her. There was no one to help—the cabin attendants had to remain strapped in their seats. She had kept her eyes closed and breathed through her handkerchief to try to filter out the odors that filled cabin.
They finally landed safely, but it was the last time Esther had ever been up in an airplane. “ I don’t even like to go to the airport to meet someone,” she reported. “Even that makes me feel short of breath and kind of sick to my stomach.” Then I get sort of a dull pain in my chest and I start to shake—I feel that I’m about to die, or something else awful will happen. It all seems so silly. “
Esther really had no alternatives to flying. She couldn’t stay in Detroit until all of the business had been taken care of; it would take months. The train didn’t connect, and the bus was impossible.
1.What is the specific disorder? What is the general category for this disorder?
2.Justify your answer using specific examples from the case. Use as many as you can find and apply appropriate terminology when describing the symptoms(For example, the man shows affective flattening, as he almost always looks emotionless and alogia as he usually does not talk when spoken to.)
3. Explain how classical conditioning played a role in the development of her problem. Make sure to specify all components of classical conditioning in your answer.
4.What psychotherapy do you think would be most appropriate for Esther? Give a detailed description of why you would recommend that psychotherapy and cite specifically how the techniques within that therapy would help her? It might be helpful to provide examples to illustrate your point.
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