Case Conceptualization
eBook - ePub

Case Conceptualization

Mastering this Competency with Ease and Confidence

Len Sperry, Jon Sperry

Share book
  1. 235 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (mobile friendly)
  4. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

Case Conceptualization

Mastering this Competency with Ease and Confidence

Len Sperry, Jon Sperry

Book details
Book preview
Table of contents

About This Book

Integrating recent research and developments in the field, this revised second edition introduces an easy-to-master strategy for developing and writing culturally sensitive case conceptualizations and treatment plans.

Concrete guidelines and updated case material are provided for developing conceptualizations for the five most common therapy models: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic, Biopsychosocial, Adlerian, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. The chapters also include specific exercises and activities for mastering case conceptualization and related competencies and skills. Also new to this edition is a chapter on couple and family case conceptualizations, and an emphasis throughout on trauma.

Practitioners, as well as graduate students in counseling and in clinical psychology, will gain the essential skills and knowledge they need to master case conceptualizations.

Frequently asked questions

How do I cancel my subscription?
Simply head over to the account section in settings and click on “Cancel Subscription” - it’s as simple as that. After you cancel, your membership will stay active for the remainder of the time you’ve paid for. Learn more here.
Can/how do I download books?
At the moment all of our mobile-responsive ePub books are available to download via the app. Most of our PDFs are also available to download and we're working on making the final remaining ones downloadable now. Learn more here.
What is the difference between the pricing plans?
Both plans give you full access to the library and all of Perlego’s features. The only differences are the price and subscription period: With the annual plan you’ll save around 30% compared to 12 months on the monthly plan.
What is Perlego?
We are an online textbook subscription service, where you can get access to an entire online library for less than the price of a single book per month. With over 1 million books across 1000+ topics, we’ve got you covered! Learn more here.
Do you support text-to-speech?
Look out for the read-aloud symbol on your next book to see if you can listen to it. The read-aloud tool reads text aloud for you, highlighting the text as it is being read. You can pause it, speed it up and slow it down. Learn more here.
Is Case Conceptualization an online PDF/ePUB?
Yes, you can access Case Conceptualization by Len Sperry, Jon Sperry in PDF and/or ePUB format, as well as other popular books in Psychology & Psychotherapy Counselling. We have over one million books available in our catalogue for you to explore.



Introduction to the Chapters in Part I

Chapters 1 through 5 of this book serve as background material for the chapters in Part II. Unlike the chapters in Part II, the chapters in Part I are largely theoretical descriptions supported by research of case conceptualization and its components and elements. However, that does not mean they are abstruse and devoid of clinical value. On the contrary, these chapters are richly illustrated with clinical case material. Chapter 1 is an overview of the structure of case conceptualization which emphasizes the clinical value and utility of a competently constructed case conceptualization. Chapter 2 addresses diagnostic and clinical- or theory-based assessment before describing the diagnostic formulation component of a case conceptualization. Chapter 3 emphasizes the clinical and cultural formulation components, while Chapter 4 highlights the treatment formulation component. Chapter 5 focuses on other factors and dynamics involved in developing case conceptualizations with couples and families.

1 Case Conceptualizations

An Overview
So, what are case conceptualizations and why is there so much interest in them today? Basically, a case conceptualization is a method for understanding and explaining a client’s concerns and for guiding the treatment process. It functions like a “bridge” to connect assessment and treatment with clinical outcomes. In this era of accountability, it is not surprising that effective clinical practice presumes the competency to construct and utilize case conceptualizations. In fact, many consider case conceptualization to be the most important competency in counseling and psychotherapy, and one of the most challenging to master. This chapter introduces and overviews competency in case conceptualization.
The chapter begins by defining case conceptualization and its functions. Next, it describes and illustrates the various elements of a case conceptualization. This is followed by a discussion of the four components of a case conceptualization: diagnostic formulation, clinical formulation, cultural formulation, and treatment formulation. Then, it distinguishes three levels of sufficiency for evaluating case conceptualizations. Next, several myths about case conceptualization are discussed. Finally, it introduces background material on the five clinical cases that will be cited throughout the book and analyzed in detail in Chapters 6 through 10.

Case Conceptualization: Definition and Functions

Case conceptualizations provide clinicians with a coherent treatment strategy for planning and focusing treatment interventions in order to increase the likelihood of achieving treatment goals. While many therapists develop conceptualizations to guide their practice, not all therapists explicitly articulate these conceptualizations because they are not sufficiently confident with this competency. There are a number of reasons for developing and articulating a case conceptualization, but the most cogent reason is that a conceptualization enables therapists to experience a sense of confidence in their work (Hill, 2005). Hill (2005) believes that this confidence is then communicated to the client, which strengthens the client’s trust and the belief that the therapist has a credible plan, and that therapy can and will make a difference.
Case conceptualization is defined in this book as a method and clinical strategy for obtaining and organizing information about a client, understanding and explaining the client’s situation and maladaptive patterns, guiding and focusing treatment, anticipating challenges and roadblocks, and preparing for successful termination (Sperry, 2010, 2015). Case conceptualization is also a cognitive process that practitioners utilize before, during, and after sessions to understand various dynamics and therefore to determine the use of various strategies with a given client.
Definition of Case Conceptualization: Case conceptualization is a method and clinical strategy for obtaining and organizing information about a client, understanding and explaining the client’s situation and maladaptive patterns, guiding and focusing treatment, anticipating challenges and roadblocks, and preparing for successful termination.
This definition highlights interrelated functions when it is understood as a clinical strategy. These five functions are:
  1. 1. Obtaining and organizing. The case conceptualization process begins with the first client contact and formulating tentative hypotheses about the client’s presentation, expectations, and dynamics. These hypotheses are continually tested out while performing an integrative assessment guided by a search for patterns – maladaptive patterns – in the client’s current and past life with regard to precipitants and predisposing and perpetuating factors.
  2. 2. Explaining. As the contours of the client’s maladaptive pattern come into focus and hypotheses are refined, a diagnostic, clinical, and cultural formulation emerges. Within these formulations is a likely explanation of the factors that account for the client’s reactions in the past, the present, and the future without treatment. This explanation also provides a rationale for treatment that is tailored to the client’s needs, expectations, culture, and personality dynamics.
  3. 3. Guiding and focusing treatment. Based on this explanation, a treatment formulation emerges, and strategies for specifying treatment targets and for focusing and implementing treatment are developed.
  4. 4. Anticipating obstacles and challenges. One test of an effective case conceptualization is its viability in predicting the most likely obstacles and challenges throughout the stages of therapy, particularly those involving active engagement in and commitments to the treatment process, adherence, resistance, ambivalence, alliance ruptures, transference enactments, relapse, and termination.
  5. 5. Preparing for termination. The case conceptualization also assists therapists to recognize when the most important therapy goals and treatment targets have been addressed and to identify when and how to prepare for termination (Cucciare & O’Donohue, 2008). The process of terminating treatment can be quite stressful for some clients, particularly those with dependency issues, rejection sensitivity, and abandonment histories. Therefore, an effectively constructed case conceptualization which anticipates these considerations can be immensely useful in preparing the client for termination (Sperry, 2010).

Clinically Useful Case Conceptualizations

It has been said that a clinically useful case conceptualization provides the necessary explanatory power (a compelling explanation for the presenting problem) and predictive power (anticipation of the obstacles and facilitators to treatment success) for effectively and competently planning and guiding the treatment process. So, what specifically characterizes a clinically useful case conceptualization?
Before giving our own opinion on this question, we’d like you to participate in a short experiment. Following are three case conceptualizations of the same client. They are labeled “Version 1,” “Version 2,” and “Version 3.” Each differs in length and emphasis. Please read all three, without looking at the “commentary” that follows each. Then, ask yourself the question: “Which version (1, 2, or 3) best explains the client and best specifies a treatment plan and the likelihood of a positive outcome?” Then, feel free to go back and read the commentaries that reflect our choice and the reasons for it.

Version 1

Geri is a 35-year-old, African American female who was referred by her company’s human resources director for evaluation and treatment following three weeks of depressed mood. Other symptoms include loss of energy, markedly diminished interest, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and increasing social isolation. Of note is a family history of depression, including a maternal aunt who presumably overdosed on sleeping pills. She denies suicidal ideation and plan, now and in the past, saying that her religion forbids it. Geri meets Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental ...

Table of contents