Outline for Case Conceptualization
Case conceptualization refers to the process in which we make sense of a client's presenting concerns in the context of a theoretical framework and in order to plan for treatment goals and interventions. In other words, it refers to how we explain or understand the client's symptoms, personality characteristics, cognitions, feelings, and behaviors in the light of a particular theory or integration of theories. Such understanding should lead to the formulation of counseling goals and intervention strategies.
In this paper we will conceptualize the client's case from one theoretical orientation at a time. The content of the conceptualization of the ...view middle of the document...
For example, regarding Step 2, the psychodynamic approaches (Freud, or Adler) would not always take the presenting concerns at face value, but will assume that these concerns are symptoms of deeper seated problems that somehow relate to experiences that happened earlier on in the life of the person (from childhood on) when his/her sense of self was formed. In part, the feelings and thoughts associated with these problems and early experiences are likely to be in the unconscious or old life scripts.
Therefore, from the perspective of the psychodynamic theories, before moving on to help clients solve their presenting concerns, the counselor needs to obtain developmental information to form hypothesis regarding the origins of the presenting concerns, since there in may lie the key problem that needs to be addressed. This developmental information will also help the counselor form hypothesis regarding the sense-of-self the person may have formed in the context of these early experiences.
In addition to capturing (or describing) the clientâ€™s sense of self, from the psychodynamic perspective the counselor could identify the defense mechanisms that the person developed early on to deal with anxiety in the context of early experiences and examine to what extent the person still uses the same defenses in interpersonal relations and in times of stress.
Most likely the counselor will discover patterns of behavior (in relation to others and to the world) that help explain how the clientâ€™s particular sense of self and early experiences lead to their current conflicts.
The counselor may also identify specific stages of development ( Erikson) that were not resolved appropriately.
In carrying out Step 2 from the Adlerian perspective the counselor might explore the contributions of early experiences to current problems by exploring the clientsâ€™ life-style (family constellation and early recollections) and identifying the content of the private or faulty logic they developed in their attempts to strive for significance in the context of their family constellation. They would examine early memories, life scripts or family roles.
The counselor might also pay attention to the clientsâ€™ level of social interest/connection, since this is a sign of healthy mental functioning (according to Adler).
Humanistic Rogerian approaches
From a Rogerian perspective, in exploring the clientâ€™s presenting concerns the counselor theorizes that the client may be disconnected from parts of themselves. This disconnect, in turn, may result in feelings of incongruence and thus anxiety, and may have impaired their internal locus of control as well as delayed their self-actualizing tendency.
The Rogerian counselor may also examine the discrepancy between the clientâ€™s self-concept and ideal self-concept. Since the theory proposes that given the adequate facilitative conditions (empathy, positive regard, and congruence) in the...