Case Mis-Conceptualization in Psychological Treatment: An Enduring Clinical Problem. Academic Article uri icon


  • Case conceptualization, an integral component of mental health treatment, aims to facilitate therapeutic gains by formulating a clear picture of a client's psychological presentation. However, despite numerous attempts to improve this clinical activity, it remains unclear how well existing methods achieve their purported purpose. Case formulation is inconsistently defined in the literature and implemented in practice, with many methods varying in complexity, theoretical grounding, and empirical support. In addition, many of the methods demand a precise clinical acumen that is easily influenced by judgmental and inferential errors. These errors occur regardless of clinicians' level of training or amount of clinical experience. Overall, the lack of a consensus definition, a diversity of methods, and susceptibility of clinicians to errors are manifestations of the state of crisis in case conceptualization. This article, the 2nd in a series of 5 on thematic mapping, argues the need for more reliable and valid models of case conceptualization.

published proceedings

  • J Clin Psychol

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Ridley, C. R., Jeffrey, C. E., & Roberson, R. B.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Ridley, Charles R||Jeffrey, Christina E||Roberson, Richard B

publication date

  • April 2017