The Process of Thematic Mapping in Case Conceptualization. Academic Article uri icon


  • This article, the 4th in a series of 5, introduces the 3-stage process of thematic mapping: theme identification, theme interpretation, and theme intervention. Theme identification is based on inductive reasoning, in which clinicians seek to discover and describe behavioral patterns in emotionally charged episodes. Theme interpretation subsequently initiates a process of deductive reasoning, wherein clinicians distill the generalized pattern into dominant and subthemes. Each theme is then labeled with a compelling metaphor that is representative of the theme interpretation. In the 3rd stage, theme intervention, clinicians seek to change the dysfunctional dominant and subthemes through collaboration with the clients. The process unfolds within 5 overarching parameters: a focus on comprehensiveness, simplification, maximal objectivity/impartial subjectivity, observation and inference, and an idiographic approach. Alternative models of case formulation are offered in comparison to thematic mapping.

published proceedings

  • J Clin Psychol

author list (cited authors)

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

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

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

publication date

  • January 2017