Collaborative Case Conceptualization: Working Effectively with Clients in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

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"Case conceptualization is among the most challenging aspects of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Many therapists feel stymied by the task of formulating client problems in a way that is both efficient and accurate. This groundbreaking book describes an easy-to-understand new approach that standardizes the conceptualization process, incorporates client strengths, evolves throughout treatment, and enlists the active participation of clients. The authors are renowned practitioners and CBT innovators who provide a powerful framework for engaging clients and making sound treatment decisions, even in complex clinical situations." "Accessible and highly practical, the book brings the conceptualization process to life with vivid examples and sample dialogues. Step by step, the authors show how to collaborate with clients to develop and test conceptualizations that illuminate personal strengths as well as problems, and that deepen in explanatory power as treatment progresses. Working together as a team enables therapist and client to identify and target goals that make sense to both of them. An extended case illustration demonstrates the evolution of conceptualization over the entire course of CBT with a multiproblem individual. Emphasis is given to promoting resilience and coping while decreasing psychological distress. Special features include self-assessment checklists and learning exercises to help therapists build their conceptualization skills. The authors also review the research base on conceptualization and discuss important future directions for testing and refining their model." Infused with the knowledge and real-world experience of master clinicians, this book offersclear-cut yet flexible tools for tailoring CBT to each client's needs. It is essential reading for practitioners and supervisors in clinical psychology, psychiatry, counseling, and social work, as well as students and residents, It will serve as a text in graduate-level CBT courses and clinical practica.
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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

"A book which makes case conceptualization immediately accessible to clinicians....Kuyken and colleagues demonstrate a keen cultural alertness when conceptualizing problems and intervening with clients. The book is beautifully written and cogently organized. Kuyken and colleagues brilliantly detail a layered approach to case conceptualization....The writing style is engaging and accessible....Readers can tell they are in the presence of gifted clinicians and teachers when reading the book. There is a palpable intimacy in the words, case examples, and teaching tools....The many clinical examples come to life with engaging dialogues."--Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy
Mental Health Occupational Therapy

"The text is well structured and themes develop in such a way as to be accessible and meaningful to clinicians of varying experience....Provides a sound foundation in the development of an essential skill set."--Mental Health Occupational Therapy
From the Publisher

"An important and timely book that will be of great interest to clinicians and researchers. CBT texts rarely provide detailed guidance on conceptualization. Written by internationally recognized experts, this book fills the gap by providing clinicians with numerous insightful tips about how to develop conceptualizations, and, crucially, how to link those conceptualizations to interventions. Ways of teaching conceptualization are outlined, and a much-needed research agenda for the area is advanced. A major achievement."--David M. Clark, DPhil, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  "The authors have combined their impressive strengths as CBT practitioners, teachers, and researchers to develop a new, empirically grounded model of case conceptualization. At its core is a collaborative relationship between therapist and client and an explicit focus on recognizing and building client resilience. This model is a flexible tool that will aid therapist, client, and supervisor throughout therapy. Rich with case examples, the book will be a welcome addition to graduate courses on psychotherapy or case formulation."--Tracy D. Eells, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, University of Louisville School of Medicine  
"What a marvelous addition to the conceptualization literature! This intriguing book compellingly fuses theoretical acuity, in-depth research understanding, and true clinical creativity. Extended case examples bring the text vividly to life, and the innovative emphasis on fostering clients' resilience and strengths adds a unique dimension to conceptualization work. An essential guide for the novice and a rich source of new ideas and inspiration for experienced cognitive therapists."--Melanie Fennell, PhD, Associate Trainer, Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Oxford University Dept of Psychiatry, UK

"This book sets a gold standard for how to develop individualized case conceptualizations with our clients. While cognitive therapy has always emphasized partnership between therapist and client, Kuyken, Padesky, and Dudley demonstrate a radical commitment to collaboration that brings new insights into how the client can be at the center of every therapy. I was especially delighted by the three-chapter demonstration of how conceptualization occurs over time with a single client. Offering a real-world illustration of the approach, this in-depth example shows how conceptualizations can evolve to become both more encompassing and simpler. Another innovative hallmark of the authors' model is its incorporation of client strengths at each stage. This book is destined to be one of the most important and widely used works on case conceptualization for many years to come."--Aaron T. Beck, MD, University Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania Medical School

website of the British Psychological Society

"In the brave new world of IAPT, with CBT as the dominant theoretical model, this book is one likely to please advocates and cynics alike....It illustrates the process of case conceptualisation over time with the emphasis on conceptualisation as a shared experience between client and practitioner. This is beautifully demonstrated by means of numerous sample dialogues and helpful 'Inside the therapist's head' thought boxes. Clear illustrations and tables along with a summary of a chapter's main points make for a readable text.", website of the British Psychological Society
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Case conceptualization can often be a daunting task for therapists. This book is a reminder that one of the primary tenets of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is collaboration with the patient and it shows how the therapist can work with the patient to mutually conceptualize the case.
Purpose: The aim of this book is to introduce a collaborative model for case conceptualization throughout treatment and to assist therapists in building their conceptualization skills.
Audience: The book is intended for mental health professionals and paraprofessionals who are engaged in therapy. Students will also find this of interest, especially when tackling the challenge of case conceptualization for the first time. The authors are world-renowned for their CBT skills and training materials.
Features: The first chapter incorporates an overview of case conceptualization and the empirical evidence for it. The levels of conceptualization and the evolution of this process through therapy are discussed next. The third chapter includes case examples of how the conceptualization process can proceed collaboratively. There also is a nice chapter accentuating the positives — patient strengths and resilience. In later chapters, plenty of case examples are accompanied by sample dialogues and side notes that let readers know what the therapist was thinking. The book is filled with summary tables, flow charts, diagrams, and even illustrated examples of materials, such as coping cards. For supervisors and more experienced therapists, there is a chapter providing guidance in the instruction of case conceptualization. Along with this chapter are multiple appendixes that outline competencies and ways of achieving those for different level therapists. Each chapter has a nice summary at the end. The references are current and pertinent.
Assessment: This is a very useful companion to any CBT training program and will provide a novel and more elegant approach to case conceptualization for many therapists. Readers will find the information very accessible and the case examples highly valuable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781462504480
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/17/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 366
  • Sales rank: 320,186
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Willem Kuyken, PhD, is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Exeter, United Kingdom; Cofounder of the Mood Disorders Centre; and a Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. His primary research and clinical interests are case conceptualization and cognitive-behavioral approaches to depression, and he has published more than 50 articles and book chapters. Dr. Kuyken is a recipient of the May Davidson Award from the British Psychological Society.

Christine A. Padesky, PhD, is a Distinguished Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and recipient of its Aaron T. Beck Award. She is an internationally renowned speaker, consultant, and coauthor of six books, including the bestselling Mind Over Mood. Dr. Padesky's numerous awards include the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology Award from the California Psychological Association. Through her website,, she produces audiovisual programs on case conceptualization and other topics that provide CBT training for therapists in more than 45 countries.

Robert Dudley, PhD, is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist for the Early Intervention in Psychosis Service at the Northumberland, Tyne, and Wear Mental Health NHS Trust, United Kingdom. He also serves on the staff of the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University. Dr. Dudley's primary clinical and research focus is the understanding and treatment of psychotic symptoms. As a clinician, trainer, and supervisor, he developed an interest in case conceptualization and has undertaken several research projects in this area.

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Table of Contents

1. The Procrustean Dilemma

2. The Case Conceptualization Crucible: A New Model

3. Two Heads Are Better Than One: Collaborative Empiricism

4. Incorporating Client Strengths and Building Resilience

5. “Can You Help Me?”: Descriptive Case Conceptualization

6. “Why Does This Keep Happening to Me?”: Cross-Sectional Explanatory Conceptualizations

7. “Does My Future Look Like My Past?”: Longitudinal Explanatory Conceptualizations

8. Learning and Teaching Case Conceptualization

9. Appraising the Model

Appendix. Aid to History Taking Form

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