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Case Conceptualization


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Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction to the Chapters in Part I. Case Conceptualizations: An Overview. Assessment and Diagnostic Formulations. Explanations and Clinical and Cultural Formulations. Treatment Planning and Treatment Formulations. Part II: Introduction to the Chapters in Part II. Biopsychosocial Case Conceptualizations. Cognitive-Behavioral Case Conceptualizations. Brief Dynamic Case Conceptualizations. Solution-Focused Case Conceptualizations. Adlerian Case Conceptualizations.

About the Author

Len Sperry, MD, PhD, is Professor of Mental Health Counseling at Florida Atlantic University, and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He has practiced and researched psychotherapy for four decades and has taught courses, led workshops, and written about case conceptualizations for the past 25 years. He has published 60 professional books, including one of the first on case conceptualization, Psychiatric Case Formulations. Jonathan Sperry, PhD, is a licensed clinical social worker and a licensed mental health counselor with a Ph.D. in Counseling. He is both a staff therapist at the Counseling and Psychological Services and an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University. He teaches graduate courses in psychotherapy techniques with an emphasis on case conceptualization, and he has coauthored book chapters on psychotherapy and psychopathology, on intimacy and infidelity, and on psychological and spiritual well-being.


"This book makes this often misunderstood competency so simple and clear that you can read it over a weekend and begin producing efficient and effective case conceptualizations in your practice by Monday. Regardless of your clinical profession or orientation, the authors provide a wealth of case examples, exercises, tools, and templates to help you easily master this competency. So, please take the time in the near-term to make Case Conceptualization: Mastering this Competency with Ease and Confidence an indispensible resource for your life-long professional development." - Ronald J. Chenail, PhD, Professor, Nova Southeastern University, Florida; Past Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

"Finally, a book that teaches integrative case conceptualization. The authors provide a readily understandable method for learning this necessary aspect of effective therapy. It is must reading for students and practitioners alike." - Jon Carlson, PsyD, EdD, Distinguished Professor, Governors State University, Illinois

"In Case Conceptualization: Mastering This Competency with Ease and Confidence, Drs. Len and Jonathan Sperry offer a remarkably useful, thoughtful, and easy-to-read and understand approach to clinical case conceptualization from multiple theoretical perspectives. Many illustrative case examples are provided as well. This book should be required reading for any student interested in a career as a therapist including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors of all stripes. Licensed professionals also will surely value this book as well. Hopefully, many clients will get much better assessment and treatment services thanks to the influence of this important work." - Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP, Professor of Psychology, Santa Clara University; Author, Contemporary Clinical Psychology

"Case Conceptualization translates theory into practice in a way that therapists will find user-friendly and immediately applicable in everyday practice. There is a clarity, ease, and elegance to this integrative approach to conceptualizing cases that both emerging and experienced therapists will appreciate. Destined to be the gold standard in the field." - Lisa Miller, PhD, Director of Clinical Training, Teachers College Columbia University, New York; past president, Division of Psychology and Religion of the American Psychological Association; editor, The Oxford Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality

"Although case conceptualization is a foundational competency for effective counseling and psychotherapy, it is one that clinicians often struggle to master. Drs. Len and Jonathan Sperry have developed a text that makes learning and using the case conceptualization process clear and accessible. This book will be an invaluable resource for clinicians-in-training, experienced clinicians, and clinical supervisors alike. I will use it and will recommend it to colleagues." - Richard E. Watts, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Counseling, Director, Center for Research and Doctoral Studies in Counselor Education, Sam Houston State University, Texas

"Many of us were drawn to the helping professions because we had some basic relational skills.The challenge in counseling and psychotherapy is moving these initial skills into competent, professional practice. The first edition in 2012 became the book to use in pre-practicum and practicum, as an evaluation matrix for internships, and most importantly, as a guide for postgraduate practice in the field. The second edition adds important applications like couple and families, adolescents and young adults, and DBT and ACT. As a counselor educator, this is one of those rare books that I will be using in multiple courses to reinforce the learning of the central, professional aspects of our work." - James Robert Bitter, EdD, Professor of Counseling, East Tennessee State University

"Far too often, mental health professionals embark with clients on a therapeutic journey with no clear map of the territory. With usual clarity and wisdom, Len and Jonathan Sperry explicate an integrated case conceptualization model. A must-read for clinicians of all experience levels!" - Craig S. Cashwell, PhD, LPC, NCC, ACS, CSAT, Professor, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

"Case Conceptualization removes the anxiety felt by most students and professors in how to present case material. This text offers the best approach in how to organize a case presentation with broad applicability ranging from clinical case conferences to grand rounds and even court testimony. It is the single sourcebook as a desk reference on this subject matter to prepare a clear, straightforward and conceptually sophisticated case to colleagues, students, professors, and a critical audience or even a rebuttal witness." - S. Richard Sauber, PhD, ABPP, Editor, The American Journal of Family Therapy; Former Professor, Brown University, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania

"This book makes case conceptualization accessible and meaningful, and it provides a creative way for therapists to practice the process. Drs. Len and Jonathan Sperry convincingly demonstrate that integrative case conceptualization can capture the signature perspectives, attitudes, and methods of diverse therapeutic orientations." - Ellen K. Quick, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Kaiser Permanente, San Diego; Author, Doing What Works in Brief Therapy and Core Competencies in the Solution-Focused and Strategic Therapies

"At a time when the mental health field is often driven by partisan, theoretical debates, Dr. Len Sperry and Dr. Jonathan Sperry have created a practical, clearly-written, integrated approach to understanding and treating emotional and behavioral problems. Rather than 'taking sides' in the often strident internecine arguments regarding the causes and treatment of psychiatric disorders, Sperry and Sperry show how the case conceptualization can reflect the most useful elements of biological, psychological, social, and cultural forms of understanding. I believe this book will be of practical value to mental health clinicians of nearly any background and orientation, and will encourage a humane, broad-based understanding of those who come to us for help." - Ronald Pies, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Lecturer on Bioethics & Humanities, SUNY Upstate Medical University, New York; Clinical Professor Of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston

"This new volume is a unique resource for comparing and contrasting five major models of case conceptualization, utilizing extensive case material to illustrate the respective step-by-step procedures. This valuable training guide also provides the reader with skill-building exercises, thus delivering a more powerful learning experience, and offering an important addition to the literature on case conceptualization." - Cory F. Newman, PhD, ABPP, Professor of Psychology, in Psychiatry; Director, Center for Cognitive Therapy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

"The entirety of this book can be summed up in the following quote from Alice in Wonderland: 'One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don't know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn't matter.' If Alice had had this book, she would have understood the importance of case conceptualization and been able to take the best possible path and get to her destination in the most effective, efficient and straightforward manner. Len and Jonathan Sperry's clear and cogent style make the procedure, process, and purpose of case conceptualization understandable and useable for both novice and experienced clinicians." - Arthur Freeman, EdD, ScD, Director, Department of Behavioral Medicine, Midwestern University, Illinois

"The best available text on case conceptualization. Using a unique instructional format with tables that make everything crystal-clear, this book demonstrates how to write a sophisticated case conceptualization quickly and easily irrespective of your therapeutic orientation. Every mental health practitioner who ever struggled with how to write up a case will benefit from this book." - Brian A. Gerrard, PhD, Associate Professor, Counseling Psychology Department; Executive Director, Center for Child and Family Development, University of San Francisco

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