Case Conceptualization

A case conceptualization (sometimes called a case formulation) is the clinician’s collective understanding of a client’s presenting problems as viewed through a particular theoretical orientation, including explication of the biological, psychological, and social forces that are contributing to the client’s problems. The conceptualization usually links a set of co-occurring symptoms to a formal psychiatric diagnosis and, ultimately, a treatment plan. The case conceptualization evolves over time as the clinician’s understanding of the client grows and as treatment approaches fail or succeed. A strong case conceptualization is guided by the utilization of a theoretical orientation that provides a framework from which the clinician can condense and synthesize multiple pieces of information into a coherent and well-developed narrative. This narrative identifies the original precipitating cause(s) of ...

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