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Clinical Case Conceptualization With Couples and Families

Case conceptualization refers to how a therapist thinks about, or conceptualizes, the client’s concerns. These conceptualizations inform all aspects of treatment, including who should attend sessions, the type of therapeutic relationship, the therapist’s theoretical orientation, and therapeutic interventions. Each theoretical model has a unique approach to developing a case conceptualization. Arguably, the primary distinction between theories is how each conceptualizes client problems. For example, humanistic family therapists focus on the emotional dynamics and communication in a family system, whereas an intergenerational family therapist would conceptualize the same presenting problems by focusing on cross-generational patterns, triangulation (bringing a third person into relationships), family projection processes (how family patterns are passed from parents to children), and differentiation (the ability to balance closeness and togetherness and balance feelings ...

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