Case Book in Abnormal Psychology

Case Book in Abnormal Psychology

Case Book in Abnormal Psychology

Case Book in Abnormal Psychology

Excerpt

A clinical case study may be considered the organization and interpretation of observations, communications, and test findings within some theoretical framework. The requirements of a useful framework are that it be broad enough to encompass a variety of data yet specific enough to be applicable to the individual case. There are many theoretical frameworks that more or less satisfy these criteria. Which one the investigator chooses to use will be a function of his intellectual affiliations and personal inclination. Whatever his choice he will have to begin his work of organizing and interpreting with a single datum: the presenting complaint or symptom of the patient. This may be the patient's version of what is wrong with him, or the complaint of others regarding some aspect of his behavior. In either case the investigator may consider the symptom an explicit index of dysfunction, and look further to discover the particular nature of the dysfunction and its severity.

The same symptom may indicate entirely different degrees of severity depending upon its relation to the total context of which it is a part. Through making the symptom as explicit and differentiated as possible one begins to see differences in what is thought to be wrong. Two five-year-olds may both be referred to a clinic as "behavior problems," but are quite different in respect to the seriousness of their respective problems: the five-year-old who cannot yet talk and has learned little about caring for his . . .

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