Janelle’s Case Study: Case Conceptualization

Learning Objectives

  • To integrate theory into a case study.
  • To research literature in support of a case conceptualization.
  • To implement case conceptualization, planning, and counseling interventions within a case study.
  • To identify how diversity, cultural and contextual frameworks, and factors influence conceptualization, goal setting, and treatment.


This activity is designed to prepare students in conceptualizing a case that includes client background and context, relevant theoretical framework, preliminary assessments, and summaries of client’s presenting issues and goals. This activity is also designed to incorporate research and evidence-based practices to support choices in a case conceptualization.

Instructions: Take note

Students will engage in formulating a case conceptualization for one case study (The case of Janelle). The case conceptualization will include client background and context, the selection of one (1) major counselling theory as the theoretical framework (i.e. Cognitive-Behavioral Theory, Person Centered) to illustrate the ability to identify how the client’s difficulties (specifically symptoms and problems in living) have developed and been maintained. Students will also identify theoretically-driven treatment goals with specific interventions (techniques) utilized in counselling to facilitate the client’s progress in treatment. Students will engage in a topical literature review of the current research that relates to the client’s presenting issue and background. 

The student will provide the following pieces in this project: 

  1. Introduction: Write a brief introductory paragraph that prepares the reader by identifying the purpose of the paper and providing the organization of the paper 

  2. Client Background and Context: Describe the client and client’s history as provided in the case study. Do not add extra information. Only work with what you know. Briefly describe the client’s presenting issues and concerns that are provided in the case study. All symptoms are to be clearly identified.
  3. Theoretical Framework: Identify and describe one counselling theory discussed within this class (such as Client Centered, Cognitive Behavioral, Solution Focused, etc.) that provides the theoretical foundation for the treatment plan for counselling the client. Summarize the rationale for the selected counselling theory, incorporating the theory’s philosophy and constructs Utilize research that supports and provides a rationale for the selected theory and incorporates the theory’s overarching philosophy. Consider the following points in your decision-making process for selecting and justifying the chosen counselling theory: 
    1. What population/problem was it created to address? What are the underlying philosophies? 
    1. What propositions/ideas are at the foundation of the theory? 
    1. How does the theory describe a person’s distress? 
    1. How does the theory describe how a person moves from psychopathology to health? 
    1. Given the theory you have described, how do you as the counsellor understand the client’s distress? 
  4. Preliminary Assessment/Case Conceptualization: 

    • Assessment: Consider a preliminary diagnosis with the use of research (such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and justify this diagnosis fully based on presenting concerns and symptoms. Using research, identify assessment tools that can be used to uphold/explore diagnosis rational as well as explore issues and symptoms presented by client. Discuss the rationale of assessments selected and how the client was considered in the selection of assessment instruments. 

    • Case Conceptualization: Explore case conceptualizations within Sperry and Sperry (2020) as guidance. Your formulation may be presented in a chart as in Sperry and Sperry (2020) or as a narrative. As part of the conceptualization, present the client’s treatment plan to address the client’s presenting issues and concerns. Include the frequency of counselling sessions, what they will entail, and treatment interventions involved. Identify 1-2 long term goals. What makes these goals feasible and sufficient to address the client’s presenting issues and concerns? Identify the interventions to be utilized in counselling sessions with the client that align with the selected counselling theory and the long-term treatment goals. How are these interventions appropriate and specific to the client at this time? Provide empirical or professional literature support the selection of the interventions. 
  5. Topical Literature Review: Throughout your paper, you are expected to support your work with empirical and/or professional literature. However, in this section, specifically, your focus will be on the research used to support your many decisions thus far as well as the considerations of the relevancy to your client and to the themes of your client’s case conceptualization. This is the time to dig in deeper to the literature. Address questions below: 
  • What research supports your plan for this client? 
  • What themes are present in this case and how do they correlate to the theory chosen and the research used? 
  • What research upholds the treatment and goals in your case conceptualization? 
  • Share research that upholds the correlations between the client’s case, the theory chosen, the components of the treatment plan, and the interventions chosen.

Structure: Take note

  • Required components: Title page, reference page. An introduction and conclusion are required. Do not add an abstract, appendixes, or table of contents. Do not use a running head.
  • Length of Assignment: The text body of paper (i.e., not including references or title page) should consist of approximately 3,000 words, (i.e., 10-12 double-spaced typed pages, Times New Roman font size: 12).
  • Format: Please format your assignment in Word (files with extension .doc or .docx)
  • References: 10 recent (last 10 years), peer-reviewed journal articles must be included. All sources must be cited within your paper and be present in your references. All references should be cited within your paper. In ADDITION to the 10 additional peer reviewed resources, you may cite any of the articles in the course readings and your texts.


Please use the rubric as a guide. Write succinctly and from first person point of view – you are the counselor of this client case study.


Any sources used to support your written narrative should be cited using correct APA format. It is important to select credible sources for assignments not Wikipedia.

Include this resources: Young, M. (2021).Learning the art of helping: Building blocks and techniques (7th ed.). Pearson., 

 eMentalHealth.ca (2021). Counseling and Therapy. Retrieved from https://www.ementalhealth.ca/index.php?m=headingInfoSheets&ID=84 

Madigan, S., Racine, N., Cooke, J. E., & Korczak, D. J. (2021). COVID-19 and telemental health: Benefits, challenges, and future directions. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne, 62(1), 5–11. https://doi.org/10.1037/cap0000259

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