Thematic Mapping in Case Conceptualization: A Test of Clinical Efficacy
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Case conceptualization is a critical part of mental health treatment, often serving as the preliminary step to treatment planning, psychotherapy, assessment, and diagnosis. However, the field of psychology currently lacks an empirically-supported, standardized method of transdiagnostic and transtheoretical case conceptualization. In addition, there are multiple models of case formulation that are conflicting in definition, contain confusing protocol, lack cultural consideration, or are not applicable for all clinicians. This leaves many psychologists vulnerable to the creation of case conceptualizations that are influenced by common cognitive errors or bias. Thematic Mapping, a novel method of case formulation originated by Dr. Charles Ridley, was created in response to this need for a standardized, culturally-focused model that clinicians of any level of training, theoretical adherence, or expertise may use to facilitate positive therapeutic outcomes. This dissertation subjects Thematic Mapping to an empirical test by exposing six second-year psychology doctoral students to the model in a 14-hour workshop introduced in varying intervals across six weeks. Students’ case formulations and activities related to the Thematic Mapping process were assessed across the workshop for level of complexity, systematic process, thematic goodness-of-fit, and inclusiveness of culturally-sensitive critical client data. Results suggest that Thematic Mapping, as introduced in a workshop format, significantly improves case conceptualizations created by early-career doctoral students in all four aforementioned areas.
Jeffrey, Christina E (2017). Thematic Mapping in Case Conceptualization: A Test of Clinical Efficacy. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from