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Clinical case presentations

What is case conceptualisation?

Allen (2006) describes case conceptualisation as:

… the process of using sound theoretical frameworks to organise interview data, observational data and assessment data to formulate hypotheses that may explain the underlying dynamics of a presenting problem in order to formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

Allan, C. (2006). In the room: Case conceptualisation I. Retrieved April 29, 2011,  from



Have I:

Carefully read the case and noted the main issues and stakeholders in the case?

Given a brief description of the case to give your audience a context of the main issues?

Discussed each issue with reference to the academic literature?

Evaluated the solutions or ideas for each issue to find the ones most suitable?

Made final recommendations of how to resolve the case?

Clinical case conceptualisation

Clinical case conceptualization is the process of using patients’ interview data to create a model describing the patient's symptoms and determine a plan of action for treatment.

One such model is the 4Ps model of clinical case conceptualisations.

It organises the case information into 4 categories:

1.            Predisposing factors

2.            Precipitating factors

3.            Perpetuating factors

4.            Protective factors

Predisposing factors are the historical or genetic elements that contribute to the current problem.

Precipitating factors are the current triggers i.e. what sets off this problem or behaviours.

Perpetuating factors are the internal and external thoughts and behaviours that maintain the problem.

Protective factors are the strengths, social supports and positive patterns of behaviour.

Why do we do case study responses?

A case study is a way to apply the theoretical knowledge gained from the academic literature to real life situations that you may encounter in your work.

Formulating a case study response enables you to;

analyse the issues in a real life situation,

apply the knowledge gained from your academic reading and research and

draw conclusions about how to respond as a professional to that situation.