Case Study Writing: Description Of The Presenting Problem

Drafting a good case study report is both an art and a science. You must be well informed on the particulars of the client and his or her case, but you must also know a great deal about treatment modalities in general, and possess some top notch writing skills. Only then can you do the case justice.

Describing the presenting problem of the client can be especially tricky. You must have a great deal of knowledge about the particulars of the case, but also understand the broader scope and possess some theoretical knowledge about the problem and other people who suffer from it. If you’re struggling with this aspect of case study writing, you may want to follow some of the tips below.

Do Background Research

Every clinician can benefit from some background research, no matter how well informed they are. You may be an expert in some psychological disorders, but that does not mean you don’t have room to learn more. Take notes on the problems your client is suffering from, and use your academic references to collect more data on what these symptoms tend to mean. Read previous case studies on clients with similar diagnoses or similar patterns of disordered behavior and cognition. Read some journal articles on different treatment methods, and even consider picking up a few books on the disorders.

Get To Know Your Client

You should also become intimately comfortable with the particulars of your client’s case. Do not just focus on their diagnosis or the problems that provoked them to seek treatment. Instead, remember that every psychological problem is the result of a biopsychosocial system, not a single root cause that can be quickly dispatched with. Collect a deep case history for your client. Contact their previous therapists or doctors. Academic transcripts and job reviews can also be of use, and can help you construct a proper narrative of the client’s life. If you have the client’s permission, contact family or friends with a few background questions to verify your data.

Write Humanely

In your case study, describe your client as a fully developed and complex individual. They are more than a single diagnosis or set of symptoms, and your language should reflect that. Describe them as a “person suffering from schizophrenia” for example, rather than “a schizophrenic”. Keep some of the background narrative information you have collected in your report. Your readers will care more about the client and his or her treatment if they can picture the client as a functional member of society.


Published on  June 8th, 2016

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