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Between manualized treatments and principle-guided psychotherapy: illustration in the case of Caroline
Pragmatic Case Study in Psychotherapy
My case study of "Caroline"-a 26 year old presenting with depression, PTSD symptoms, and a history of sexual abuse as a teenager-represents a "third way" between (1) a strict adherence to a manualized treatment, and (2) a principle-guided therapy, in which the therapy follows particular theoretical concepts, but depends on the therapist's clinical judgement to flexibly apply them to the individual case. Specifically, in my therapy with Caroline (Kramer, 2009), I employed Foa and Rothbaum's (1998) cognitive-behavioral, "Prolonged Exposure" (PE) manual for PTSD, but deviated from it in certain ways based upon my evaluation of Caroline's individualized goals and reactions using Grawe and Caspar's "Plan Analysis," which is a cross-theoretical model for assessment and treatment planning. In their commentaries on my case study of Caroline, Caspar (2009) and Haldimann-Balli (see Appendix in Kramer, 2009) support my use of this third way. On the other hand, the other commentators-Muller (2009) and Hembree and Brinen (2009)-critique my handling of the case, arguing that strict adherence to the Foa and Rothbaum manual would have resulted in a more cost-effective therapy. In this article, I respond to the important issues raised by the four commentators.
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