Collaborative Case Conceptualization

Working Effectively with Clients in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Willem Kuyken, Christine A. Padesky, and Robert Dudley

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
December 10, 2008
ISBN 9781606230725
Price: $89.00
366 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
October 20, 2011
ISBN 9781462504480
Price: $39.00
366 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
March 1, 2011
ePub ?
Price: $39.00
366 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub) ?
Price: $42.90
366 Pages

Presenting an innovative framework for tailoring cognitive-behavioral interventions to each client's needs, this accessible book is packed with practical pointers and sample dialogues. Step by step, the authors show how to collaborate with clients to develop and test conceptualizations that illuminate personal strengths as well as problems, and that deepen in explanatory power as treatment progresses. An extended case illustration demonstrates the three-stage conceptualization process over the entire course of therapy with a multiproblem client. The approach emphasizes building resilience and coping while decreasing psychological distress. Special features include self-assessment checklists and learning exercises to help therapists build their conceptualization skills.

“The text is well structured and themes develop in such a way as to be accessible and meaningful to clinicians of varying experience....Provides a sound foundation in the development of an essential skill set.”

Mental Health Occupational Therapy

“A book which makes case conceptualization immediately accessible to clinicians....Kuyken and colleagues demonstrate a keen cultural alertness when conceptualizing problems and intervening with clients. The book is beautifully written and cogently organized. Kuyken and colleagues brilliantly detail a layered approach to case conceptualization....The writing style is engaging and accessible....Readers can tell they are in the presence of gifted clinicians and teachers when reading the book. There is a palpable intimacy in the words, case examples, and teaching tools....The many clinical examples come to life with engaging dialogues.”

Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

“In the brave new world of IAPT, with CBT as the dominant theoretical model, this book is one likely to please advocates and cynics alike....It illustrates the process of case conceptualisation over time with the emphasis on conceptualisation as a shared experience between client and practitioner. This is beautifully demonstrated by means of numerous sample dialogues and helpful 'Inside the therapist's head' thought boxes. Clear illustrations and tables along with a summary of a chapter's main points make for a readable text.”, website of the British Psychological Society

“An important and timely book that will be of great interest to clinicians and researchers. CBT texts rarely provide detailed guidance on conceptualization. Written by internationally recognized experts, this book fills the gap by providing clinicians with numerous insightful tips about how to develop conceptualizations, and, crucially, how to link those conceptualizations to interventions. Ways of teaching conceptualization are outlined, and a much-needed research agenda for the area is advanced. A major achievement.”

—David M. Clark, DPhil, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

“The authors have combined their impressive strengths as CBT practitioners, teachers, and researchers to develop a new, empirically grounded model of case conceptualization. At its core is a collaborative relationship between therapist and client and an explicit focus on recognizing and building client resilience. This model is a flexible tool that will aid therapist, client, and supervisor throughout therapy. Rich with case examples, the book will be a welcome addition to graduate courses on psychotherapy or case formulation.”

—Tracy D. Eells, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, University of Louisville School of Medicine

“What a marvelous addition to the conceptualization literature! This intriguing book compellingly fuses theoretical acuity, in-depth research understanding, and true clinical creativity. Extended case examples bring the text vividly to life, and the innovative emphasis on fostering clients' resilience and strengths adds a unique dimension to conceptualization work. An essential guide for the novice and a rich source of new ideas and inspiration for experienced cognitive therapists.”

—Melanie Fennell, PhD, Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

“This book sets a gold standard for how to develop individualized case conceptualizations with our clients. While cognitive therapy has always emphasized partnership between therapist and client, Kuyken, Padesky, and Dudley demonstrate a radical commitment to collaboration that brings new insights into how the client can be at the center of every therapy. I was especially delighted by the three-chapter demonstration of how conceptualization occurs over time with a single client. Offering a real-world illustration of the approach, this in-depth example shows how conceptualizations can evolve to become both more encompassing and simpler. Another innovative hallmark of the authors' model is its incorporation of client strengths at each stage. This book is destined to be one of the most important and widely used works on case conceptualization for many years to come.”

—Aaron T. Beck, MD, University Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

1. The Procrustean Dilemma

2. The Case Conceptualization Crucible: A New Model

3. Two Heads Are Better Than One: Collaborative Empiricism

4. Incorporating Client Strengths and Building Resilience

5. “Can You Help Me?”: Descriptive Case Conceptualization

6. “Why Does This Keep Happening to Me?”: Cross-Sectional Explanatory Conceptualizations

7. “Does My Future Look Like My Past?”: Longitudinal Explanatory Conceptualizations

8. Learning and Teaching Case Conceptualization

9. Appraising the Model

Appendix. Aid to History Taking Form

About the Authors

Willem Kuyken, PhD, is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Exeter, United Kingdom; Cofounder of the Mood Disorders Centre; and a Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. His primary research and clinical interests are case conceptualization and cognitive-behavioral approaches to depression, and he has published more than 50 articles and book chapters. Dr. Kuyken is a recipient of the May Davidson Award from the British Psychological Society.

Christine A. Padesky, PhD, a clinical psychologist, is cofounder of the Center for Cognitive Therapy in Huntington Beach, California; codeveloper of Strengths-Based CBT; and coauthor of seven books, including the bestselling self-help resource Mind Over Mood, Second Edition. Dr. Padesky is a recipient of the Aaron T. Beck Award for significant and enduring contributions to the field of cognitive therapy from the Academy of Cognitive Therapy (now the Academy of Cognitive and Behavior Therapies; ACBT), the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology Award from the California Psychological Association, and the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) Award for Most Influential International CBT Therapist. She has been named a Distinguished Founding Fellow of the ACBT and an Honorary Fellow of the BABCP. The BABCP voted Mind Over Mood the most influential CBT book of all time. Dr. Padesky has taught workshops to more than 50,000 therapists internationally and is renowned for her ability to integrate theory, empiricism, creativity, and practical therapy skills. She consults worldwide and develops audio and video training materials for therapists. Her free video training series for therapists is posted at Her websites are (for the general public) and (for mental health professionals).

Robert Dudley, PhD, is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist for the Early Intervention in Psychosis Service at the Northumberland, Tyne, and Wear Mental Health NHS Trust, United Kingdom. He also serves on the staff of the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University. Dr. Dudley's primary clinical and research focus is the understanding and treatment of psychotic symptoms. As a clinician, trainer, and supervisor, he developed an interest in case conceptualization and has undertaken several research projects in this area.


Practitioners, students, and residents in clinical psychology, psychiatry, counseling, social work, and related mental health fields.

Course Use

Serves as a supplemental text in graduate-level CBT courses and clinical practica.