Culturally-Responsive Case Conceptualization

Document Type

Conference Session

Publication Date



Psychotherapists are living in the "era of accountability" in which practitioners are increasingly expected to provide counseling and therapy services that are effective. Increasingly, licensure bodies are requiring the demonstration of accountable, evidence-based practice and competence. Central to such accountability is the capacity to develop accurate and compelling case conceptualizations which can explain the client’s basic life pattern, focus treatment interventions, and anticipate treatment challenges.

Case conceptualization is considered by many to be the most important competency expected in clinical practice today. This expectation is problematic since training programs have only recently begun incorporating this key competency as a learning outcome. Equally problematic is that trainees and practitioners can be overwhelmed when attempting to conceptualize large amounts of clinical data and develop accurate conceptualizations and treatment plans. Across all theoretical approaches, "pattern recognition" has emerged as a useful strategy for sorting through large amounts of clinical case data and finding meaning and patterns.

This workshop describes a step-by-step strategy and process for developing a concise, accurate, and compelling case conceptualization and treatment plans. A clinical formulation includes a tentative hypothesis about causative factors of psychosocial difficulties, while and a treatment formulation links the case conceptualization to treatment plan objectives. These formulations will be introduced through the use of several cases will be used to illustrate the elements of case conceptualization.

  • Educational Objective 1: participants will learn the key elements of a culturally responsive case conceptualization: diagnostic formulations, clinical formulation, cultural formulation, and treatment formulation (linked to treatment planning)
  • Educational Objective 2: participants will learn an 8 step strategy for developing effective and culturally responsive case conceptualizations and treatment plans based on pattern recognition


Virtual Asia-Pacific Mental Health Symposium (VAMHS)


College of Arts and Sciences


Fully virtual conference.

Lindsay Turner, MS is clinical mental health counselor. She works in a private practice in Florida and received her MS at Lynn University. She is currently pursuing her doctorate at Barry University.

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