The Pragmatic Case Study in Psychotherapy: A Mixed Methods Approach Informed by Psychology’s Striving for Methodological Quality

The Pragmatic Case Study in Psychotherapy: A Mixed Methods Approach Informed by Psychology’s... At least as far back as Plato and Aristotle, psychology began as a stepchild of philosophy. The establishment by Wilhelm Wundt in 1879 of the first formal psychological laboratory focused on studying psychophysiological phenomena was psychology’s declaration of independence as a discipline. By positioning itself as the application of natural-science-based, empirical methods involving quantitative, group-based approaches to psychological topics, the discipline consolidated its independence and its societal status and clout. This paper first summarizes these developments, to highlight the causes of psychology’s historical resistance to qualitative case studies, and to qualitative research generally. I then briefly review three movements that have stimulated psychology to slowly but surely embrace qualitative case study research, with the addition of complementary, quantitative data: the rise of postmodern philosophy, the related “cognitive revolution” in psychology, and the “mixed methods” model of research in the social sciences that synergistically combines qualitative and quantitative methods. The result of this embrace, in the context of psychology’s established science-oriented identity, has been for psychology to add quality-of-knowledge guidelines for elevating the yield of case study knowledge. This result is illustrated by three examples: Kazdin’s (J Consult Clin Psychol 49:183–192, 1981) strategies for reducing threats to the validity of conclusions from case studies; Elliott, Fischer, and Rennie’s (Br J Clin Psychol 38:215–229, 1999) development of methodological standards for both quantitative and qualitative research; and my own work in developing the Pragmatic Case Study (PCS), which particularly reflects three of the recent trends in psychology: pluralism, pragmatism, and the mixed methods approach. Comparisons between organized social work’s and organized psychology’s approach to psychotherapy training and research is noted, with the two fields starting off in opposite directions and recently coming together. Clinical Social Work Journal Springer Journals

The Pragmatic Case Study in Psychotherapy: A Mixed Methods Approach Informed by Psychology’s Striving for Methodological Quality

Loading next page...
Springer US
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Psychology; Clinical Psychology; Personality and Social Psychology
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site


You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.

DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

Monthly Plan

  • Read unlimited articles
  • Personalized recommendations
  • No expiration
  • Print 20 pages per month
  • 20% off on PDF purchases
  • Organize your research
  • Get updates on your journals and topic searches


Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial

Best Deal — 39% off

Annual Plan

  • All the features of the Professional Plan, but for 39% off!
  • Billed annually
  • No expiration
  • For the normal price of 10 articles elsewhere, you get one full year of unlimited access to articles.



billed annually
Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial