Subjected to Proof: The Advocate's Perspective


  • Alexandra Jessup Altman St. Michael's College, Colchester, VT



panels of psychological inquiry, quasi-judicial method, jury hearing, case study, clinical case study


Assuming the role of the "advocate" in the Panel of Psychological Inquiry provided me a unique opportunity to read and examine a master’s thesis case study (Podetz, 2008, 2011) in great depth. The task required a familiarity with current discourse on the presentation of written clinical case material, and an interest in the task of establishing some criteria by which the validity of claims being made could be assessed. This author had first to establish to her own satisfaction, that the case being presented was indeed defensible. Having done so, in conjunction with the case study author, the advocate decided which of the salient points made were ideally suited to oral defense supported by both witness testimony and documentation. Four claims were argued: (1) It is absolutely clear that the patient, “Anna”, presented with a serious psychopathology. (2) It is clear that the therapist/intern provided humanistic, psychodynamically informed therapy to “Anna”. (3) It is highly probable that the treatment resulted in increased health and growth. (4) Ms. Podetz’s premise, that “Anna’s” cutting served a self-regulatory function as it offered relief from the tension of both numbness and excessive anxiety, was valid and critical to the client’s eventual growth. The successful conclusion of the Panel of Inquiry was a rewarding experience for the advocate, but it raised questions about the possible need for elaboration of the meaning  of  the judge’s rulings, as well as the need for an agreed upon vocabulary to describe qualities of character  therapists’ possess which do often influence therapeutic outcomes.  

Author Biography

Alexandra Jessup Altman, St. Michael's College, Colchester, VT

Aan Fishman, Ph.D. Editor-in-Chief, Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy Professor of Clinical and Organizational Psychology Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology Rutgers University Mailing address: 57 Jaffray Court Irvington, NY 10533 914-693-8549 fax: 603-917-2567 email:




How to Cite

Altman, A. J. (2011). Subjected to Proof: The Advocate’s Perspective. Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, 7(1), 64–73.



Ronald Miller's "Panels of Psychological Inquiry"