The Case of "Jane and Joe": A Diary-Based, Cross-Contextual Case Study


  • Thomas Mackrill University of Aarhus



psychotherapy, counseling, diaries, adult children, everyday life, cross-context theory, phenomenology, sense of agency, case studies, clinical case studies


This case study of the client "Jane" seen by the therapist "Joe" is an unpublished part of my dissertation (Mackrill, 2008). Jane's presenting problems included: (1) memories that bother her on a daily basis, and Jane’s sense of vulnerability in relation to these; (2) Jane’s experience of being very sensitive; (3) Jane’s low self-esteem; and (4) Jane’s insecurity with regard to close relationships with men. Joe's theoretical orientation in treating Jane was humanistic and existential. The case study is based on (a) diaries that the client and therapist wrote after each session, (b) recordings of the 12 therapy sessions, and (c) feedback from Jane and Joe on initial drafts of the case study. In the first few pages of the case study Mackrill identifies the concepts he utilized in organizing the data. These are based on a contextual view of behavior. In order to understand change in therapy one must look at the client’s behavior and experiences across life contexts (Dreier, 2008). Specific organizing concepts utilized in writing up the case included focusing on the client’s point of view in different contexts; the difference among points of view of the participants; and identifying shifts in perspective when they occurred. The write-up steered clear of an analysis in terms of theoretical mechanisms of change based on any particular theory of psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral, existential, or psychodynamic. The methodology behind this case is presented in Mackrill (2011).

Author Biography

Thomas Mackrill, University of Aarhus

Tan 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

Mackrill, T. (2011). The Case of "Jane and Joe": A Diary-Based, Cross-Contextual Case Study. Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, 7(1), 187–229.