The "Individual-Case-Comparison" Method for Systematically Comparing Good-Outcome and Poor-Outcome RCT Clients: Editor's Introduction


  • Daniel B. Fishman



case study comparisons, randomized controlled trials, mixed methods, quantitative research, qualitative research, case studies, clinical case studies


This issue of PCSP explores a promising approach for bridging the gap in communication and mutual respect between therapy group researchers and therapy practitioners: the "Individual Case-Comparison" (ICC) method. This method consists of systematically comparing good-outcome and poor-outcome cases that have both been drawn from a successful randomized controlled trial (RCT) treatment condition. As such the ICC method adopts a "mixed methods" model that integrates group-based, quantitative results with the case-based results of systematic and contextualized, narrative case studies—viewing both types of knowledge as complementary. To illustrate the ICC method, two pairs of case comparisons between a good-outcome and a poor-outcome client are presented. One pair is drawn from the successful condition of an RCT on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for borderline personality disorder; and one pair, from the successful condition of an RCT for Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) for depression. In each instance, the comparative analysis incorporates detailed qualitative data from the individual cases along with standardized, quantitative process and outcome measures drawn from the RCT studies—showing the "value added" of a mixed methods model. The issue is capped by a wide-ranging and incisive commentary by the Japanese clinical psychologist Shigeru Iwakabe, who discusses the history, logic, and cultural context of the comparative case study method, together with a critical analysis of the DBT and EFT case studies comparisons.  

Author Biography

Daniel B. Fishman

Dan 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

Fishman, D. B. (2011). The "Individual-Case-Comparison" Method for Systematically Comparing Good-Outcome and Poor-Outcome RCT Clients: Editor’s Introduction. Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, 7(2), 242–245.



Case Study Comparisons Within Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Emotion-Focused Therapy: Editor's Introduction