The Case of "Cora": Clinical and Methodological Perspectives
Keywords:case study, theory-building case study, emotion-focused therapy, qualitative research, clinical case study
In this commentary we explore the clinical aspects of Halvorsen, Benum, Haavind, and McLeod’s (2016) compelling case study of “Cora.” We were humbled by the courage and commitment of both the client and the therapist in the case. We begin by providing our perspective on how the therapist’s flexibility regarding certain boundaries helped to build trust between him and the client; and on how this trust in turn allowed the client find the courage to bring the most painful aspects of her experience to therapy. We then comment on certain methodological aspects of the case study. We discuss ways in which the steps describing the choices authors made could have been made more explicit. We question the necessity to present the case in the format of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA; Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009). We also question whether “theory building case study” is the best description for this particular study. In addition, we comment briefly on some of the themes reported by the study and share our own interpretative process, pointing out both the significant overlap and also those points where our interpretation may differ from the authors, including the role of transference interpretations and immediacy in the success of the case. Finally, we provide our perspective on the discrepancy between the quantitative versus qualitative outcomes obtained in the case.
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