Goals and Design of the Project and Basic Information About Sharon’s Case


  • Michael A. Westerman
  • Kenneth L. Critchfield




Interpersonal Defense Theory, Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT), case formulation, comparing therapy approaches, philosophy of science, case study, clinical case study


This paper sets the stage for subsequent papers in this set of articles, which collectively offer a comparative examination of two approaches to case formulation and treatment by examining the same case from the two theoretical perspectives. One approach is based on Interpersonal Defense Theory (e.g., Westerman, 2018, 2019), the other is Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy (IRT, Benjamin, 2006, 2018). In this paper, we present the goals of the project and its design, which was novel in some respects. We also introduce the case by presenting basic clinical information about the patient, Sharon (pseudonym), and describing the short-term therapy approach that was employed. The concluding section introduces the subsequent papers in this set, which includes a commentary by Stanley Messer that raises fundamental methodological/philosophy of science issues about comparing the relative merits of different therapy approaches and a reply to that commentary that addresses the important questions it poses.  

Author Biographies

Michael A. Westerman

Michael A. Westerman

Kenneth L. Critchfield

Kenneth L. Critchfield




How to Cite

Westerman, M. A., & Critchfield, K. L. (2021). Goals and Design of the Project and Basic Information About Sharon’s Case. Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy, 17(1), 5–18. https://doi.org/10.14713/pcsp.v17i1.2084