Using Systematic Case Studies to Investigate Therapist Responsiveness: Examples from a Case Series of PTSD Treatments


  • David J.A. Edwards Department of Psychology, Rhodes University



cognitive therapy, evidence-based practice, posttraumatic stress disorder, therapist responsiveness, case studies


This article highlights the emerging literature on therapist responsiveness in psychotherapy and examines several concepts used to identify dimensions of responsiveness. Some methodological obstacles are identified to studying responsiveness in a systematic manner, and several examples of existing responsiveness research are reviewed.  It is argued that meaningful theory on responsiveness has emerged from research methods that are qualitative and interpretive and that the writing of systematic case studies can be of particular importance since only the presentation of a case unfolding over time can disclose some of the more complex aspects of therapist responsiveness.  Examination of a series of systematic case studies of the treatment of posttraumatic case disorder in South Africa was used to derive a model for guiding therapist responsiveness with respect with what to focus on at a particular phase of the therapy within a particular session.  Material from the cases is used to illustrate aspects of the model related to building social support for the client and promoting emotional processing of trauma memories.

Author Biography

David J.A. Edwards, Department of Psychology, Rhodes University

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:






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