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Considering "Cora": A Critical Appreciation

Alexandra Jessup Altman
Ronald B. Miller


This discussion examines Halvorsen, Benum, Haavind, and McLeod’s (2016) case study of “Cora,” from a perspective both appreciative and at times critical of certain mixed-study methods it employs. While impressed with the clinical alliance it illustrates between therapist and challenging client, we find the study raises more theoretical questions than it answers in terms of our ability to enumerate the conceptual elements necessary to convey valuable clinical truths. The case study does indeed provide systematic data on the presence of dyadic courage, persistence, and symbolic expressions of trust during treatment from which there is much to be learned. As readers we were left marveling at an account of a therapist’s clinical acumen with a client who had faced unbearable childhood trauma, and at the same time wondering how much more we might have learned about how to actually do such work from a comprehensive narrative written in his own voice.

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