Editor's Introduction to PCSP - From Single Case to Database: A New Method for Enhancing Psychotherapy Practice

Daniel B Fishman


This article sets forth a new model for knowledge generation in applied and professional psychology -- the pragmatic case study (PCS) method. Drawing from both psychology's traditional/quantitative and alternative/qualitative approaches, the PCS method involves the creation of systematic, peer-reviewed case studies in psychotherapy (and in all other areas of applied psychology) that follow D. Peterson's "disciplined inquiry" epistemological model. The studies are designed to be organized into "journal-databases," like Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy (PCSP), which combine (a) individual studies; (b) articles that address epistemological, theoretical, methodological, logistical, economic, political and ethical issues in the PCS method; and (c) substantive cross-case analyses of groups of individual cases already published in the database. To lay out the model's arguments, the article is divided into four major sections that consider, respectively: (1) a discussion of the relevant historical and philosophical context from which the PCS model emerges; (2) a proposal for an initial set of methodological guidelines for ensuring rigorous quality in each case study; (3) an illustrative application of the model to cognitive-behavioral efficacy research; and (4) an exploration of the implications of the model. Throughout, the emphasis is upon creating an integrative, pragmatic alternative for gaining new useful knowledge in our discipline.


case study method; pragmatic case studies; cognitive-behavior therapy; efficacy research; disciplined inquiry; applied psychology; online journals

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14713/pcsp.v1i1.855

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