Guidelines for Qualifying Exam

The Case Study should be taken from the candidate’s main field of clinical practice: it should be representative of that field of practice in terms of durations approach.


The Case Study should be 13,000 words typed on A4 paper with the word count specified at the end of the case study.


The case study should be anonymous except for the gender of the candidate and should therefore not contain the candidate’s name, the Training Consultant’s name or other clearly identifying features.


It is of paramount importance for the candidate to clearly show his/her role as a therapist, rather than to concentrate on the client only in the course of therapy.


The purpose of the Case Study Examination is to evaluate the clinical competence and professional judgment of the candidate. It is also to show the candidate’s ability to apply theory to practice and to practise in the light of theory.


The candidate normally works on the Case Study in cooperation with the Training Consultant, sending drafts to the Training Consultant for comment during the process of writing.



This should be fairly brief, and an overview to help the reader to become familiar with the client and the client’s initial process – any salient information. It does not have to be overly comprehensive nor glossed over lightly either.


Brief description of clients:
sex, age, occupation, relationship, family
how contact was first made, whether referred (including self referral)
other therapy, medical/therapeutic history


Presenting problems/situation/purpose of therapy:
– why s/he came, expectations realistic or otherwise


Initial contacts or agreements established.
    4.   First Impression:
         – general appearance
         – physical stature and posture
         – mannerisms
         – voice quality
         – movement
         – self/environmental support
         – quality of contact
         – other


Therapists initial reactions to client

         – Like/dislike/curiosity…
         – Early ‘hunches’
         – Who might I represent for the client?
         – What immediate pitfalls might present themselves in the parallel process?
         – Initial diagnostic picture (see below)



This should provide a summary record of the beginning, middle and end of the course of therapy.


1.     Initial diagnostic picture, including reference to traditional psychiatric/psychodynamic categories, if appropriate.


Characteristic interruptions of contact/blocks in awareness cycle/ personal ‘themes’
Choice about style of working and why chose. E.g.: Individual or group work, frequency of sessions.

2.      The client’s history and how this relates to the issues present and worked through.


3.   Discernible phases in course of therapy – Major shifts in experience and behaviour observed/reported during therapy – Working through of child development issues in the therapeutic encounter.


4.     Extent awareness and levels of awareness at different points in journey


5.     Evolution of person’s life during the therapy period.


         – External or manifest changes in job, family, relationships, domestic situations etc.
         – Shifts in personal appearance/ physical mobility/posture/self presentation – Client’s report on how she/he has evolved.


6.    The ‘state of play’ at the end of therapy or at the time of writing, whichever is earlier.


         – Likely future developments/ continued work.
         – Any follow-up information which may be available on the client, e.g. how the client has adjusted to not being in therapy.


More detailed accounts of turning points or key steps in the therapeutic work should be indicated, as for example:


Gestalt theory as it relates to observation of and work with client
‘Theme’ and experiments at the time, including preceding steps
The balance of support and challenge offered by the therapist and the level and the kind of client’s self-support
Observed capacity for organismic self-regulation
Interaction with therapist and kind and quality of contact; transference issues
Resistances and how worked with

Personal experience of therapist should be included, as for example:


Issues relating to therapist’s own unfinished situations and counter transferences
Mistakes/realisations/ ‘what I would have done had there been a rewind button’. – Particular rewards, sources of satisfaction. ‘What I’m proud of, what I did not regret.’

It is the examinee’s responsibility to discuss the Case Study as it progresses with his/her supervisor and Training Consultant.