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Abductive Method and Clinical Assessment in Practice

  • Tony Ward (a1), Frances M. Vertue (a2) and Brian D. Haig (a3)

Clinical reasoning is one of the central components of psychological assessment. The identification of a client's psychological difficulties and the subsequent depiction of their onset, development, and interrelationships enables clinicians to plan treatment in a systematic and effective manner. In a recent paper (Ward & Haig, 1997), we presented an abductive theory of method and showed how it offered a useful framework for highlighting and integrating the major phases of psychological assessment. These phases involve detecting clinical phenomena, postulating psychological mechanisms, developing a case formulation, and evaluating a case formulation. In this paper we outline the abductive theory and elaborate on the related clinical dimensions of assessment, while illustrating them with an ongoing case example.

Corresponding author
1Address for correspondence: Dr Tony Ward, Department of Criminology, University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC 3052, Australia
2Dr Brian Haig, Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand.
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Behaviour Change
  • ISSN: 0813-4839
  • EISSN: 2049-7768
  • URL: /core/journals/behaviour-change
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