Cognitive Behavior Therapy with a Migrant Pakistani in Malaysia: A Single Case Study of Conversion Disorder

Fahad Riaz Choudhry, Khadeeja Munawar, Jamilah Hanum Abdul Khaiyom, Tam Cai Lian


This clinical case presents a 24 years old, Muslim Pakistani girl with a history of conversion disorder. Her symptoms comprised fits, restlessness, numbness in legs, poor coordination and balance, burning during urination and retention. A Cognitive Behavioral Model was used for conceptualizing her problem and devising a management plan based on CBT and culturally adapted coping statements. She took 13 therapy sessions and was presented with idiosyncratic case conceptualization. Psychoeducation, coping statements, extinction, verbal challenging and behavioral activation techniques were practiced in a collaborative way for cognitive restructuring of the client. Focus of terminal sessions was on anger management. The therapy was terminated on part of client after attainment of short term goals. The client reported to have 75 % improvement in her overall condition and remained compliant throughout the therapy. This was a single case study, hence it is not possible to generalize the findings to all the patients with a history of conversion disorder. This research provides empirical evidence, at an individual level, into the unique role of Islamically and culturally modified cognitive behavioral therapy.

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