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The Case Method

Facts / Problems / Solutions

The Case Method was developed at the Harvard Business School at the end of the 18th century and is now widely used in business administration, law and medical schools.

The International Federation for Family Development (IFFD) applied this method to the challenges of communication in the couple and family.

In each step of the application, emphasis is given to:

  1. Facts: events, claims or situations in the text of the case study. They are not interpretations, presumed or plausible causes. They must be unanimously recognized and be undisputed.

  2. Problems: unresolved difficulties in the text. Facts tend to point to problems that do not always emerge directly from the description of the case. Specific problems of family life have root causes which should be identified during discussions in small groups and plenary sessions.

  3. Solutions: they should be tangible, as practical as the facts from which they stem, and must address a specific problem, whose root cause has been ideally identified by the group.

The application of the method

In the context of IFFD courses, the method is applied as follows:

  1. Each participant reads the case on his/her own.
  2. Each couple discusses the case together.
  3. Each small group (4 to 5 couples) meets (at some participant’s home if possible) to discuss the case.
  4. All participants gather in the plenary session – moderated by an expert – to further discuss the case, exchange each other’s insight and identify more constructive solutions.

This systematic approach and its application in everyday life have so far transformed the life of more than 25 000 couples throughout the world.


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