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Formulation in Psychology and Psychotherapy: Making Sense of People's Problems

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Formulation in Psychology and Psychotherapy places this growing interest in formulation in a clinical and historical context. It introduces the reader to the theory and practice of formulation through the discussion of two clients (one adult and one child focused problem), whose problems are formulated from the perspective of 5 different therapeutic traditions: systemic, psychodynamic, community, cognitive- behavioural and social constructionist/narrative. It looks at the growing trend for formulations that draw on two or more therapeutic models and includes two chapters dealing with integrative formulation. It offers some creative suggestions for how this can be carried out in a way that is theoretically coherent and clinically effective. The authors also explore the important issue of formulation as a collaborative activity, and consider the ethics of formulation. The final chapter takes a critical overview of the main research, controversies and debates in the area, and gives a guide for using, developing, and researching formulation in a way that maximises its strengths while being aware of its limitations. Its success is uneven, however. Some chapters, such as those on cognitive–behavioural therapy and systemic family work, are exemplary introductions to formulation within these models. Other authors are diverted into spending unnecessary words on outlining the principles of their model at the expense of its approach to formulation. Often, little attention is paid to how a formulation would be used to facilitate treatment within a particular model, in favour of its purely descriptive functions. The book also makes surprisingly few references to the considerable research literature on formulation. Several well-known, research-based systems are ignored altogether, as are two major international attempts to systematise psychodynamic formulation. The first edition of Formulation in Psychology and Psychotherapy caught the wave of growing interest in formulation in a clinical context. This completely updated and revised edition summarises recent practice, research, developments and debates while retaining the features that made the first a leading text in the field. It contains new chapters on personal construct formulation, formulation in health settings, and the innovative practice of using formulation in teams. The book sees formulation as a dynamic process which explores personal meaning collaboratively and reflectively, taking account of relational and social contexts. Two case studies, one adult and one child, illustrate the use of formulation from the perspectives of expert clinicians from six different theoretical positions. The book encourages the reader to take a constructively critical perspective on the many philosophical, professional and ethical debates raised by the process of formulating people’s problems. Among the issues explored are: The book sees formulation as a dynamic process which explores personal meaning collaboratively and reflectively, taking account of relational and social contexts. Two case studies, one adult and one child, illustrate the use of formulation from the perspectives of expert clinicians from six different theoretical positions. The book encourages the reader to take a constructively critical perspective on the many philosophical, professional and ethical debates raised by the process of formulating people's problems. Among the issues explored are:

Formulation is attracting an increasing amount of interest in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy and counselling. Drawing on psychological theory, it attempts to examine a client or family's problems in terms of how they arose and what may currently be holding these in place. It synthesises this information and explanatory ideas into 'working hypotheses', which are then used to suggest appropriate and effective ways of working to relieve the problems. It can also be described as the key way of relating theory to practice in clinical work. Most clinical psychologists and psychotherapists respect case formulation as an aid to good practice. For many psychiatrists, it remains a source of anxiety and confusion. Although the former are this book's natural audience, I think it has much to offer inquiring psychiatric trainees. Comparative accounts of the psychotherapies can provide brief portraits that don't convey what their relative strengths and weaknesses are. Using the vehicle of the case formulation, this book often succeeds in describing and demonstrating key differences in how clinicians using different models think. In covering a variety of perspectives – not only cognitive–behavioural, psychodynamic, systemic and integrative, but also social inequalities and social constructivist viewpoints – each psychologist contributor has been asked to produce specimen formulations for two case vignettes: a young man expressing paranoid fears and an anxious 9-year-old girl with developmental problems (although some pass on the latter).Dr. Els van Ooijen, co-author of Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy: arelational approach, Therapy Today

Formulation in Psychology and Psychotherapy places this growing interest in formulation in a clinical and historical context. It introduces the reader to the theory and practice of formulation through the discussion of two clients (one adult and one child focused problem), whose problems are formulated from the perspective of 5 different therapeutic traditions: systemic, psychodynamic, community, cognitive - behavioural and social constructionist/narrative. It looks at the growing trend for formulations that draw on two or more therapeutic models and includes two chapters dealing with integrative formulation. It offers some creative suggestions for how this can be carried out in a way that is theoretically coherent and clinically effective. The authors also explore the important issue of formulation as a collaborative activity, and consider the ethics of formulation. The final chapter takes a critical overview of the main research, controversies and debates in the area, and gives a guide for using, developing, and researching formulation in a way that maximises its strengths while being aware of its limitations.

Johnstone and Dallos' text, now in its second edition, has become a cornerstone of British clinical psychologist's thinking and training... This is an immensely useful book; practical, creative and still unique in its particular coverage of psychological models.'

Dr. Els van Ooijen, co-author of Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy: a relational approach, Therapy Today It is fascinating to view the case studies through the lenses of each therapeutic approach, and the divergent ways of working that follow. Seeing how therapists from each approach would work with the two clients helped clarify the similarities and differences between models...The book is clearly structured, attractively set out and easy to read... I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in the concept of formulation (which should be all of us) and in comparing and contrasting different therapeutic approaches. This also means that it is likely to be particularly helpful for integrative training courses.'

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