Individual Case Formulation

Individual Case Formulation, 1st Edition

Individual Case Formulation, 1st Edition,Richard Hallam,ISBN9780123982698


Academic Press




229 X 152

A clinical guide to performing the best possible case formulations without reliance on a specific therapy modality or disorder-specific treatment manual

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Key Features

  • Reviews, critiques and compares multiple theories on formulation
  • Identifies benefits of utilizing the individual case approach
  • Guides trainee therapists how to conduct assessment interviews and reach a provisional formulation
  • Presents a conceptual framework for developing and testing a formulation
  • Helps trainees make explicit their clinical reasoning
  • Field-tested for several decades
  • Provides case examples with annotated transcripts to illustrate the process of formulation


Individual Case Formulation presents formulation as a process that can be taught systematically to trainee therapists. The book begins by discussing assorted theories of case formulation, and critiques their ability to be applied in real world situations. The individual case formulation approach is then defined and discussed as a way to integrate the best of what different theoretical orientations have to offer in conjunction with the expertise and clinical judgment of the therapist. The book proposes a systemic/functional framework that focuses on difficulties as defined by the client and emphasizes constructive solutions to problems rather than symptom reduction. Moving from theory to application, the book then guides therapists in how to conduct assessment interviews, how to reach a provisional formulation, how to test that formulation for accuracy and reformulate if necessary, how a therapist can make explicit what their clinical reasoning was in making the case formulation, and provides case examples and transcripts so readers will better grasp the concepts in action.

Intended both for the starting or trainee therapist and the experienced clinician, Individual Case Formulation provides a practical guide for those looking to improve their case formulation skills.


Clinical psychologists and trainees for same

Richard Hallam

Richard S Hallam is Visiting Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Greenwich, London. His career has combined teaching, research and professional practice in clinical psychology. Books he has had published include Counselling for Anxiety Problems (1992) and Virtual Selves, Real Persons (2009).

Individual Case Formulation, 1st Edition

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Formulation—the Main Issues
    • Case Formulation in Context
    • Different Models of Case Formulation
    • “Good and Bad” Therapists
    • Case Formulation and the Medical Model
    • Reasoning about Individual Cases
  • Chapter 2. Conceptual Frameworks for Case Formulation
    • Reconciling Nomothetic Principles with an Idiographic Analysis
    • Is a Therapist’s Competence Related to Therapeutic Success?
    • Has Progress Been Made in Psychotherapy?
    • A Framework for Describing Problems
    • Literal Description Versus Interpretation/Hypothesis
    • Who Owns the Formulation: Therapist or Client?
    • A Common Language for Problem Description
    • How do Therapists Acquire their Skills?
    • Different Models of Formulation and Their Relationship to Intervention
    • Some Initial Proposals For ICF
  • Chapter 3. Evidence-Based Practice: Diagnostic and Transdiagnostic Approaches
    • Client’s Problems as an Expression of Natural Dysfunctions (Disorders)
    • The Effect of Disorder-Specific Models on Practice
    • A Critique of Randomized Control Trials and Manuals as the Basis for Practice
    • Manuals as a Model for Routine Practice (MEBP)
    • Does MEBP Serve Best Practice or Other Purposes?
    • The Move Toward Transdiagnostic Models
  • Chapter 4. Theory and Evidence in Individual Case Formulation
    • Grounds for Emphasizing Common Factors in Therapy
    • Arguments for Change Methods Based on Specific Theoretical Principles
    • Current Status of Individualized Approaches to Therapy
  • Chapter 5. The Process of Reasoning in Individual Case Formulation
    • Are Practitioners able to Think Objectively?
    • Ways of Learning about Single Individuals
    • Common Errors in Processing Information about Clients
    • Different Types of Logical Reasoning
  • Chapter 6. Narrative and Textual Analysis in Formulation
    • Social Constructionist Narrative Therapy
    • Discourse: a Different Paradigm for Formulation?
    • The Inadequacy of Textual Analysis Alone
    • Constructing New Narratives and the Process of Formulation
    • Dialogical Sequence Analysis (Stiles et al., 2006)
    • A Narrative Approach to the Formulation of Obsessions (O’Connor, Aardema, & Pélissier, 2005)
  • Chapter 7. Formulation Skills and the Therapeutic Relationship
    • The Therapist as Healer or Shaman
    • Correlational Research on Predictors of Outcome
    • What Accounts for Differences in Therapist Effectiveness?
    • Summary
  • Chapter 8. A Functional/Systemic Framework for Case Formulation
    • Basic Components of a Behavioral Description
    • Conventions for Producing a Functional Case Formulation Diagram
    • Systemic Relationships
  • Chapter 9. Future Prospects for Individual Case Formulation
    • Do Mental Health Professionals Really Take Case Formulation Seriously?
    • Is “good-enough” Therapy Good Enough?
    • Training in Case Formulation
    • The Dissemination of Evidence-Based practice
    • The Future of Diagnostic-Led Formulation
    • The Trend Toward Positive Psychology
  • Appendix. Guidelines for Assessment and Constructing an Individual Case Formulation (ICF)
    • Section A Gathering information for the initial formulation
    • Section B Hypothesis-driven interviewing
    • Section C Conventions for an ICF diagram
    • Section D Extended assessment and ICF
    • Section E Choice of intervention: Revising the formulation when an intervention fails
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Quotes and reviews

"Hallam…advocates for good individual case formulation (ICF) as a key element of therapeutic success, and views case formulation as drawing upon expert methodological knowledge as well as craft skills of an interpersonal nature. After reviewing conceptual frameworks for case formulation, the author introduces reasoning processes for ensuring ICF is not purely subjective and conventions for producing a functional case formulation diagram." --Reference and Research Book News, December 2013

"…this thought provoking book provides a timely review of both conceptual bases of ICF and an examination of current assumptions underlying ICF in the light of modern pressures to put people’s psychological problems and complexities in to over simple categories, such as medical diagnoses… This is a book that should be a major reference text in all clinical and counselling psychology courses…" --Clinical Psychologist, August 2013

"Richard Hallam, in a significant contribution to the understanding of this topic, presents us with both a scholarly and reflective review about the nature of Individual Case Formulation (ICF) in contemporary psychotherapy, and, also with a practical guide (well illustrated with case material) about how it may be further developed.

...this thought provoking book provides a timely review of both conceptual bases of ICF and an examination of current assumptions underlying ICF in the light of modern pressures to put people’s psychological problems and complexities in to over simple categories, such as medical diagnoses.

This is a book that should be a major reference text in all clinical and counselling psychology courses but, it is also a thought provoking volume to read for the established practitioner (or clinician)." --David J. de L. Horne, Clinical Psychologist

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