Individual Case Formulation

Individual Case Formulation, 1st Edition

Individual Case Formulation, 1st Edition,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.



    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


    Clinical psychologists and trainees for same.

    Individual Case Formulation, 1st Edition


    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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)

    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?

    8. A Functional/Systemic Framework for Case Formulation
    Basic Components of a Behavioral Description
    Conventions for Producing a Functional Case Formulation Diagram
    Systemic Relationships

    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

    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


    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 & 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

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