The case formulation process in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is best described as a “… hypothesis about the causes, precipitants, and maintaining influences of a person’s psychological, interpersonal, and behavioural problems. A case formulation helps organize often complex and contradictory information about a person. It should serve as a blueprint guiding treatment, as a marker for change, as a structure for enabling the therapist to understand the patient better. A case formulation should also help the therapist anticipate therapy-interfering behaviours and experience greater empathy for the patient … broadly, a psychotherapy case formulation also includes descriptive information on which the hypothesis is based and prescriptive recommendations that flow from the hypothesis.” (Page & Stritzke, 2006, p. 60). The following is a graphical presentation of all the elements to consider in the CF process (Abbas, Walton, Johnston, & Chikoore, 2011, p. 142). It is a bridge between assessment and treatment planning. Treatment outcomes are continuously monitored and fed back to adjust the process where required.
Abbas, M., Walton, R., Johnston, A., Chikoore, M. (2011). Evaluation of teaching an integrated case formulation approach on the quality of case formulations: Randomized controlled trial. The Psychiatrist, 36, 140-145. DOI: 10.1192/pb.bp.110.033746
Page, A. C., & Stritzke, W. G. K. (2006). Clinical psychology for trainees: Foundations of science-informed practice. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
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