What is psychological formulation?
Psychological formulation works alongside a diagnosis to help us understand:
- how problems first developed and
- what is causing them to continue.
It is a meaningful story using psychological theory and evidence to explain why someone may be experiencing certain difficulties. It helps us develop interventions to manage the difficulties people face and improve their overall wellbeing.
What is the theory behind formulation?
The service uses a formulation model based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and person-centred care. This helps us find out how events impact the individual and how they affect the way they think, feel and behave. It also helps us find out what their needs are.
What happens before the formulation meeting?
We will gather information from the person themselves and from those involved in their care. We want to try to understand and make sense of what is causing most difficulties for the person or those around them at the moment.We want to start to work out ways in which other people can help or things that we might do that are unhelpful.
What happens at the formulation meeting?
We will talk about the information given in the preparation document during the meeting. This helps us understand the person’s difficulties in the context of what we know about them.
Who will be there?
Individuals have a choice whether or not they would like to attend all or part of the meeting. This can be discussed with a member of the care team beforehand.
Professionals involved in the individual’s care normally attend the meeting and, if appropriate (with the patient’s consent), family members may also wish to be involved. The meeting will be led by a psychologist or other appropriately trained clinician.
Everyone is expected to contribute to the discussion and everyone’s views are valued.
How long will the formulation meeting take?
The formulation meeting will usually take between 60 and 90 minutes (1hr – 1hr 30mins).
What happens after the formulation meeting?
Individuals will receive a copy of the formulation and the intervention plan within seven days of the meeting. This will also be shared with those supporting the individual.
A member of the mental health team will then arrange for a review to see if the agreed interventions are reducing the difficulties.