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Formulation in Action: Applying Psychological Theory to Clinical Practice

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Book Announcement: Formulation in Action: Applying Psychological Theory to Clinical Practice


People who use mental health services are familiar with the term diagnosis, but less so with the term formulation. Formulation is the approach applied psychologists use to help people in distress to develop an understanding of why they think, feel and behave the way they do. And while operational definitions vary subtly between different theoretical approaches, formulation in mental health settings can be broadly understood as the process – and product – of applying psychological theory and concepts to understand the aetiology, meaning, and maintenance of the psychological difficulties we, and others, experience, and to identify ways in which these difficulties may be managed.

"Formulation in Action" by David Dawson and Nima Moghaddam, published now fully in open access by De Gruyter Open, provides considerable insight into how psychologists use this process of formulation in their work to help describe a selection of psychological approaches commonly employed in contemporary clinical practice. Each chapter outlines a case formulation from a particular theoretical position, which is then critically evaluated by authors working from alternative perspectives.

When individuals seek psychological support, formulation helps to guide identification of the processes, mechanisms, patterns, and so forth that appear to be contributing to the individual’s difficulties, assisting the psychological practitioner – and the individuals they are engaged with – to look through the complexity in order to recognise the latent factors and processes that appear key to understanding the distress and its maintenance. Formulation is therefore considered central to the role of many applied psychological practitioners (e.g., American Psychological Association, or Division of Clinical Psychology)

The current volume presents a range of contemporary psychological models to formulate the same illustrative case example, demonstrating how a single complex presentation can be understood from a variety of theoretical perspectives. Each chapter provides an overview of a particular theoretical approach, proceeding to apply this approach to understand the example case presentation before considering what further information would be required and how an intervention would proceed in practice (i.e., extrapolate the real-world implications of the adopted approach).

"This is an excellent and much needed book. It will be a valuable resource for clinicians and users of services at a time when the range of therapies being offered to the public is ever expanding." offers Professor Nigel Beail from the University of Sheffield.

The book is available fully in in open access to read, download and share on De Gruyter Online.