Good practice guidelines on the use of psychological formulation

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We would like to thank Catherine Dooley, Chair of the PGP and the PGP committee for their support and comments, Tracey Goode for her assistance with formatting and Helen Barnett, BPS Member Network Adviser, and Martin Reeves, BPS PP Department, for their assistance with production. Good Practice Guidelines on the use of psychological formulation

Division of Clinical Psychology

Formulation is a core skill for clinical psychologists at all levels and in all specialties.
These guidelines outline best practice for the profession of clinical psychology.

This document defines psychological formulation as a hypothesis about a person’s difficulties, which links theory with practice and guides the intervention. Psychological formulation can serve a large number of purposes for individuals,
teams and organisations.

Formulation can be understood as both an event and a process, and it summarises and integrates abroad range of biopsychosocial causal factors. It is based on personal meaning and constructed collaboratively with service users and teams.

The document recognises the value of all types of formulation, while recommending that clinical psychologists always formulate from a broad-based, integrated and multi-model perspective which locates personal meaning within its wider systemic,
organisational and societal contexts.

Current research findings are reviewed, along with ethical considerations relating to the use of formulation. Recommendations are made for future developments in theory, practice and research.

Principles for best practice formulation and formulating are summarised in a checklist.

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