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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Health in Social Science : Clinical Psychology

Postgraduate Course: Assessment & Formulation in Psychological Practice (CLPS11086)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Health in Social Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course will cover engagement, the role of formulation in clinical practice, the importance of individualized assessment in successful formulation, how to construct formulations and how formulation influences intervention choice. The course will reflect on the challenges of this phase of therapy and build re-formulation skills.

Successful students will be able to explain the difference between assessment and formulation, be able to demonstrate the formulation of a range of common clinical presentations and illustrate how formulation individualizes a treatment plan.

Students will be expected to reflect on key issues in formulation i.e. diagnosis vs. formulation, the evidence-base for formulation-driven therapy, adapting formulation to specific client groups.
Course description This course will cover the core features of engagement, developing formulation and the assessment required to ensure a successful formulation is possible. Students will develop the skills to build an account of why and how problems have developed and to analyse how processes are maintaining difficulties in the present. Students will explore the types of assessment information available and the methods that can be employed to gather knowledge. Through practical methods students will learn types of formulation, how to reformulate in the face of new evidence and how to manage the challenges and pitfalls of this essential part of the therapeutic process. Students will learn to adapt their formulation skills to a range of presentations, developmental stages and settings. Course content will contribute the British Association of Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapy Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes Framework and so will support individual accreditation.

This course will support students to understand the key aspects of formulation and to develop the ability to adapt these skills to a range of clinical presentations, age groups and clinical settings. Assessment and formulation are key clinical skills and students will learn in a practical-based format using case examples, fictional scenarios and observing expert practice. Lecturers will cover the knowledge and describe key skills and small group formats will be used to practice case-based skill development.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 4, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 6, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 88 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Design an Assessment Protocol (30%)

Written Formulation (70%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Recognise the therapeutic skills required to engage a client in therapeutic work and be able to judge resistance to engagement and describe how to respond.
  2. Identify and appraise assessment information using different methods and prioritise information based on clinical presentation.
  3. Organise a range of information from different sources to build an account of why and how problems develop and are maintained.
  4. Appraise clinical formulations and subsequently judge the appropriateness of an intervention.
Reading List
Kennerley, Kirk & Westbrook (2017) An Introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Skills & Applications. London: Sage Publications.

Pearsons, J.B. (1989) Cognitive Therapy in Practice: a case formulation approach. New York: Norton.

Bruch, M. & Bond, F.W. (1998) Beyond diagnosis: case formulation approaches in CBT. Chichester: Wiley.

Stallard, P. (2005) A Clinician┬┐s Guide to Think Good-Feel Good. Chichester: Wiley.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This short course will provide to the students the opportunity to develop the fundamental building blocks to effective psychological intervention. Formulation is central to the successful use of evidence-based interventions such as CBT. Formulations helps the client and the therapist understand where and how the current problems have come from and what is maintaining them, often making connections and sense of a wide range of positive and negative factors. Being able to formulate well will allow students to take understanding from the general to the specific and allows interventions to reflect the specific challenges in a person's life. Students who learn to formulate well will learn to how keep therapy on track by providing an understanding of the personal barriers and blocks that people bring to therapy. By learning to share formulations with clients, students will empower the clients through the provision of a shared rationale for understanding of the issues and how the intervention is expected to make a difference. This shared understanding empowers a client to become their own therapist and helps the students plan for discharge, relapse and the natural challenges of day to day life after therapy.
KeywordsFormulation,assessment,CBT,psychological therapies,reformulation,maintaining factors.
Course organiserDr Rachel Happer
Tel: (0131 6)50 4351
Course secretaryMrs Clara Shaw
Tel: (0131 6)51 3970
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