Formulation in Psychotherapy and Psychology A one-day workshop with Dr Lucy Johnstone London, 23 March 2019 (Saturday) 10:00am - 5:00pm
Formulation is a topic of huge interest currently in psychotherapy, psychology and counselling. From a process of therapy perspective, formulation can be viewed as the co-construction of a hypothesis or ‘best guess’ about the origins of the client’s difficulties and challenges, in the context of their relationships, social circumstances, life events and the sense that they have made of these. During the formulation process, as the personal story or narrative develops through discussion, reflection and revision – we not only get a positive validating effect, but also (especially in Trauma-informed formulations) create a basis for drawing up a personal plan for the best way forward. An effective formulation has the potential to reframe our client’s narrative through a focus on strength and survival. Psychological formulation draws on two equally important sources: the therapist brings knowledge derived from theory, research and clinical experience, while the client brings a comprehension of their own life and the meaning of their relationships & circumstances. Through effective formulation, we are attempting to: Form a provisional explanation for a client’s difficulties Test this hypothesis through the therapeutic engagement Integrate psychological, biological, systemic and social factors Inform our plans and decisions for the way forward At this workshop, which would be relevant for practitioners across modalities, Dr Lucy Johnstone uses clinical examples, exercise and debate to illustrate how we can co-construct effective formulations. She draws on her extensive experience and the Division of the Clinical Psychology Good Practice Guidelines to summarise relevant theory and research. She also explores how formulations can be used in team settings. The workshop is based on the core factors that are relevant across psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioural, systemic and integrative domains. Our key objectives at this workshop are: Understand the principles of best practice formulations together with relevant theory and research Gain confidence in our formulation skills Understand the contexts within which formulation has arisen, and the wider implications for therapeutic practice
About the speaker Dr Lucy Johnstone is a consultant clinical psychologist and author of several publications, most notable among them ‘Users and Abusers of Psychiatry’ (2nd edition, Routledge 2000) and ‘A Straight-Talking Guide to Psychiatric Diagnosis’ (PCCS Books 2013 edition), co-editor of ‘Formulation in Psychology and Psychotherapy: making sense of people’s problems’ (2nd edition Routledge 2013) along with a number of other chapters and articles. She is the former Programme Director of the Bristol Clinical Psychology Doctorate and was the lead author of ‘Good Practice Guidelines on the use of Psychological Formulation’ (Division of Clinical Psychology, 2011). She has worked in Adult Mental Health settings for many years, most recently in a service in south Wales. She was the lead author (along with Prof Mary Boyle) for the ‘Power Threat Meaning Framework’, a division of Clinical Psychology-funded project to outline a conceptual alternative to psychiatric diagnosis, which published in January 2018. Lucy is an experienced conference speaker and lecturer, and her particular interest and expertise is in the use of psychological formulation, in both its individual and team versions, and in promoting trauma-informed practice.

Continuing professional development through seminars, workshops and conferences for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists.