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Longitudinal Formulation 2

Case conceptualizations (formulations) help therapists and clients come to a shared understanding of a problem. This longitudinal case formulation worksheet encourages reflection upon how factors from our past influence our here-and-now experience.

The main part of this diagram is a cross-sectional formulation which examines here-and-now thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and behaviors. Above that is a section for recording longitudinal aspects of a client’s history – this can help to provide inside about the reasons behind specific experiences in the present.

Therapists can use this form to help clients make links between early experiences (particularly adverse ones) and ways in which the client interprets situations in the here-and-now. Helpful questions to facilitate such a discussion might include:

  • “How did difficult experiences in your childhood shape your views of other people?” (making an experience-belief link)
  • “How might your core belief of “I’m unlovable” have shaped the way you reacted to your partner’s behavior in that moment?”

If clients can be helped to understand where patterns of negative thought and action originated they are more likely to be able to reappraise experiences in the present, and may be motivated to re-evaluate long-standing belief structures.

  • Eells, T. D. (Ed.). (2011). Handbook of psychotherapy case formulation. Guilford Press.
  • Johnstone, L., & Dallos, R. (2013). Formulation in psychology and psychotherapy: Making sense of people’s problems. Routledge.
  • Kuyken, W., Padesky, C. A., & Dudley, R. (2008). Collaborative case conceptualization: Working effectively with clients in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Guilford Press.
  • Persons, J. B. (2012). The case formulation approach to cognitive-behavior therapy. Guilford Press.
  • Tarrier, N., & Johnson, J. (Eds.). (2015). Case formulation in cognitive behaviour therapy: The treatment of challenging and complex cases. Routledge.

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