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Schema Formulation

Beck’s cognitive model proposes that cognition and perception in the here-and-now is influenced by our ‘schemas’ which shape our perception and information processing. This CBT worksheet explains the formation and role of schemas, and how they affect here-and-now perception. It is a case conceptualization (formulation) diagram which can help clients and therapists come to a shared understanding of a problem.

Cognitive therapy addresses three levels of cognition: automatic thoughts, conditional assumptions, and core beliefs (schemas). Our schemas develop as a result of early or critical experiences, and they act to shape the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us. The Schema Formulation worksheet is a cross-sectional case-conceptualization diagram with acknowledgement of schemas which are influencing thoughts & feelings in the present moment. The worksheet is accompanied by a one-page explanation of schemas.

  • Beck, A.T., Rush, A.J., Shaw, B.F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford
  • 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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