Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 289–292 | Cite as

Case Formulation in Psychotherapy: Revitalizing Its Usefulness as a Clinical Tool

  • Kang SimEmail author
  • Kok Peng Gwee
  • Anthony Bateman
Original Article



Case formulation has been recognized to be a useful conceptual and clinical tool in psychotherapy as diagnosis itself does not focus on the underlying causes of a patient’s problems. Case formulation can fill the gap between diagnosis and treatment, with the potential to provide insights into the integrative, explanatory, prescriptive, predictive, and therapist aspects of a case. Despite the acknowledgment that case formulation is a basic, necessary, and key clinical skill, it is still largely under-taught and underlearned. Some of the issues faced in the development of a case formulation include that of immediacy versus comprehensiveness, complexity versus simplicity, observation versus organization, and the need for cultural sensitivity toward each individual patient.


The authors propose five aspects of case formulation beneficial to therapists and residents in training.


The authors argue that case formulation remains an important and indispensable integrative tool for therapists and residents in training who are involved in psychotherapeutic interventions.


Academic Psychiatry Clinical Tool Cultural Sensitivity Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry Psychotherapeutic Intervention 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical SchoolBelmontUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Mental Health/Woodbridge HospitalSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Halliwick UnitSt. Ann’s HospitalLondonUK

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