Forensic Case Formulation

Forensic Case Formulation

Forensic Case Formulation

Forensic Case Formulation


Forensic Case Formulation is the first text that describes the principles and application of case formulation specifically to forensic clinical practice.
  • Addresses risk assessment and its implications for case formulation and treatment
  • Covers a range of serious forensic problems such as violence, sexual offending, personality disorder, and substance misuse
  • Offers guidance in training clinicians on ways to create useful formulations


Clinical case formulation is understood by forensic clinical psychologists and forensic psychiatrists to be key in designing appropriate and so potentially effective treatments for offenders. In forensic work, what is effective in treatment is usually taken to mean that an individual’s risk of reoffending is reduced. While treatments to ameliorate other problems are part of the work of forensic mental health professionals, they cannot ignore the expectation that their treatments should aim to reduce risk. This places an unusual burden upon this group of people in that they are to some degree responsible for their clients’ behavior and for any harm to others that this may cause. If case formulation is indeed the key to effective interventions, then it is imperative that it should be done well.

Research into some of the basic issues in case formulation is lacking in the forensic literature and this lack urgently needs to be addressed. Fortunately there is some evidence about reliability, validity, and utility from clinical work in general, and we present this information here for forensic practitioners to draw upon. Additionally, there are forensic practitioners who have given a great deal of thought to the principles upon which forensic case formulation should rest. These ideas are also presented in this book.

We are indebted to the authors who have made such excellent contributions to this volume. We hope that by drawing together this body of work we might create an impetus for further research in this important area.

Peter Sturmey Mary McMurran December 2010 . . .

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