The Case Formulation Approach to Cognitive-Behavior Therapy

Jacqueline B. Persons

Format: Hardcover, 273 pages
ISBN: 9781593858759
Price: $75.00

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This book addresses a critical challenge in evidence-based psychotherapy: how to use empirically supported therapies (ESTs) in real-world clinical contexts. The author explains the basic theories of cognition, learning, and emotion that underlie available ESTs and shows how the theories also guide systematic case formulation. By crafting a sound formulation and continually refining and monitoring it as treatment progresses, the therapist can smoothly "shift theoretical gears" and weave together elements of different ESTs to meet the needs of individual patients, who typically present with multiple problems. Hands-on tools, reproducibles, and many concrete examples are included.


“This excellent book describes treatment formulation and the therapeutic process well, from a cognitive-behavioral framework. The reproducible forms are extremely helpful, especially for new therapists who are beginning a private practice. All-in-all, the author helps us to look at the therapeutic process in cognitive-behavioral terms and design it with each specific client in mind, and not in terms of a general protocol. This is very refreshing, to say the least....4 stars!”

Doody's Review Service

“Persons's insights into case formulation are second to none. This book brilliantly demonstrates that you don't have to sacrifice good science to be an excellent clinician, and vice versa. I recommend it to psychotherapists and students at all levels of experience who are interested in using the best theories and clinical techniques to help their patients achieve real and lasting change. Persons's rare combination of clinical practicality and scientific dedication makes her a role model for every young scientist-clinician.”

—Marsha M. Linehan, PhD, ABPP, Professor and Director, Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, University of Washington

“This groundbreaking volume will train the next generation of cognitive-behavioral therapists. Its sophisticated blending of case-level formulation with empirical principles of behavior change is a threshold event in CBT's ongoing engagement with clinical complexity, comorbidity, and nonadherence.”

—Zindel V. Segal, PhD, Cameron Wilson Chair in Depression Studies and Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto

“Decades of research and clinical experience meet in this seminal book. Persons provides a guide for both the novice and experienced practitioner to deal with even the most complex of cases. This significant work will no doubt become the shining light by which the idiographic approach to CBT will be guided in the future. One of the few books that is worth even more than the purchase price!”

—Nicholas Tarrier, PhD, FBPsS, Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, UK

“There is no greater challenge facing mental health professionals than moving from scientific theory and research to clinical practice. Persons has addressed this critical issue for many years, and has come up with solutions that demand the attention of serious health professionals. She convincingly shows how to analyze complex cases in ways that are both scientifically sound and practically feasible and effective. Persons is the consummate scientist-practitioner. This book is a 'must read' for students, academics, and practitioners.”

—Gerald C. Davison, PhD, William and Sylvia Kugel Dean's Chair, and Professor of Gerontology and Psychology, University of Southern California

Table of Contents

1. What Is the Case Formulation Approach to Cognitive-Behavior Therapy?

2. Cognitive Theories and Their Clinical Implications

3. Learning Theories and Their Clinical Implications

4. Emotion Theories and Their Clinical Implications

5. Beginning the Therapeutic Relationship and Obtaining a Problem List and Diagnosis

6. Developing an Initial Case Formulation and Setting Treatment Goals

7. Using the Formulation to Develop a Treatment Plan and Obtain the Patient’s Consent to It

8. The Therapeutic Relationship

9. Monitoring Progress

10. Decision Making in the Therapy Session

11. Handling Nonadherence and Treatment Failure

12. Decision Making over the Course of Therapy

About the Author

Jacqueline B. Persons, PhD, is Director of the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy and Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a clinician, teacher, researcher, writer, and scientist-practitioner. She maintains an active clinical practice, providing cognitive-behavior therapy for mood and anxiety disorders and related problems, and teaches and provides clinical supervision to students and professionals in many settings. Dr. Persons conducts research on the mechanisms underpinning symptoms of depression and anxiety and on the process and outcome of cognitive-behavior therapy, especially as it is implemented in routine clinical practice. Her first book, Cognitive Therapy in Practice: A Case Formulation Approach, published by W. W. Norton in 1989, is widely considered a classic. She is past president of the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy (now the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies) and of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, a section of the Society of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association.

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