Team formulation in practice: forms, functions, and facilitators

Nicole Geach (Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)
Danielle De Boos (University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)
Nima Moghaddam (Trent DClinPsy Programme, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK)

Mental Health Review Journal

ISSN: 1361-9322

Publication date: 29 August 2019



Despite the popularity of team formulation, there is a lack of knowledge about workable implementation in practice. The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to characterise team formulation, based upon examples from practice; and second, to identify factors perceived to support or obstruct workable implementation in practice.


An online survey recruited UK Clinical Psychologists (n=49) with experience in team formulation from a range of work contexts. Examples of team formulation in practice were analysed using both deductive and inductive framework analysis.


Four novel types of team formulation with different functions and forms are described: case review, formulating behaviour experienced as challenging, formulating the staff-service user relationship and formulating with the service-user perspective. A number of factors perceived to support and obstruct team formulation were identified including team distress, facilitating change, managing difference and informing practice. These were common across team formulation types.

Practical implications

The team formulation types identified could be used to standardise team formulation practice. Several common factors, including managing team distress, were identified as aiding workable implementation across team formulation types. Future research should investigate the key processes and links to outcomes of team formulation in practice.


This paper presents two original, practice-based and practice-informing frameworks: describing, first, novel forms and functions of team formulation and, second, the factors supporting and obstructing facilitation in practice. This paper is the first to highlight the common factors that seem to facilitate workable implementation of team formulation in practice.



Geach, N., De Boos, D. and Moghaddam, N. (2019), "Team formulation in practice: forms, functions, and facilitators", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 145-159.

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