Case formulation quality checklist: a revision based upon clinicians ' views

Publication Date08 February 2016
Date08 February 2016
AuthorMary McMurran,Sophie Bruford
SubjectHealth & social care,Criminology & forensic psychology,Forensic practice
Case formulation quality checklist:
a revision based upon cliniciansviews
Mary McMurran and Sophie Bruford
Professor Mary McMurran and
Sophie Bruford both are
based at Institute of Mental
Health, School of Medicine,
University of Nottingham,
Nottingham, UK.
Purpose Evaluations of the impact of case formulation on outcomes for offenders are needed. The quality
of case formulations may impact on outcomes, hence one essential aspect in outcome evaluation is quality
assessment. A case formulation quality checklist (CFQC) was constructed and showed good reliability and
internal consistency. However, feedback from users was the CFCQ could be improved. The purpose of this
paper is to ascertain the opinions of professionals who had used the CFQC to provide a basis for its revision.
Design/methodology/approach This was a qualitative study, in which ten professionals who had used
the CFQC were asked their views about it. An inductive thematic analysis was used to organise the data.
Findings Seven themes were identified. First, the importance of assessing quality in case formulation;
second, the appropriate and comprehensive content of the CFQC; third, the practicality of the CFQC;
fourth, validity and reliability issues; fifth, ways to improve the CFQC; sixth, potential as a training tool;
seventh, limitations of the use of the CFQC. The CFQC was revised in light of these comments, producing
the CFQC-R.
Research limitations/implications The reliability and consistency of the CFQC-R needs to be examined,
as does validity, particularly predictive validity. This information will better enable research into whether case
formulation improves outcomes for service users, and whether better quality case formulations lead to
greater improvements.
Practical implications The CFQC-R may be of value in training and supervising clinicians in constructing
case formulations.
Originality/value The CFQC-R is reproduced here so that researchers and practitioners may use
the checklist.
Keywords Thematic analysis, Case formulation, Case formulation quality checklist, Offender pathway,
Qualitative survey, Revised checklist
Paper type Research paper
Case formulation may be defined as the organisation of information about the client and his or her
problems to explain the origins and maintenance of those problems (Eells, 2007; Johnstone and
Dallos, 2006). Case formulation should lead to a logical treatment plan. Case formulation has
long been a core feature of a clinical psychological approach to understanding an individuals
problems and working to ameliorate them (Division of Clinical Psychology, 2011).
Recently, there has been an increased application of case formulation in forensic services (Hart
et al., 2011; Sturmey and McMurran, 2011a). One new application of case formulation is in the
joint NHS and National Offender Management Service Pathway for offenders with personality
disorder (OPD) (Department of Health and Ministry of Justice, 2011). The OPD pathway aims to
reduce offendersrisk of reoffending and improve psychological wellbeing by early identification
of high-risk offenders, understanding their offending through case formulation, and using case
formulation to plan the offenders pathway. Central to the OPD pathway is that assessment
and case formulation will inform sentence planning in a logical manner, such that the offender will
receive support, services, and treatment appropriate to his or her needs.
Received 6 May 2015
Revised 9 June 2015
30 June 2015
Accepted 30 June 2015
DOI 10.1108/JFP-05-2015-0027 VOL. 18 NO. 1 2016, pp. 31-38, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 2050-8794
PAG E 31

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