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Issues and Debates – A History of Psychological Practice

3. Psychological Formulation

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In this lecture, we think about psychological formulation, focusing in particular on: (i) the holistic role that psychological formulation takes on, utilising biological, psychological and social factors; (ii) how cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be divided into biological, psychological and social considerations, when seeking to improve someone’s mental health; (iii) Beck’s Cognitive Triad and its role in explaining incidences of low mood and depression.


In this course, Dr Marc Williams (Cardiff University) explores the history of psychological practice, contextualised primarily around our understanding of mental health. In the first lecture, we think about how normality has been classified over time, looking at classification manuals like the DSM and ICD, and some of the consequences of differing classifications. In the second lecture, we think about the biopsychosocial model and its influence over the elements of cognitive behavioural therapy. Next, we think about psychological formulation and its more holistic view of clients undergoing therapy. In the fourth and final lecture, we think about the balance of power between therapist and patient/client, and how this has changed to become more equal over time.


Dr Marc Williams is a senior academic tutor and honorary senior lecturer in the School of Psychology at Cardiff University. His university work centres around the doctoral programme in clinical psychology, including supervising doctoral theses and supporting trainees. Dr Williams’ research interests include eating disorders and people’s relationship with their environment. Some of Dr Williams' recent publications include 'Attentional bias in eating disorders: a meta review' (2021) and 'The relationship between climate change and mental health information-seeking: a preliminary investigation' (2020).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Williams, M. (2022, March 15). Issues and Debates – A History of Psychological Practice - Psychological Formulation [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Williams, M. "Issues and Debates – A History of Psychological Practice – Psychological Formulation." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Mar 2022,

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