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Art Therapy-based Formulation

This course is open to all qualified professionals. Formulation of reasons for and goals of therapy enables co-production of an intervention plan tailored to the individual's needs. Despite formulation becoming a mainstream component of psychological therapy, many practitioners have received little training. As service users may not find verbal approaches the most accessible this course demonstrates the potential of an art therapy approach to formulation with children and adults.


Friday 29th and Saturday 30th of November 2019

10am to 5pm (registration will start from 9.30)


LIFT, 45 White Lion Street, London N1 9PW

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The effectiveness of formulation rests on the level of genuine co-production involved. If it is mistaken for an assessment of needs performed by a professional it will not capture the service user’s experience of, and expertise in living with, the problems they already manage. Without their expertise the formulation will lack salience to them and so fail. 

Formulation thus challenges professionals to find a shared understanding whilst respecting that factors such as the frames of reference and language may be very different between the parties involved. 

Many children, young people and adults who use art therapy services may not find verbal approaches the most accessible way of making sense of their experience. This may be due to their age or developmental stage, difficulties in naming feelings or other mentalization issues. Art therapists have many skills in bridging those potential barriers but may be less familiar with the tenets of the formulation approach. This course aims to show the potential of an art therapy approach to formulation.  

The course will outline the basics of formulation, with examples of formulations drawn from mainstream psychological therapies. It will give careful consideration to the needs of those who use art therapy services and then to how existing art therapy practices can be added to formulation in order to strengthen it as a basis for treatment.

On completion of this course you will be able to: 
• Define what makes effective formulation and its place in psychological therapy
• Use existing art therapy skills to enhance the formulation approach

Dr. Neil Springham was a course leader at Goldsmiths College, co-founded the Art Therapy Practice Research Network and was twice elected chair of BAAT. He is a NHS borough lead for psychological therapies, has a PhD in Psychology and practices as a consultant art therapist in the NHS working with people diagnosed with personality disorder.

Alex McDonald has been an Art Therapist working with children since 2005. Alex has an MRes in Clinical Research, coordinates the Art Therapy Practice Research Network, and is Co-Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Art Therapy: Inscape. She is currently an Officer and Tutor at the British Association of Art Therapists.

Additional Information:

Non BAAT member fee: £250 to book please email with your booking enquiry.

BAAT Member fee:

Employer funded BAAT Member: £220

Full BAAT member self funded: £200

Associate member self funded: £200

Under-employed BAAT member self funded: £160

Unemployed BAAT member self-funded: £160

Fully Booked: 2 reserved reduced places for Unemployed BAAT members £80 (Please email to book, places allocated on a first come - first served basis).


If you would like to be invoiced for your place on this course, please complete this Invoice form Invoice Details Request - Event Booking.docx 

Please return it to

If you would like to be invoiced and are not a BAAT member, you will need to create a BAAT booking account by registering via our website here: This does not incur a fee and is free to set up. Please include your registered BAAT number within your form.

Lunch and refreshments included.

Convenors: Neil Springham & Alex McDonald

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