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Art therapy-based formulation

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 8th & Saturday 9th April 2022

10:00am - 16:00pm


Delivered via Zoom, information for the day & invite to join will be sent once booking has closed

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**This course is open to Qualified Professionals and Art Therapy Trainees from both the UK and Internationally**

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:

• Understand how formulation is used in psychological therapy

• Define what makes effective formulation

• Use existing art therapy skills to enhance the formulation approach


Alex McDonald, SRA’sT (Art), MRes (Clinical Research), has worked as an art therapist with children, young people and families since 2005. She is currently a Manager and Tutor at the British Association of Art Therapists and is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Art Therapy.  


Dr Neil Springham is a consultant art therapist and executive director of therapies at Oxleas NHS foundation Trust. He originally trained in fine art, qualified in art therapy in 1988 and has a PhD in psychology. He has practiced in adult mental health, addictions and specialised in therapy for people who receive a diagnosis of personality disorder. He was a course leader at the Unit of Psychotherapeutic Studies, Goldsmiths College, co-founded the UK Art Therapy Practice Research Network and was twice elected chair of British Association of Art Therapists. He founded ResearchNet as a network of linked service user and provider collaborative groups which use co-produced research to create change within mental health services.

Additional Information:

Please Note:

Booking closes 1-week prior to start date. Information and link to join the day will be sent once booking has closed.


Trainee BAAT Member: £180.00


x3 Reduced Rate for Trainees or Unemployed Members: £140.00

Please Note: We can not reserve reduced rate places.


Full Unemployed or Retired Member: £180.00


Full Underemployed Member: £190.00


Full Member (Self Funded): £220.00


Associate Member: £220.00


Employer Funded BAAT Members: £255.00


Non-BAAT Member (Self or Employer Funded): £285.00


Please create a Free Booking Account if you don't have one or are not a member, here:


Employer Funded places for members or non-members, please download a course booking form here: Invoice Request Form - Course Booking Form.docx

Completed Booking Forms (with purchase order number and BAAT booking account number), please email to:


Please Note: We do not accept employer funded bookings without an employer purchase order.


Convenors: Neil Springham & Alex McDonald

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