Assessment, Case Formulation, and Avoiding Common Mistakes
In order to use the techniques presented in this book effectively, it is necessary to conduct an assessment of the couple and develop a formulation of the case. The assessment phase consists of the initial interview and may include up to four or fi ve more sessions. This chapter will not focus on the details of how to conduct an initial session because this aspect of treatment has been adequately covered elsewhere (see Haley, 1976; Heller, 1987; Patterson, Williams, Edwards, Chamow, & Grauf-Grounds, 2009; Weber, McKeever, & McDaniel, 1985; Young & Long, 1998). Heller is a colleague of ours, and thus her article is especially representative of our approach. Instead, our focus will be on how to conduct a thorough assessment and case formulation. The chapter will also include ideas regarding common mistakes made by therapists. If these mistakes are made early on, especially during the assessment phase, therapy may be abruptly ended by the couple.