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Considering the team in team formulation: A systematic review

Short, Valentina; Covey, Judith; Webster, Lisa; Wadman, Ruth; Reilly, Joe; Hay-Gibson, Naomi; Stain, Helen

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Valentina Short

Lisa Webster

Ruth Wadman

Joe Reilly

Naomi Hay-Gibson

Helen Stain


Purpose: Team formulation, used to understand patient problems and plan care, is a growing practice in adult mental health and learning disability services. The purpose of this paper is to explore definitions applied to team formulation (as distinct to therapy formulation), its underpinning theories, and the inter-relationship between the team and the process of formulation. Design/methodology/approach: A database search (main search term of team formulation) of peer-reviewed studies was conducted using PRISMA guidelines. A main and second reviewer conducted quality appraisals and thematic analysis. Data were analysed by convergent qualitative synthesis design using thematic analysis to transform evidence from quantitative and qualitative studies into qualitative findings. Findings: Initial searching produced 4,532 papers, 10 of which were eligible for inclusion. Team formulation has no distinct definition. Theories underpinning the practice of therapy formulation emanating from general psychological theory underpin team formulation. Seven studies applied psychological theories to the examination of team formulation. No studies examined the impact of the team on the formulation. Six themes were generated regarding the impact of team formulation on the team; “increased knowledge and understanding”, “altered perceptions, leading to altered relationships, feelings and behaviours”, “space to reflect”, “useful when stuck or challenged”, “perceived increase in effectiveness” and “improved team working”. Research limitations/implications: Limited evidence and variable quality compromised the availability of review evidence. Originality/value: This is the first review to examine team formulation through the context of the team. The authors argue that a conceptual framework to encompass team inputs, processes and outputs in team formulation practice should guide future research.


Short, V., Covey, J., Webster, L., Wadman, R., Reilly, J., Hay-Gibson, N., & Stain, H. (2019). Considering the team in team formulation: A systematic review. Mental Health Review Journal: Research, Policy and Practice, 24(1), 11-29.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 6, 2018
Online Publication Date Mar 5, 2019
Publication Date 2019
Deposit Date Oct 17, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 18, 2018
Journal Mental Health Review Journal
Print ISSN 1361-9322
Electronic ISSN 2042-8758
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 1
Pages 11-29


Accepted Journal Article (635 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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