6. Formulation

  1. Allan Tasman Professor and Chair1,
  2. Jerald Kay Professor and Chair2 and
  3. Robert J. Ursano Professor and Chair3
  1. Allison Cowan,
  2. Randon Welton and
  3. Jerald Kay

Published Online: 20 MAY 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118341001.ch6

The Psychiatric Interview: Evaluation and Diagnosis

The Psychiatric Interview: Evaluation and Diagnosis

How to Cite

Tasman, A., Kay, J. and Ursano, R. J. (2013) Formulation, in The Psychiatric Interview: Evaluation and Diagnosis, John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118341001.ch6

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KN, USA

  2. 2

    Department of Psychiatry, Boonshoft School of Medicine, Wright State University, Dayton, OH, USA

  3. 3

    Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 MAY 2013
  2. Published Print: 22 JUL 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781119976233

Online ISBN: 9781118341001



  • biopsychosocial formulation;
  • psychiatric patients;
  • psychological factors;
  • social factors


The formulation has been described as a hypothesis that demands refinement over time and considers the interplay of precipitants, causes, maintaining influences, and psychological factors as they relate to the mental life of the patient. The formulation then is based on a biopsychosocial understanding of the patient with an appreciation of the deeper meanings of emotions and behaviours. This chapter demonstrates the advantages of a more deeply informed formulation in the treatment of a variety of psychiatric patients. Regardless of the setting, however, the biological or medical information gathered during the interview can deepen the understanding of the patient. A comprehensive understanding of the patient's social situation provides a larger context for helping the psychiatrist to appreciate the patient as a product of the myriad of forces and situations they have experienced. Psychological factors encompass the breadth of the patient's internal mental world.