Mental health and substance use: working with reality

Relational Formulation

Working with young people experiencing severe and complex mental health problems (including personality disorder) can challenge clinicians and multidisciplinary teams. These challenges can result in clinicians or teams feeling frustrated and stuck, and to inadvertent collusions with madaptive patterns, which can make everything worse for everyone.

Developing a team formulation of challenging patterns of behaviour has been demonstrated to assist clinicians to work together more consistently and effectively. A reflective, relational model (based on cognitive analytic therapy principles) will be used to practice formulating the challenges in a way that can be communicated to others in simple terms, to promote more helpful responses from young peoples’ systems.

At the completion of this workshop you will:

  • understand the potential consequences of reacting when feeling challenged;
  • be familiar with a simple, reflective model for use in team discussions;
  • understand the core relational concepts and how these might be helpful;
  • have practice mapping relational patterns;
  • have practice identifying the pulls to collude with maladaptive patterns; and
  • have practice using simple language to convey the relational formulation to others

Day one: Thursday 25 August 2022, 9.30am to 4.30pm
Day two: Friday 26 August 2022, 9.30am to 4.30pm


The training will comprise didactic and interactive experiential sessions. The workshop will include PowerPoint slides, video clips, online documents, and both large and small group discussions. Regular short breaks will be included throughout the training.

Participants will need a computer, laptop or tablet with internet access and a working camera and microphone to take part in the workshop.

If you are unable to access any of the required equipment, or are unable to attend any part of the workshop, please let us know as soon as possible.

Pre-reading, handouts and the Zoom meeting link will be sent to participants via email prior to the workshop.