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Assessment & Formulation

The assessment and formulation phase is the start of the CA programme – and the first step towards recovery. This initial phase is about understanding the nature of your addiction and developing an individually tailored treatment plan designed to treat your addiction in the most effective way.

Three consultations with a specialist psychologist

The assessment phase consists of a series of three consultations with a specialist addictions psychologist. You’ll be allocated the most appropriate psychologist for you following your initial call or referral, and you’ll meet with the same psychologist throughout this phase and the entire City Addictions programme. This allows you and your psychologist to build the trust and continuity needed for effective treatment.

The three assessment consultations are each 50 minutes long and are designed to provide a solid foundation for the rest of the programme. The first two consultations allow your psychologist to really get to know you and understand the nature and patterns of your addiction. The third consultation is focused on consolidating this information and discussing your treatment plan and next steps.
Consultations one and two

The first two consultations explore where you are now and how you got there. You’ll be asked lots of questions covering a number of topics, and specific screening tools and questionnaires may also be used to better understand the severity of your addiction.

Your psychologist will start by asking you about your reasons for coming to therapy, your current difficulties with addiction and your goals and expectations of treatment. Then there will be a focus on the specifics of your addiction – how and when it started, how it manifests, the triggers and other key events and details. Your psychologist needs to understand your addiction in depth so be prepared for questions covering every aspect.

As well as discussing your addiction, you will also be asked about other factors relating to yourself and your life, in order to provide a full and complete picture. These will include questions about your social life and friends, your family and personal relationships, your living situation, your education and professional life, and your psychological and physical health.

Psychological Formulation

Between consultations two and three, your psychologist will use the information you’ve provided to develop a ‘psychological formulation’ – a complete and detailed summary of your addiction, and the contributing factors that led to it and sustain it within the context of your life. This summary allows both you and your psychologist to understand exactly what’s going on, and how to treat the addiction most effectively.

Final Consultation

The third consultation is focused towards your personalised treatment programme and next steps. You’ll receive a printed report containing your psychologist’s professional opinion, their initial psychological formulation and recommendations for the best treatment approach and goals moving forward. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss everything with your psychologist and ensure that you’re completely happy with the treatment approach.

At this stage your psychologist will also highlight whether there’s any requirement for referrals to one of our City Addictions recommended GPs or psychiatrists for detox, medications or health screening if needed. Our recommended GPs and psychiatrists are highly regarded in their respective fields and have specialist experience in addictions.

From here the focus is firmly on moving forward, as you start the intensive psychological treatment phase of the programme.