Preparing for a Personal Reformulation

To follow on from Clive Turpin’s last blog on Personal Reformulations (PRs), he shares some thoughts the Catalyse PR therapists have put together about preparation for a PR.

In this we attend to the questions:
Is there anything I can do to prepare for my Personal Reformulation?
What things might be helpful to consider before undertaking my Personal Reformulation?

These are really important questions and the details below attempt to provide some answers.  Firstly there are some practicalities that can be useful to think about.

Timing: When should I arrange to have a PR?
What feels important here is that you will have the time and space to think and reflect, not only in the session, but afterwards too.  This helps you to make full use of the richness of what is explored in the session and to give yourself as much of an opportunity to reflect and use the work to support recognition and work towards change. Therefore periods of increased stress or workload or study might not be the best time to undertake your PR.

Who do I see for a PR?: Choosing a therapist
For those doing Doctorate of Clinical Psychology courses, or CAT Skills courses, which have an agreement with Catalyse to provide PRs, there is information on our PR therapists on the Catalyse website to help you decide who to see and where this will be.  Sometimes locality and convenience can feel important as well as distance from your local area.  The gender or other characteristics of the therapist may be important to you.  Their current or past areas of work may also be something that feels relevant to your choice.

If you don’t have access to the Catalyse PR therapists through your course but would like to work with one of us, you can contact us to explore options.  Alternatively you can check ACAT’s listing of accredited members providing private therapy in your area.  You can ask those you approach whether they have experience of providing PRs. The link for this listing is here.

Aims: What do I want to get out of a PR?
Prior to the PR it can be very helpful to reflect on what you would like to get from the sessions in a general sense and also consider any specific goals. Taking some time to reflect on your relational patterns, with yourself and with others, can also be very helpful.  You might think about things that regularly occur that you would like to explore, understand better, and work towards changing. This could focus on a particular pattern or feeling that you struggle with or that gets stuck.

What tools are available to help me get the most out of a PR?
It might be helpful to look through the Psychotherapy File prior to the meeting.  This is a standard CAT tool developed by Tony Ryle and is available from your PR therapist on request.  This can be a useful aid to recognising repeated patterns of relating and how you manage currently. Your reflections can then inform the initial conversation of the PR and help to establish an agreed focus.

There are other tools which are used to aid self reflection in the CAT model, including the Psychosocial Checklist and the Helper’s Dance (Potter 2013).  Again you may want to look at these before the meeting.  However the main focus of the PR is more likely to be the narrative that develops between you and the PR therapist through your conversation, so don’t worry if you haven’t been able to look at these other tools.

Let us know if this information has been useful in preparing for your PR.

If you’ve had a Personal Reformulation and want to share what helped you feel ready and make the most of it, let us know, or feel free to leave a comment below.

Clive Turpin, representing the Catalyse PR therapists.

You can follow Clive on Twitter: @Clive_Turpin

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