What is it about?

This paper presents a revised adaptation of the Abductive Theory of Method (ATOM) framework as a guide for clinical psychological assessment. The framework outlines how a clinician can 1) set up an appropriate focus of inquiry; 2) identify a client's key psychological difficulties 2) develop a case formulation to explain those difficulties; and 3) evaluate this case formulation.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

ATOM provides a framework for clinical psychologists that is both flexible and comprehensive. This framework is sensitive to the complexities of cases and appreciates that careful description of a client's concerns should always precede explanation. ATOM can also be used by any clinician regardless of their theoretical orientation.


The current article is a revised version of the ATOM model for clinical assessment, put forward by Ward, Vertue, & Haig, 1999. The key revisions were the addition of useful and contemporary resources for clinical psychology practice. This includes 1) transdiagnositic approaches; and 2) the Research Domain Criteria project or RDoC.

Mr Samuel Clack
Victoria University of Wellington

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The Abductive Theory of Method: Scientific Inquiry and Clinical Practice, Behaviour Change, December 2016, Cambridge University Press,
DOI: 10.1017/bec.2017.1.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page