This unit will focus on how counselors assess their clients during the initial stages of the counseling process. How will you gather the information that will assist in describing the client’s presenting issues; the current level of functioning; strengths and limitations; risk factors; characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving; and possible areas for focus in the counseling process? Much of this information may come from a structured initial interview or biopsychosocial assessment, which frequently occurs during the first intake session. Counselors also use more formal types of assessments in early sessions, such as a mental status exam, depression/anxiety inventories, symptom checklists, or other self-report measures.
Having familiarity with the range of assessment instruments and processes available to counselors and understanding when they can be used to produce reliable and valid information to assist in the counseling process are important parts of professional development. Your site supervisor can discuss your current fieldwork site’s approach to assessment and may also be able to provide more information about the way other agencies or practitioners in your area approach using methods to assess clients, track their progress, and evaluate therapy outcomes.
To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:
1. Review various assessment tools designed to address specific disorders.
2. Identify the strengths and limitations of assessment tools.
3. Gauge the effectiveness of selected assessment tools in soliciting client data and facilitating interaction.
4. Discuss cultural characteristics that impact the selection and application of assessment tools.
I have selected the Beck Depression Inventory for this paper.
Utilize one or more specific methods of assessment with a client you are working with at your fieldwork site. Ask your site supervisor to assist you in selecting an assessment that is appropriate for your client and that is currently used at your site (such as the Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, mental status exam, biopsychosocial assessment, ecomap, genogram, or another developed assessment instrument).
If your fieldwork site does not use any methods for a formal evaluation process with clients, select at least one assessment tool that you believe would be appropriate for your client, and discuss its use with your site supervisor. A structured interview, biopsychosocial assessment, and genogram are less intrusive methods of assessment than using a developed instrument and should be discussed as possibilities with the site supervisor. Once you have permission from your supervisor to use this assessment method, set up a time to administer it with your client.
After you have collected client, couple, or family data using the various assessment tools given to you by your agency or organization (as well as any other assessment tool from your readings, with your site supervisor’s approval), synthesize, summarize, and write your assessment of the client, in a 3–4-page paper that:
5. Offers a brief description of your client, couple, or family, omitting any personally identifying information.
6. Describes the rationale for using these particular assessment forms (that is, agency policy, diagnostic clarification, and so on).
7. Gauges the effectiveness of selected assessment tools in soliciting client data and facilitating interaction.
8. Identifies the strengths and limitations of assessment tools.
9. Discusses cultural characteristics that impact the selection and application of assessment tools.
10. Identifies the limitations of these tools in gathering data and building a helping relationship.
Provide a rationale for selected assessment tools. 20%
Does not identify selected assessment tools.
Identifies assessment tools selected, but does not provide a rationale for their selection.
Provides a rationale for selected assessment tools.
Provides a thoughtful, thorough rationale for the assessment tools selected, supported by thorough research.
Gauge the effectiveness of selected assessment tools in soliciting client data and facilitating interaction. 20%
Does not list the results identified from the use of selected assessment tools.
Lists some of the results identified from the use of the selected assessment tools, but does not gauge their effectiveness.
Gauges the effectiveness of selected assessment tools in soliciting client data and facilitating interaction.
Gauges the effectiveness of the selected assessment tools and supports their assertions with thoughtfully selected and documented research.
Identify the strengths and limitations of assessment tools. 20%
It does not provide a partial list of the strengths and limitations associated with selected assessment tools.
It provides only a partial list of strengths and limitations associated with selected assessment tools.
Identifies the strengths and limitations of assessment tools.
Compares and contrasts a comprehensive list of strengths and limitations of the selected assessment tools.
Discuss cultural characteristics that impact the selection and application of assessment tools. 20%
It does not list cultural characteristics that impact the selection and application of assessment tools.
Lists but does not discuss cultural characteristics that impact the selection and application of assessment tools.
Discusses cultural characteristics that impact the selection and application of assessment tools.
Offers a thoughtful and thorough discussion of the cultural characteristics that impact the selection and application of assessment tools, well-supported by recent, relevant references.
Communicate in a manner that is consistent with the expectations of mental health counseling professionals. 20%
It does not communicate in a manner that is consistent with the expectations of mental health counseling professionals.
Inconsistently applies communication skills that are expected of mental health counseling professionals.
Communicates in a manner that is consistent with the expectations of mental health counseling professionals.
Skillfully and consistently communicates in a manner that is expected of mental health counseling professionals.
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