TRADITIONAL ASSESSMENT is a form of psychological evaluation where we use clinical interviews, testing, questionnaires, behavioral observation, and sometimes collateral contacts to help answer questions about thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Questions may concern things such as diagnosis, specific symptoms, problem behavior, emotional reactions, or learning/academic issues, as well as personal strengths. Certain types of jobs such as law enforcement or the FAA may require testing as part of the hiring process. Test results are often used to help design the best possible interventions or optimal plans for treatment. Traditional assessment is usually done in one or two sessions and may also be followed by a meeting to discuss results.
COLLABORATIVE (THERAPEUTIC ASSESSMENT)
COLLABORATIVE AND THERAPEUTIC ASSESSMENT were developed by experts such as Dr. Constance Fisher, and Dr. Stephen Finn. In these methods, assessors and clients work together on the joint venture of exploring clients' goals and/or problems in living. The evaluation is centered around clients' questions for themselves (although for those already in psychotherapy, a therapist may also suggest questions). Tests are chosen specifically for the questions asked; goals are centered around helping clients understand themselves better and having this understanding make a practical difference in their lives. Many clients find that this kind of assessment affects them in a very deep way and that the powerful impact of testing continues long after it is completed. Research has shown that this method of assessment helps many clients feel better about themselves and less distressed. Collaborative assessment is designed to support clients through the vulnerable testing experience by working together as a team (assessor-client-therapist-family etc.) to find the answers to client questions. In addition to the actual testing, the client's experience during the assessment process is considered to be critically important in getting the most useful results. The more open and willing clients are to explore things during the evaluation process, the more they can benefit. Collaborative assessment may take between 4-8 sessions over a 4-8 week period and almost always includes a final Summary/Discussion session and a follow-up session a month or so afterwards, to review what was learned and further integrate results.
FORENSIC ASSESSMENT is usually similar to traditional assessment, but involves the Court, Professional Boards, an outside agency requesting testing, or relates to other legal concerns. Depending on the specific issue and questions, some forensic assessments can be done using a Collaborative model.
PRE-EMPLOYMENT ASSESSMENT is used by many organizations to help determine the best candidates for particular types of jobs. Pre-employment testing is often used in safety-sensitive work settings such as law enforcement, aviation/air traffic control, healthcare, and in high level executive positions.
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