Topic 4: Communicating Assessment Results {by 9/17}

Based on the text readings and lecture recording due this week consider the following two discussion points: (1) For communicating results to clients (or parents), provide a couple points that stuck out to as very relevant (explain why).  (2) Why is it so important in “what” and “how” you communicate mental health assessment results to clients?

 

Your original post should be posted by 9/17.  Post your two replies no later than 9/19.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

78 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cassie Miller
    Sep 13, 2020 @ 14:27:21

    When communicating results to clients some of the points that stood out to me included: the language used for interpretation, adjusting your approach based off of your relationship with the client, and allowing the client to participate in the discussion of their results.
    The first point is very important because the way you explain the results can have a very strong impact on how the clients view themselves. For example, the clinician could state, “You have severe depression” vs “Your score reflects a high level of depression, but with the right treatment this score can change significantly.” The second option is much better because the client is not being defined by their score and can see a light at the end of the tunnel. It also allows the client to understand that this score is imperfect, instead of allowing them to assume that the score is a completely valid and reliable determination of their diagnosis. This is also why it is so important to explain a scores limitations to a client, so that they can understand that it is more of an estimate than a fact. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you are discussing a client’s strengths throughout this summary of their results, so that they can feel empowered instead of hopeless. The seconds point is important because it is based off of your rapport with the client. Some clients will like to speak in a more lighthearted manner with small talk, while others would prefer to get straight to the point and appreciate more technical language. If you do not appropriately connect with your clients and establish rapport the conversations won’t flow and you may relay information to the client in a format they are uncomfortable with. The last point is important because the client could be consumed by their results and may lose focus on what you are saying. Often times if someone is talking at you for a while you begin to zone out and may lose track of what the individual speaking to you is saying. By allowing the client to participate in this discussion and prompting them to answer questions about how they feel towards the assessment, they become an influential part of their own treatment. A discussion opens the gateway for a client to feel heard and for them to fully understand what this score may mean for their future in the therapy process. Furthermore, it allows you to have an open discussion about why this assessment was specifically chosen for them. It can be very influential to receive feedback at the end of a discussion of results with your client because they can inform you about aspects of their diagnosis that they would like to perhaps spend more time on. It also creates an outlet where they can feel comfortable voicing concerns or certain areas that they would like you to improve on with your own counseling style.
    I spent a little time on the second question in my discussion above, but to summarize it I would have to say that it all revolves around how the client will perceive their results, as well as, how you feel about them. It is important to have an open line of communication with your client, but to make sure that you are only pulling out the most important goals to focus on in the beginning. It is also vital to make sure that you are not defining the client by their illness and are instead giving a brief description of what the results reflect (while reminding them that these results are not permanent or completely accurate). You want to explain these results to the client in a kind, compassionate, and empathetic way. You also want to focus on the clients individual strengths and room for improvement. You should never overwhelm them by stating all of their shortcomings and providing them with too many goals all at once. The client should leave your office feeling hopeful, uplifted, and ready for positive progress.

    Reply

    • Beth Martin
      Sep 14, 2020 @ 18:26:27

      Hi Cassie,

      I really like your point about language being extremely important. I’d touched on removing jargon from your vocabulary, as it can be really isolating for an individual if they have no idea what you’re talking about, but being careful on using language that can label a client seems equally important. Like you said, hearing “you have this disorder/issue” seems incredibly final, and that doesn’t seem incredibly encouraging when you’re trying to actively get better/improve. There isn’t a timeline attached to phrases like that, and it does seem like it’s something you’re going to have forever. I think your way of wording is fantastic – letting your client know what the test is reflecting (not determining) AND giving them a really quick boost of hope immediately after seems like a great way to keep a client focused and hopeful.

      I think feedback is extremely important too – when a therapist is seeing multiple people with multiple different communication styles, it’s crucial to keep assessing yourself to make sure that you’re actually doing a good job at communicating, not just thinking you are. I think that’s a pit that a lot of people can fall into – myself included. Just having good intentions to match your clients communication style doesn’t mean you’re actually succeeding, it all depends on how they’re interpreting it, right? Encouraging them to let you know how they feel about the entire process is a really good way of getting a benchmark on how you’re doing.

      Thanks for posting, I enjoyed reading your opinions on this weeks material!

      Reply

    • Abby Robinson
      Sep 15, 2020 @ 00:19:59

      Hi Cassie,
      I think you explained ‘word choice’ so well in your first point of importance of communicating results. I think that letting your client know the results of their assessment are so far beyond just the number or score. The explain of the score allows for validation, as you mentioned, and that it’s not that they did ‘poorly’ on the assessment. Rather, they just have some more evidence for the diagnosis. I think it could be helpful, too, to add some showing symptoms along with the score of their assessment. That way they don’t feel defined or bound to this magical number. Maybe if you gave the BDI and they scored highly on it, in your explanation of the results to the client you could mention the test results, as well as their symptoms of sadness, calling out of work, being tired all the time, etc. This may help validate the diagnosis as more of a whole rather than just the number associated with it.

      Reply

    • Tayler Weathers
      Sep 15, 2020 @ 15:01:11

      Hi Cassie! I totally agree with your points on relaying client information in a comfortable way. I feel like most standardized tests or assessments I’ve taken have just spit information out at me in a way that didn’t feel useful or interesting. This reminds me a lot of our discussion of “silence” in PSY 600 – sometimes, people need space to process! Results, I would imagine, can be overwhelming, especially if they’re not what you expected. I do wonder about when you propose the clinician say “Your score reflects a high level of depression, but with the right treatment this score can change significantly.” Does that put too much emphasis on the score, rather than feeling better? I think what’s crucial to emphasize about assessments is their limitations and how they only describe a facet of the individual. This would probably also help the client to stay interested, as it can push them to examine themselves and their thought process, rather than just feeling lectured at about a test (which, I definitely experienced in undergrad, and would not recommend).

      Reply

    • Anne Marie Lemieux
      Sep 16, 2020 @ 18:28:04

      Hi Cassie, Thank you for mentioning the importance of therapeutic rapport. It is essential to having a client receive the information as well as feel heard. If a clinician has a strong rapport, I believe the information can be heard in a less guarded manner. I think it is also important to mention, matching your clients style can assist in their comfort level. You highlighted that the information should have an air of hope and be goal focused. I believe it is important to always to be asking yourself “What is the goal of sharing this information?”. It can hopefully lead to a productive open discussion. Thank you for your thoughtful input.

      Reply

      • Lina Boothby-Zapata
        Sep 20, 2020 @ 11:22:40

        Hi Cassi, I really like your summary about how to communicate to your clients the results of the instrument. The points that you highlight such as not defining your client base in the assessment results, being empathetic, focusing on strengths, working with them by each goal and making sure that your client leave your office for positive mood. I think that are good points, I will add to your perspective something that Dr. V commented in class and it really sticks to me. He said something like when you are communicating assessments you want to balance between being no too positive, because the client could think “everything is okay, why I am looking for therapy” and on the other hand we don’t want to create negative emotions where the client could say “This is a mess, my life doesn’t have any sense” Dr. V talked about the middle point, and being honest with your client, meaning that if there are concerns that they need to be addressed based on the instrument’s results or in general in the therapy process, well the therapist should have the skills of having difficult conversations with the clients to support them to cover those challenges.

        Reply

  2. Elias Pinto-Hernandez
    Sep 14, 2020 @ 08:33:03

    After having the qualifications, a clear view of what needs to be measure, selected, administered, and scored a strong construct validity assessment, in my understanding, it is imperative to communicate the results to the client or guardian; here is why: according to our text, despite the lack of research, Goodyear (1960) concluded that those individuals that were informed of their test interpretation experienced more significant gains in counseling in comparison with those who do not. In other words, the session to communicate the results could be a therapeutic one provoking a positive change and a step forward for the client.

    Before presenting the test result, it is essential for the counselor to have established rapport and “know” the client. What to communicate? Remind them of the author’s name and the objective (what we pretend to measure). That is, what justifies the test application. Being completely transparent and honest with the client could be beneficial to the client-therapist relationship, considering the need for rapport necessary for the therapy’s success. The relevant aspects related to the evaluation process and the values obtained must be described. Communicating the conclusions and suggestions is also pertinent, especially if the client’s integration and cooperation are sought in the exploration of intervention or treatment possibilities.

    There are many important aspects to keep in mind when considering how to communicate mental health assessment results to clients; the text provides guidelines to communicate results to clients and parents in pages 92-94. However, oversimplifying, as I understand first, counselors must schedule a session exclusively to just that. Second, during the session, any tools or material that facilitates the transmission of the message should be included (e.g., computer, graphics, pictures). Third, the clinician should keep in mind the research suggests that individuals that received collaborative style test interpretation were more likely to begin therapy than the rest. Also important, studies show that individuals are more inclined to see a counselor who used a tentative interpretation over an absolute one. In other words, if you like the client to come back, include him in the interpretation process and keep in mind that the tentative interpretation seems to be the way to go. Four, it is essential to be culturally oriented and to consider the language of the client. By this, I mean the use of words known to the client. In addition, the results must be conveyed by being empathetic, encouraging, and inspiring hope to increase the clients’ self-esteem.

    Reply

    • Beth Martin
      Sep 14, 2020 @ 18:37:26

      Hi Elias!

      I think we both touched on how important it is that your client understands what you’re actually trying to communicate with them, and matching your language to theirs, considering they don’t have the same technical training as a therapist. Your comment about matching their culture got me thinking though, especially when combined with your discussion of how tentative interpretations seem to be preferred over absolute ones by clients. Other classes we’re taking right now have touched on how some clients from more hierarchical cultures may expect the therapist to be “the authority” and tell them what to do, vs other backgrounds expecting more of a “helper” role from their therapist. It’s made me think about how you’d communicate tentative results to clients that see you as someone who has the answers, especially when taking cultural backgrounds into account. I’m not sure if you’d genuinely need a different approach, or if it’s just something you need to be mindful of. For example, do you think you’d need to hammer home that the tests themselves aren’t finite, not that you, as an authority figure, don’t understand them fully? I think I’d be a little self conscious that I was coming across as a) not knowing my own field and b) changing how the client views me in this relationship if they genuinely are expecting me to have all the answers. Your discussion post has definitely made me think!

      Thanks for posting!

      Reply

      • Elias Pinto-Hernandez
        Sep 18, 2020 @ 19:26:17

        Hi Beth,
        Certainly, hierarchical cultures may expect the therapist, in this case, to be the authority and tell them what to do, vs. others. The topic is new to me and is a great learning experience. However, in my opinion, it would be counterproductive to repeatedly emphasize a test result, an idea, or anything until or the client understands it. I believe that it is always helpful to encourage folks to make their own decisions. Furthermore, I agree with you; we need to be mindful and self-conscious of our limitations.

        Reply

    • Abby Robinson
      Sep 15, 2020 @ 00:09:51

      Hi Elias,
      I think it is so important that you brought up how those clients that had assessment results explained to them clearly, had better results in the therapeutic process than those clients who did not. And that it was a beneficial part of the therapeutic process understanding why they were diagnosed with whatever they were diagnosed with. This may be because after the results are explained, it may be beneficial to ask your client: “How do you feel about these results?” or “what is you reaction to these results?” This may be a great way to include this in therapy because the therapist is making it collaborative with the client who then may be more open or have better, in depth conversations which leads to a better exploration of thoughts and emotions. But it all starts with a clear, understandable explanation of results! Thank you for making that point in your first paragraph!

      Reply

      • Elias Pinto-Hernandez
        Sep 18, 2020 @ 19:27:03

        Hi Abby,

        You made a great point, and definitely, research suggests that working with the client in a collaborative way is more therapeutic.

        Reply

    • Tayler Weathers
      Sep 15, 2020 @ 14:56:47

      Hi Elias! I also found Goodyear’s conclusion really interesting. However, I wonder if maybe clients who heard their test interpretations had “more significant gains in counseling” because they knew what the test was looking for. Mainly, I wonder how much the results of one assessment affect your performance on another assessment, either because of demand characteristics or because of comfort/familiarity with the test. I also wonder why no studies have been done on this since 1960!

      Reply

    • Lilly Brochu
      Sep 16, 2020 @ 10:21:35

      Hi Elias,

      Your response helped me visualize the steps in which a counselor takes before and during their session with a client. These steps are very important to having the therapist build up their rapport and relationship with the client. You made a point that clients benefit from being shown some sort of a visual along with a verbal explanation because it can really provide the “big picture” understanding of the assessment’s results, and can encourage the client to come back to their next session. The importance of sharing the assessment’s results with the client should be stressed as research shows that it is truly beneficial for both involved in the therapeutic process. I appreciated that you touched upon cultural influences. The therapist should take one’s culture into consideration, and understand that there are potential language barriers, or communicative differences that could impact communicating results to the client. Thanks for your post!

      Reply

      • Elias Pinto-Hernandez
        Sep 18, 2020 @ 19:27:51

        Hi Lilly,
        Definitely, there is a great deal of information to think about. I do not believe that we would fully understand another culture; however, an effort should be made to be culture competence. In a session, witness a clinician engaging with a client in a way that made me question his therapeutic approach and even his professional formation. Some research or even asking the client themselves about their culture in the first couple of sessions I believe, would be beneficial. As the professor stated “know your client”.

        Reply

  3. Beth Martin
    Sep 14, 2020 @ 18:19:37

    Points that stuck out to me as incredibly relevant when it comes to communicating results are the minimization of jargon, and avoiding certainties. I found the discussion on how communicating results is part of the therapeutic process incredibly enlightening, as it wasn’t something I had considered as a part of the process before. However, it makes sense that communicating results with your client is beyond important, as they need to know what you’re both hoping to treat, or the common goal you’re working towards. It’s critical to build a rapport and way of communicating said results that actually make sense to your client. That’s why the minimization of jargon is relevant to me. Throwing words and terms at your client that they may not understand seems like a poor way to maintain open dialogue, where your client feels like they can question and interject. As a therapist, you want to make sure that your client understands what is going on and that they’re never in the dark, and part of being open with them has to include changing assessment lingo into something that they can understand without training. Regarding avoiding certainties, that seems highly relevant to me because of how final/certain most testing in our lives seems. SATs/GREs/School assessments are all very much a “sit it and you’re done” thing – we don’t necessarily see them as a tool for assessing our own knowledge, but as more of a life changing, huge thing that will stay with us forever. They’re scary, and they tend to be the only thing you’re actually assessed with. I didn’t learn about the different ways of learning until I was about 17/18, when it occurred to me that the testing I’d been doing beforehand may not actually have definitively assessed my attainment in one area. Tests not being perfect, and not the only basis for diagnosis, is something that’s rarely spoken about in day to day life, and communicating that with your client seems incredibly important in removing worries that this test has said xyz about me, so it must be true. They’re simply tools in helping us better understand what’s going on, instead of something that’s ticking a box on a diagnosis in a vacuum. I imagine it also helps with the therapeutic relationship, knowing that the assessments you’ve taken aren’t the only way you’re being evaluated, and that your therapist is genuinely listening to you.

    I’ve discussed a little on why “what” and “how” you communicate mental health assessments is important above, but I think it all comes down to maintaining a good, working therapeutic relationship between therapist and client. As mentioned in the lecture, being open with your client is key in building and keeping a therapeutic relationship, which in turn is extremely important in encouraging a client to keep working with you towards getting better. If a clinician is keeping things back, and not communicating all the results with their client, they aren’t being open with them, showing that “what” you share has to be everything. The same goes for “how” they’re communicating too; if you’re using language that discourages your client from talking to you about the results, or technical jargon that they don’t understand, you’re not being completely open with them. If they don’t understand what the results mean when you’re communicating them, you may as well have kept them in the dark. If they don’t feel like they can ask you questions about the results because you’re incredibly formal, or using way of delivery they find off-putting, you’ve closed off part of the therapeutic relationship. Being mindful of how you’re communicating results, and what you’re actually conveying to your client, is crucial in making sure that they continue to trust you and the therapy process.

    Reply

    • Lina Boothby-Zapata
      Sep 15, 2020 @ 00:07:54

      POST

      One of the points that I found interesting in the class lecture&recording by Dr. V was his bullet and explanation “communication of testing or assessment results should not be perceived as a discrete activity, but should be interwoven into the counseling.” The explanation provided was that the results of the assessments are not isolated information in the therapeutic process. Dr.V clarifies that this is not only referred to the process of doing several assessments during the therapeutic process to monitor the level of the depression of the client. Furthermore, Dr. V highlights the importance of communicating the clients the results and incorporate these results into the therapy of the client, meaning that the Counselor can utilize this information to define the case formulation, treatment goals, and intervention. A second point that I found relevant is that Communicating results is a way to establish rapport with your client. In Counseling Principles and Practice, we are learning about how to build these clinical skills during the therapeutic process, and we have talked about how the Counselor can facilitate the exploration of thoughts and feelings in the exploration stage. Well, assessments are also implemented during the exploration stage or initial sessions. Dr.V highlights that Communicating Results is the equivalent of doing therapy, and it is an opportunity to build rapport with our clients. It is a combination of unconditional regard, empathy, and exploration of thoughts and feelings, but also it is an exploration/assessment that strengthen the relationship or in other words the transference from the client towards the Counselor, this experience often creates confidence and trust in the client about his/her therapist. In summary. it is a combination of, theory, clinical skills, use of resources (tests), and positive rapport (relations between Counselor and client) I guess this idea is also linked to the questions why it is so important to communicate mental health assessment results.

      When we talked about how to communicate the assessments, I am thinking about what is the best way to approach the client in this task, and I will refer to a couple of recommendations that were relevant for me. First, explain the results in terms of probability rather than certainties, meaning that the results don’t represent everything. They are not absolutes. Doing this will help to reduce adverse reactions from the clients or rejection of the information because what you want from your client is getting her/his engaged in the results and made the client an active participant in discussing the results. Second, matching multiple methods, a proposal by Dr.V I found it difficult because usually what counselors do is that they create one style or method, and then the counselors offer their services. After that, the client will decide if fits in this therapeutic offer or no. What I perceive here, if I am not wrong, is that the Counselor develops different methods to approach to the client based on the client’s needs or personality. Like if the Counselor has a box of clinical tools and decides which one to use depends on the client. I think this is very ambitious, and need a lot of clinical experience to get there.

      I would like to also to refer to Dr. Whiston. She provides information about researches related to how to communicate results; there are a couple that got my attention. First, Goodyear (1990) concluded that those who received test interpretations experience more significant gains in counseling. Second is in therapeutic Assessment Finn (2007) found that there is a process to provide the results of the outcome. Briefly, he describes three steeps. Level 1 findings, what clients think about themselves, Level 2 findings, refrain or amplify what clients think about themselves, Level 3 findings in which the assessment results are more discrepant or conflict with the usual way the clients view themselves. I am thinking about this approach could be beneficial, especially with clients who are referred by Court, DCF, or DMH. Most of the time, these clients are in denial with their symptomatology and they assist to counseling as a request by the court (conditions of probation) or DCF Action Plan that is working towards reunification. These clinical approaches could be interesting to apply to show the client the discrepancy between what he/she thinks about it and the real problem, meaning the results that the assessment provides to the client, hence could be a moment of clinical insight for the client.

      Reply

    • Anne Marie Lemieux
      Sep 16, 2020 @ 18:58:57

      Thank you for your insight Beth. I hadn’t ever really thought about “minimizing jargon” specifically. However, as a school counselor I have sat in several IEP meetings with parents who are completely glazed over as a school psychologist reviews testing. Then there are other psychologists who are able to clarify the test results in a way parents can comprehend and it leads to beneficial conversations about their child’s learning and growth. I often wondered what the goal of using clinical jargon to parent’s is. I have theories but I digress. I think explaining that an assessment is only a tool in better understanding someone’s needs is ideal. Using testing to see how it can be used to benefit the client seems to me to be the point of doing it in the first place. While I agree that a positive rapport can be beneficial, it is not always realistic. There are many incidents were a person is utilized only for testing and no other relationship beyond that exists.

      Reply

      • Beth Martin
        Sep 16, 2020 @ 22:13:53

        Hi Anne Marie!

        Thank you for your point about rapport being ideal and not realistic – I definitely approached this from my stereotypical “working together for a few months at least” view of therapy, and hadn’t considered that assessment is often done without having any prior relationship! I need to be more mindful of that, so I appreciate you bringing it to my attention.
        I’d be incredibly interested to hear about the theories you developed re: jargon during your time as a school counselor, if you ever have the time!

        Reply

  4. Abby Robinson
    Sep 14, 2020 @ 23:59:20

    For communicating assessment results to parents or clients, one of the major, relevant points that stuck out was that sharing the results with them is one of the first ways to develop rapport. A positive therapeutic relationship is so important to have with clients and starting off with open communication is a great way to accomplish that. It is important to develop good rapport with your client within the first sessions. If you are giving the assessment to your client, it is important that they understand that the relationship is more than just the assessment and the results. The client would appreciate an explanation of what the results mean, but also what the terms mean that go along with it. You can build a good relationship by letting your client know what the range, median or mode is; or what the normal curve is and how the standard deviation effects how their score is interpreted. In other words, being self aware of the language the counselor is using will effect how the client interprets the results. Having a good ‘baseline’ understanding seems very relevant in the relationship with the client. That way, too, if the client isn’t clear on their results or in what context their results mean, they feel comfortable enough to ask the counselor to explain or interpret them in another way that is relevant to the clients understanding. Another relevant point that stood out to me was when communicating results to parents, it is important to validate their feelings when appropriate. This helps them understand what they’re feeling is ‘understandable’. Also, I think it was an important point that parents may need help to focus on their child’s abilities too rather than to only focus on the disabilities. This is important because it can help set short and long term goals in the therapeutic process. If the only focus were on the disabilities, it would be hard to see any type of plan or aims to help their child. But seeing their abilities allows for a plan to be set in place.
    It is important in what you communicate with your clients because you want it to be clear and understand what the results are. You want to share all the important information needed to explain them. I think it is important while you are sharing the results what the tests mean in terms of the score, but also explain that the score isn’t the only reason they were diagnosed with that disorder. You could include that all the symptoms they explained as well as the test score indicate the diagnosis of that mental disorder. For example you could say that they got a high score on the BDI which indicates that they have depression, but also that they mentioned they can’t get out of bed, call out of work, can’t sleep well, feel sad, etc. It is important in how you communicate the assessment results because each client is different and having a good understanding of the relationship between the client and therapist will change how the results are explained. Some clients may need a more sensitively worded explanation while other clients may want to just get to the point. It is important the therapist can change the wording of the results in different ways because some clients may understand a more complex language than others. Being able to match the language of the client is going to make the explanation more clear for the client.

    Reply

    • Lilly Brochu
      Sep 16, 2020 @ 10:20:19

      Hi Abby,

      Sharing the results of an assessment with a client is so crucial in establishing a strong foundation between the therapist and the client. Using visuals (range, median, etc.) that show the client the results would be an excellent way to give more detail about their results/diagnosis and can provide the client with a better understanding. As for your next point, the feelings of parents need to be validated. For example, some parents may tend to feel alone in their situation with their child, and it is good to provide them with support that what they are feeling is okay to feel. One of the biggest takeaways for me was the point you included about how parents should focus on the child’s strengths rather than on their weaknesses. Along with setting both short- and long-term goals in therapy sessions, it is important to see how the parents view the child, and how the child perceives themselves. If the parent is solely focused on the disabilities of the child, then the child may have more difficulty with accepting their strengths and moving forward in a positive direction. Lastly, you emphasized the importance that the clients should be explained that their score is not the only thing that led to their diagnosis. This is essential when communicating to the client because it shows that there is a combination of evidence that has led the therapist to this conclusion. If communicated correctly, the client would trust the therapist that they did not only rely on an assessment to diagnosis them. Great post!

      Reply

  5. Tayler Weathers
    Sep 15, 2020 @ 14:53:04

    1 & 2. For communicating results, I think the points that stuck out to me most were 1. That sharing results can be therapeutic and 2. Discuss as probabilities rather than certainties. The first point, that results can be therapeutic, is something that I feel hasn’t been emphasized enough in my undergraduate courses. It always seemed like the assessment results were just data, maybe just for the sake of objectivity, and their dual function as an explanatory tool was lost to me. I really like this because it reminds me of when my SAT students would come to me with their score, and I’d explain all the pieces of it. Most of the time, people get stuck on the number and forget to think about what the test is measuring. I can definitely see how saying “you scored [x high score] on the Beck Depression Inventory. That, along with other evidence, makes me pretty confident you are depressed” would be almost empowering for clients. Diagnosis and results can be validating, like Dr. V mentioned in the lecture, which is why it’s so very important to communicate results in a sensitive way. The second point that stuck out to me, to discuss probabilities rather than certainties, is important in a similar way. I think our school system, along with other facets of our society, really emphasizes tests as objective, concrete, giving the sense that “that’s your number and there’s no other numbers.” Discussing probabilities is both sensitive to how humans fluctuate (because maybe that day the client doesn’t feel particularly depressed! It might be harder to think about how they are depressed on other days, and a range of scores or a “this is a likelihood thing” might help), and also gives an idea of growth mindset. Scores can and do change, both through normal fluctuation and effort put in. I think as a client having not just a number but an idea of what that number truly means about me, and an idea of how maybe the test isn’t an all-encompassing, perfect representation of me, would be really powerful. What you say and how you say results to clients is important not only for the therapeutic relationship but as an authority on the subject. The way you give results models how clients should/will feel about them. If you’re dismissive, the client will be too. If you’re encouraging and realistic, the client will feel a lot better about you and their choice to come to therapy!

    Reply

    • Bibi
      Sep 16, 2020 @ 13:17:19

      Hey tayler,
      I loved that you hit on using results on an assessment more as probability than a certainty. I felt like this not only answered what stuck out to you but also just how important it is to communicate results in a specific way. Telling a patient they have depression is one thing but being careful about how your word that or saying it in a way that emphasizes that you might feel depressed sometimes even if you arent necessarily feeling bad right now is super important. I felt like that point was super important.

      Reply

    • Destria Dawkins
      Sep 16, 2020 @ 21:36:19

      Hi Tayler. I like that you pointed out the fact that sharing results can be therapeutic. It definitely feels better to hear the results from a trusted professional who knows what they are doing. It helps to know that there is someone who is willing to help you get better. Personally, I feel like it helps the client understand that they are not alone.

      Reply

  6. Lilly Brochu
    Sep 15, 2020 @ 21:42:44

    Establishing a strong communicative link between the therapist and the client is a key component of the therapy process. Communicating the results of a client’s assessment is extremely important and should always be encouraged. The therapist should be open, honest, and transparent to create a safe space to discuss a client’s results. When the therapist is open about the assessment results with the client, it allows the client to understand themselves better, and is helpful for both parties going forward with discussing treatment options and establishing the client’s future goals. By continuing to assess and communicate the client’s results throughout the therapeutic process, it leads to a strong bond between the client and the therapist. Another important point is the tone and type of language the therapist uses while discussing a client’s assessment results. When communicating to the client, the therapist should utilize multiple approaches to relay the results to their clients and be aware of the tone and language they use. For example, if the therapist uses jargon, or any type of “flowery” language, terms, etc., it could confuse the client’s understanding of their assessment results, or even how they perceive themselves. A part of communicating effectively is to be on a similar level, or being able to match your client’s communicative style as best as you can.

    As for communicating results of assessments to parents, I thought that all of the points discussed in the PowerPoint were very important. I have personal experiences working with children and their parents. I have witnessed how parents can react with care and understanding about their child or how they can be completely defensive when hearing anything (positive or negative) about them. One of the most important points about communicating results to parents is to help parents focus on the child’s abilities and not just their disabilities. Children can be very observant and receptive. If a parent is centered on their child’s weaknesses, the child will struggle to understand the strengths they possess, and have difficulty building up their self-confidence in areas of life they flourish in. It is important that the therapist provides support and encouragement to both the parent and child in taking pride in their child’s strengths rather than overlooking them and focusing only on their flaws or weaknesses.

    To summarize, what the therapist presents to the client about their results and the manner in which they communicate these results are important because of the effects it can have on the client, the therapist, or the therapeutic relationship. For example, the therapist could easily alter the client’s perception of themselves in a negative way if they had communicated results poorly. For example, if the therapist had told their client that they are diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), the therapist should not convey a sense of hopelessness, or that they are unable to be helped. On the contrary, if another client received that same diagnosis, and the therapist provided support, insight, and encouraged a positive outlook, then the client may view themselves in a more positive or healthy way. Overall, it is important for the therapist to be clear and direct about the assessment results, but also provide comfort, care, and empathy to their client following the discussion to ensure they feel supported during their sessions.

    Reply

    • Tanya Nair
      Sep 17, 2020 @ 10:21:03

      Hi Lilly, thank you for your post. It is important that clinicians build a good relationship with their clients in order to have the best session and the most understanding. It is interesting how you have your own personal experience that you are able to tie along to this topic. Has there been any scenario that you thought of when writing this? Along with that, it is also a good idea for clients to make sure parents are understanding and not so overwhelmed that they say things that can cause the child to internalize and think badly of oneself. It is important to also make sure that maybe in this case, visual aids can be used to make sure understanding is there for the parents if they aren’t comprehending what you may be saying. It is vital that they make sense out of the information they are given so that the whole process can move forward. Great job making sense out of all of your thoughts and organizing them in a useful way.

      Reply

  7. Pawel Zawistowski
    Sep 15, 2020 @ 23:10:53

    1. One of the points that stuck out to me when communicating results is that it should be interwoven into the counseling process and that it should not be done in a discrete way. This allows your session to flow more naturally, build rapport, and establish a therapeutic relationship. It allows the client to be involved in the conversation and leaves room for the client to ask questions. As result this will lead to the client having a better understanding of the outcome of the assessment. As oppose to if results were disclosed in a discrete way, it may come off patronizing and also make the client feel uneasy. Part of communicating the results is avoiding the use of jargon. The client will not be impressed with any fancy terminology and communicating results is not about the therapist showing off. The purpose is to deliver clear and apprehensible interpretation of the results that the client can understand in the best way possible.

    2. As for why and how communicating mental health assessments is important, I believe being open and transparent is key. It will help the client trust their therapist and prevent the therapist from creating confusion or potential for future conflict. The therapist should also be sincere, aware, and prepared for how the client may perceive the results. For example, if a client was to score poorly than they had expected on a depression index, and the therapist expects that the client may be a bit devasted by their results. The therapist should then communicate the results in a way that is not insensitive but is also transparent and honest. It is mostly important the client feels comfortable coming to therapy, knows that they are receiving the care they need, and trusts that their therapist genuinely has the client’s best interest in mind.

    Reply

    • Viviana
      Sep 16, 2020 @ 00:22:24

      Pawel,

      Your second point touches very important factors in what and how communicate assessment results to clients. When a counselor is being open and transparent with the client it will not only build the trust as you mentioned but also the changes that the client will respond therapeutically are higher. Goodyear (1990), as the class textbook indicates, noted that clients experienced greater gains during counseling when they receive test interpretations. Along with the interpretation as you stated, part of that professional relationship between a counselor and a client is the trust generated and the trust that therapy is to help create a positive change for the client. When we discuss how the therapist should be sincere but also sensitive, I believe addresses an angle that for some counselors would be able to gain with time and experience. We all have different personalities and styles but with training and practice throughout the master I am sure we will strengthen those skills. For future practice I find interesting the three levels of feedback to create a collaborative environment that Finn (2007) developed, where he recommends in the three levels for the counselor to map, reframe, and incorporate the way clients think about themselves into their therapeutic approach when interpreting results to clients.

      Reply

    • bibi
      Sep 16, 2020 @ 13:14:24

      Hey Pawel, I really liked how you emphasized how the therapist should convey the results to the client. I felt like you did a good job emphasizing how a therapist needs to be open and sincere but also aware of how their client might react to their scores on an assessment, I felt like you really hit the key points on this topic

      Reply

    • Elizabeth Baker
      Sep 17, 2020 @ 18:10:54

      Hello Pawel!
      The point of integrating the results into the counseling process also stood out to me. You would think that this is an easy step to include in the counseling process, I don’t understand how it would be separate. As you said, it’s important to know how you’re communicating the results to your client, because you want them to have the full understanding. Sometimes counselors might come off as impatient or patronizing if they throw terms around and speed through explaining the results. As I said in my own post, it’s important as future counselors to practice slowing down their speech and articulating their words. Of course, it can easy for professionals to understand the results and relay the information to their clients, but clients could be overwhelmed with that information because they can’t process it quickly. This is also why counselors need to monitor their client’s reactions as they go through the results.
      Your second point was also very important in the counseling process. Counselors should prepare to turn the communicating results into a counseling session if the client isn’t taking the results well. Clients could be filled with many complex emotions after hearing results, or even while the counselor is explaining the results; so the counselor might have to ask the client to explain what they’re thinking or how they’re feeling. Doing this can potentially clear the client’s mind, and it can allow them to better comprehend the information.

      Reply

  8. Viviana
    Sep 15, 2020 @ 23:53:55

    In the section communicating results to clients, a relevant point to me was interpreting assessment results is part of the counseling process; and in the section communicating the results to parents was parents seeking help from a counselor or other providers to interpret achievement and aptitude test results. In my opinion I found chapter 5 in the textbook as a very informative and essential not only for clinicians but for providers in the human services field as it provides a foundation for strong clinical skills not only in communicating but also on selecting, administering, and scoring assessment results.

    Interpreting assessment results to clients was interesting to me as counselors not only need to understand the psychometric qualities of assessment instruments but to put in practice effective clinical skills to translate the results to clients. These effective clinical skills will not only serve as a venue to communicate test results to clients but to clients to be receptive of these results. When a counselor creates a positive therapeutic relationship with clients and demonstrates empathy, respect, and genuineness, clients would be more open and responsive to what their counselor might recommend for therapeutic goals. For me, counselors need to make themselves flexible and meet their client’s abilities and disabilities. Some clients might be able to understand certain terminology but for others it might be confusing and overwhelming so counselors would need to communicate those results with adequate words meeting their client’s level of understanding. Counselors need to gain the ability to demonstrate empathy towards clients’ challenges and present the test results in a genuineness and kindness manner. When clients reach out to counselors, they already are in a vulnerable space for having to disclose personal information to another individual and if a counselor presents as rigid and judgmental then it creates a mistrusted environment.

    The second point is parents seeking help from a counselor or other providers to interpret achievement and aptitude test results. As the class textbook indicates regularly schools send test results home by either mail or with the student without discriminating if whether parents or guardians are able to analyze the scores. In my experience, some of these results might come with a little paragraph explaining what the score means, however, the graphic bars and percentages could be confusing and overwhelming. Any community provider such as school adjustment counselors, teachers, social workers, and mental health worker who has a professional relationship with the family get asked to read and interpret testing results and that responsibility is not only be prepared to give a thorough explanation of the meaning of the results but to communicate the results in terms easy to understand. As mental health providers it is important to stress out the importance to ensure these tests are being explained to families in their native language to avoid any confusion. These providers should be prepared in advance to answer questions parents or guardians may ask related to the results and how to move forward with their child based what the test is indicating.

    It is important in what we communicate mental health assessment results to clients in regards of reporting what information is relevant to the clients and their skills and challenges. Through assessments a counselor gathers accurate information and interprets and uses that information in an appropriate manner to create therapeutic goals and interventions. By doing these formal and informal assessments the counselor and the client find some answers as to why certain behaviors are problematic, hence, explaining what the results mean in a therapeutic platform should be part of the continuous therapeutic process. As Dr. V indicated in the class lecture that communicating assessment results is the equivalent of doing therapy and should be interwoven into therapy. Mental health counselors rather than making a score results the only focus for a diagnosis should incorporate the client’s information into a comprehensive understanding and not create a diagnosis based on only the test scores. To touch a few points of this important topic, how a counselor communicates a mental health assessment to clients is important because it’s part of stablishing a rapport with the client. A counselor should avoid jargon when explaining the results but also should not patronize or address the client with a pejorative approach. Also, this communication of reports should be in descriptive terms to allow clients to ask questions about whether the results make sense to them.

    Reply

    • Anna Lindgren
      Sep 17, 2020 @ 17:39:03

      Hi Viviana,
      I love what you said about meeting your clients where they’re at with the language that you use in interpretation. It’s a skill that would be useful throughout the therapeutic relationship, but especially in communicating results. As you said, no one wants to be talked down to or have jargon that they don’t understand thrown at them. I also liked the point you made about interpretation being interwoven into therapy. It’s not a separate thing to check off your to-do list before diving into a session. It should be treated as part of the therapeutic journey because it helps to inform the treatment goals from that point onward.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, see you in class!
      Anna

      Reply

    • Lina Boothby-Zapata
      Sep 20, 2020 @ 11:42:15

      Hi Vivi,

      I found interesting your point about meeting the client’s needs to communicate the result and be at the same level in order to have a conversation with the client about his/her results in a way that the client can understand what we as counselors are communicating. Dr V also refers to this point and says “the matching two” stating that the counselor can not have one style for all clients to communicate or give feedback. Contrary the counselor needs to have a “toolbox” of instruments, skills, and therapeutic approaches, for example, some clients have good humor but others no even tolerate, some clients like direct advice or interpretation but others to the counselor need a buffer. With that being said, I am thinking about how important is to know our client, in terms of demographics such as; level of education, language, nationality, religion, income, etc. This information will definitely help to know what type of approach the therapist can do with the client and how far can go with her/his.

      Reply

  9. Bibi
    Sep 16, 2020 @ 13:12:55

    1. I really liked the idea of using visual aids or more descriptive information with clients to help them better understand the results of the assessment. I felt like this might help with the understanding better. Something that really stuck out to me was really involving the client in the interpretation. I felt like this was a really important point in that the communication of results should be interactive and you should incorporate the results into therapy. You can go through the assessment with the client and see how they are feeling and interpretations what you are telling them. This was something we have talked about both in this class and in counseling principles and how you can us the results of the measurement in order to build the therapeutic relationship and interpret feelings
    2. I kind of mentioned this in my previous answer but how you convey the results of an assessment to a client can really effect how they interpret the results which can in turn effect your therapeutic relationship. You want to be open with your client and really explore their feelings about what you are telling them. Depending on the context of the exam (exp. Evaluating trauma, measuring suicide risk, etc.) you need a developed relationship with your client to be able to breach these topics carefully and with care. Your client could be very vulnerable and how you communicate the results of the assessment to them could really effect what they are hearing.

    Reply

    • Viviana
      Sep 16, 2020 @ 16:37:11

      Bibi,

      I agree with your post about counselors using visual aids with clients. As I mentioned in some of my posts, we all are different in so many ways and we all are in different stages in life, then as I learned at some point in my colleges years, each person takes in information different, some people are kinesthetic learners which need to engage in an activity in order to grasp a concept, then some could be auditory learners that need to hear information, and lastly some could be visual learners and are in need to see pictures and graphs to visualize. If the assessment results are presented to the clients in their specific way of learning, as you mentioned Bibi, it will help clients to understand better. That visual explanation could be as easy as to draw in a sheet of paper a graphic that potentially the client could take home and review it by him/herself. By allowing the client to take time to grasp the information, it creates the cognitive space to come out with questions, concerns, or comments to discuss it with the counselor. The client does not only need to understand the evaluation results but also needs time to adjust to the new information and generate some inquiry to the counselor. As Dr. V mentioned in the power point lecture, assessments should be integral part of therapy, then allowing clients to take the visual aid home, the counselor can follow up with the questions the following session as some of the individuals need the time to process information and question might not happen right away.

      Reply

    • Pawel Zawistowski
      Sep 16, 2020 @ 19:49:48

      Bibi, using visual aids can be useful in so many ways and it is not something that really stuck out to me at first but I am glad you mention that. Having a visual representation of the results can help the client gauge and have a clearer picture of how they are doing. Visual aids can also be used to compare the client to other people who have taken the same assessment. As you would imagine that is more appealing and therapeutic than just hearing numbers and clinical jargon.

      Reply

    • Zoe DiPinto
      Sep 17, 2020 @ 22:14:33

      I know its already been said, but I also love the mention of using visual aids. It reminds me of an assessment I was given in middle school. Me and my classmates took a psychological assessment to determine what kind of learner we were; visual, auditory, or tactile. I remember being pretty split between visual and tactile. This memory reminds me how important it is to use information we know about how people learn to make psychological knowledge as accessible as possible. I find it funny that there is an assessment that can tell you how you’ll best interpret another assessment!

      Reply

  10. Destria Dawkins
    Sep 16, 2020 @ 14:36:38

    One point that had stuck out to me was the point that when communicating assessment results to clients, we should be using descriptive terms rather than numerical scores. If mental health professionals already sometimes get confused with numerical scores themselves, how is a client who has no knowledge of numerical scores at all, supposed to understand what the scores mean? Another point that stuck out to me was the point that just because a child is diagnosed with a behavioral disorder, that does not mean that they shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions because if not, all of their bad behaviors that they display will be excused and blamed on the disorder.

    It is important how we communicate assessment results to clients because as professionals, we don’t ever want a client to think of their results in a negative way. For example, if a client’s results show that they have major depression, the professional should elaborate on what major depression is and what the scores look like and what they mean. The professional should do this by using good eye contact, tone of voice, and body language in order to help the client feel comfortable enough to want to understand themselves more and to create a new motivation for them to become better.

    Reply

    • Pawel Zawistowski
      Sep 16, 2020 @ 20:21:54

      Destria, yes! Mental disorders are not an excuse for poor behavior and lack of self control. I am glad you bring this up because it is so important that a therapist communicates this and addresses this point to their client; if it ever becomes an issue or preferably the client understands this before it gets to that point. I am sure we have all heard someone blame a mental disorder for some sort of shortcoming or undesirable outcome in their life. It is not beneficial to the client to think certain behaviors may be acceptable or excusable because they are suffering from a mental disorder. This can be dangerous to the therapeutic process because it shifts responsibility away from the client and may encourage them to continue demonstrating undesirable or destructive behaviors instead of taking ownership and truly working on the things they can improve on.

      Reply

    • Carly Moris
      Sep 19, 2020 @ 21:48:42

      Hi Destria,
      You bring up a good point, that when we are giving a client their results we want to make sure they don’t take the results in a negative way. This is why it is important to highlight the clients strengths and limitations when giving them feedback on their assessments. I also agree with you that it’s important to remember to use counseling skills when giving assessment feedback. As a way to help integrate assessment into the counseling experience. Assessments should offer a chance to help build the therapeutic relationship.

      Reply

  11. Anne Marie Lemieux
    Sep 16, 2020 @ 20:16:54

    A point that stuck out to me in communicating assessment results to parents from the text book was that children voiced a strong preference to get their results from their parents. This was new information to me. As a school counselor, I am often looked to by parents as the “professional”. I often encourage parents that they are professionals in knowing their children. However, they are often reluctant to be a part of assessment explanations. Knowing this information makes it that much more important for me to be ensuring that parents completely understand results and the purpose of the assessment tools. I also believe that kids are sometimes overlooked in having the ability to understand their results. However, I believe that giving these results to kids can have positive results for them, not just adults. As discussed in class, the concept that counselors should match their clients’ style was a good one. I can imagine there are people who are very serious and hearing information about themselves in any other way could be off putting. The opposite may also be true in that people who are more laid back may misinterpret the results if told in a very formal manner. This is why as stated in the text, multiple methods of explaining results can be useful. I also found it intriguing that the text noted that parents often need to adjust to hearing a diagnosis for their child and may experience a sense of loss. While this can sometimes be true, I have experienced the opposite more frequently. It has been my experience that most parents are relieved to finally have an answer to what they have been experiencing. They also sometimes feel validated that other people recognize their children’s challenges. It is a point that the book did not raise.
    What and how you communicate mental health assessment results matters. I believe my peers in the class have done an excellent job in covering the various aspects of this. The assessment needs to have a thoughtful purpose that is goal driven. It also needs to be clearly understood so that clients can collaborate with the clinician to work towards their growth. Having a positive therapeutic relationship can only enhance the client’s ability to accurately receive their results and give the results a purpose. Overall, the what and how of communicating results if done correctly can be a positive experience with intent for change.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Baker
      Sep 17, 2020 @ 17:18:33

      The point of children wanting to hear the results from their parents was also interesting to me. I think children prefer to hear results from their parents because they feel more comfortable with them? Maybe they won’t hesitate to ask questions if they don’t understand, or it will feel less like “bad news” as compared to getting results from a professional. That’s so surprising that parents don’t want to be involved in the evaluation process. It’s so important for them to be apart of the evaluation process, because they should have a good to complete understanding of the results of the process. They should be able to understand each aspect of the results so they can feel a sense of relief when they leave the session, or be able to answer any questions their child might have. The child might be nodding and seeming like s/he understands the results, when s/he really doesn’t. That’s another reason why parents should be apart of the evaluation process, so they can explain the results again at home if the child didn’t fully understand.

      Reply

  12. Elizabeth Baker
    Sep 16, 2020 @ 20:32:56

    I thought there were a lot of important points when communicating results to parents; for example when they said to be prepared to discuss the results more than once, to focus on the child’s abilities as well as the disabilities, and to monitor parents’ responses. Diagnosing a child might be shocking and overwhelming news to parents, so it’s best to prepare yourself to relay the results multiple times until the parent(s) completely understand the scores. Counselors may get impatient or annoyed with parent’s consistent questioning of what they had just gone over; so it might be good to practice being patient with parents. Also, focusing on the child’s abilities alongside the disabilities once the child has been diagnosed is very important. Again, parents may be shocked, overwhelmed, or even in denial when they hear the results. Unfortunately, there are negative associations with disabilities, so parents’ minds may be a whirlwind of complex thoughts and emotions. It’s very easy to engage in negative thinking when you’re overwhelmed, so it’s important for counselors to focus on the positive aspects of the child. It’s also important to monitor parents’ responses to the results if the child is in the room, because their negative reactions may be internalized by their child. By that I mean, if the child sees that their parents are upset with the results, the child might think that his/her parents are upset with him/her. That s/he is the problem, or that s/he’s causing them to be angry or upset. Counselors may want to create a space where parents can voice their feelings and thoughts about the results, to see if counselors can further clarify anything else. This may bring counselors to discussing the positive attributes of the child, to steer the parents’ minds away from their possible negative perception of the results.

    With communicating results to clients, I think it’s very important to have multiple strategies when relaying/interpreting results. If possible, I think it would be best to practice relaying the results on your own time, before communicating them to the client. If that’s not possible, then it’s important to take your time while explaining the results. Make sure not to talk to quickly, not to throw around terms that the client might not understand, and not to give a vague explanation of the results. If you start to fumble on your words, try taking a breath and starting from the beginning so the client best understands your explanation. It’s important to have a clear mind and a good understanding of the results before communicating them back to the client. The client’s understanding is very important, it might cause complications or denial if they don’t understand the results properly. For example, if a counselor does not accurately explain the results from an assessment that measures depression, the client may feel that the scores are inaccurate and that they don’t have depression. If the client isn’t understanding the results, it’s important for the counselor to have other explanations prepared. The counselor should be able to explain the results using a different point of view. By that I mean, there will be clients that may understand the results quickly, but others might need a more descriptive explanation of the results. It’s important to understand which type of explanation (e.g., simple vs. detailed) will work best for the client.

    Reply

    • Tanya Nair
      Sep 17, 2020 @ 09:55:17

      Hi Elizabeth, thank you for your post. I didn’t include this in my post but I do agree with you that it is very important to know how to communicate results to parents. This can be difficult because there are so many things that are going through their heads when they hear the news. They are often left in shock. It makes sense for clinicians to also spend time focusing on the child’s abilities as well as their disabilities because they still might be in a stage of denial. Yes, you bring up similar ideas to me in your second paragraph. It is important to also make sure that maybe, in this case, visual aids can be used to make sure understanding is there for the parents if they aren’t comprehending what you may be saying. It is vital that they make sense out of the information they are given so that the whole process can move forward. You did a really great job fleshing out all your ideas so that the reader was able to understand your whole thought process about this topic. Awesome!

      Reply

  13. Tanya Nair
    Sep 16, 2020 @ 21:27:16

    Communicating results to clients is important for many reasons. It helps inform treatment goals as well as get the client familiarized with the steps that they then need to take. One of the points that stuck out to me as relevant about communicating results is minimizing jargon when conversing with the client. This is particularly important because as clinicians our job is to make sure the client understands their results in a way that they will be able to conceptualize and make sense out of it. There is no point in using fancy words to describe something that does not make sense to our clients. The whole point of communicating results is to help them understand what is going on and how they can work with you to solve a problem. The use of jargon can be fine when communicating with other clinicians, however, it is quite confusing to our clients. Using jargon may also elicit the client to feel stupid and not want to share information or ask questions because they may feel as though they are supposed to know what a certain word is. As clinicians, the goal is to maximize our client’s understanding and deliver clear communication for successful treatments. Another point that stuck out to me was developing multiple methods for delivering therapy. This is a relevant point because each client is different and clinicians need to be able to adapt and be flexible according to their client’s needs. It is important that clinicians adjust their method of counseling, giving feedback, or results as this can impact the relationship they have with their client. For instance, some clients may be able to pick up on sarcasm, and jokes, where others are not. It is important that as clinicians we are able to get a feel for our clients to implement the best techniques to make them most comfortable. Here, the goal remains the same however, the process varies from client to client. I briefly touched on the importance of what and how you communicate mental health assessment results to clients. What and how you say to clients is really important for the main reason for building a good relationship. For “how” you communicate, you need to make sure that they understand you and as a client you are not using technical terms when explaining things. For “what” you communicate, you need to make sure that it is according to your client’s needs and how they would best need it. Overall, being transparent with your client is important to maintaining a good therapeutic relationship.

    Reply

    • Destria Dawkins
      Sep 16, 2020 @ 21:53:01

      Hi Tanya. The point of developing multiple methods for delivering therapy was one that stuck out to me as well! Mental health professionals have to be careful with the methods that they choose to use because not every client is the same and different people have different needs in order to get better.

      Reply

    • Christina DeMalia
      Sep 18, 2020 @ 13:02:37

      Hi Tanya,

      I think you are exactly right about the use of jargon. I imagine that some people may be excited to use fancy terms in order to show their expertise. Whether this is someone who is new to the field and excited to show off what they know, or someone who has many degrees in the field and thinks they are above using common place terms. Ultimately, none of that is helpful to the client at all if they can’t understand, and the goal should always be to do what is most helpful for the client. I think that there are some occasions where using jargon might actually be beneficial. For example, if you know your client well, and have established that they are familiar with terms used in the field, and that they are actually reassured by the use of professional language it may be best to deliver results in that way. This ties directly into your point about using multiple methods to deliver therapy. A good therapist or clinician will have developed rapport with the client and will know what method of delivering results will be best received. With that in mind, they could decide when it is actually appropriate to use jargon, or any other method for communicating assessment results to clients.

      Reply

  14. Alexa Berry
    Sep 16, 2020 @ 21:57:42

    When communicating assessment results to clients or parents, effective communication is important because without it clients, parents, or others could misperceive the assessment results. Communicating results to clients is one of the most important parts of the assessment process and should be directly connected to the focus of counseling. To elaborate, if a client had an assessment done for anxiety, these results should be incorporated into the counselor’s treatment of said client’s anxiety. If results are not communicated effectively to a client or other parties involved, they may interpret results incorrectly if they are not previously educated on how to interpret assessments. For example, if a client does not know that scoring high on a depression inventory indicates high levels of depression and a clinician wants to focus on depression treatment, they could be confused and not understand the connection. This concept relates to the importance of discussing results in context with other client information. The interpretive process shows how assessment results can be used as a piece to understand the bigger picture.
    Another common issue related to assessment results discussed in the book is the misinterpretation of percentile rank with percentage correct. When communicating results it is important to provide an explanation of the results in descriptive terms rather than only numerical scores when it is possible. Similarly, it is better to provide a range of scores rather than just one because some people may view one score as concrete (ex: your IQ will always be 100). It is important to communicate these results in terms that are understandable to clients/parents because they are more likely to be open and cooperative when they have a thorough explanation of test results. Especially in the case of communicating results to parents, it is important to be able to address their reactions, both positive and negative. Negative reactions from a parent can lead to the child internalizing their disappointment, which can leave the child vulnerable other situations, such as when peers react to the same situation. Additionally, it is very important to communicate results clearly and effectively because research shows that those who receive test interpretations experience greater gains in counseling than those who do not receive an interpretation.

    Reply

    • Zoe DiPinto
      Sep 17, 2020 @ 22:26:10

      Hey Alexa! Your post reminds me of the dangers of reporting raw scores. I agree that psychologists should be very transparent in what a score means, how it compares to a population, and how the test creates a score. Today’s lecture inspired me to look at a raw score from not only a client’s eyes, but also a parent’s eyes. I can see a parent being very eager to receive a raw score, and once they have it, overanalyze it’s meaning if they do not have enough information right away. I would imagine psychologists have to move pretty quickly in conversation to prevent people from emotionally spiraling in trying to understand their score.

      Reply

  15. Zoe DiPinto
    Sep 17, 2020 @ 12:08:27

    The most relevant point made in the lecture about communicating results to clients and parents is the point in which the interpretation of a result is an extension of the therapy process. Not only can taking tests and receiving scores be therapeutic for the client alone, but the communication of results and future action can establish important rapport between the client and helper. It’s best to be as open and transparent as possible about what the score means and what you are thinking in terms of future direction.
    The “what” and “how” a helper communicates the results of a mental health assessment has the potential to alter a client or parent’s perspective on their position. If the content communicated well, the client or parent should know that a score does not diagnose a patient, but instead, contributes to previous knowledge in confirming or denying a potential diagnosis. An effective communication in “what” a score means also sets up future direction and may suggest a treatment plan or referral. “How” the information is presented is very important to keep the client and parent informed and calm, establish rapport, and explore what is unexcused behavior.

    Reply

    • Maya Lopez
      Sep 17, 2020 @ 18:49:17

      Zoe,
      I liked how you focused on the rapport and how receiving and giving the results is an extension of therapy. I touched a bit on this subject in my post as well in that it could either strengthen the relationship as you stated, helping future rapport. Or, it could go the other direction in which if the therapist fails to explain things properly the client may lose confidence in their helper and could actually damage their relationship. You also brought up another good point that a score does not equal a diagnosis but rather contributes to the knowledge of the patient because I think patients may feel it works this way because compared to the medical model, typically tests and results equal a diagnosis on the spot.

      Reply

  16. Karlena Henry
    Sep 17, 2020 @ 12:32:50

    Communicating results can be both therapeutic and upsetting depending on how we explain the results. For adult clients, what brought them into therapy was the influence of the problems on their day to day living. In many cases they have some idea what their diagnosis is, but taking an assessment gives them an opportunity to get validation of their suspicions. Now, depending on the results, the client’s response can be positive or negative, and communicating the results properly makes a difference. Let me give an example of how this could play out. A person comes into your office complaining about being unable to sleep consistently through the night. They report ruminating as the primary cause. Now, from that information, how many diagnoses could apply? LOTS! We could give the client an assessment for anxiety and bi-polar disorder. How would the client take having a significant result for bi-polar disorder? Depending on their history, being told they meet the criteria for that diagnosis could be terrible! Say, you come from a family who thinks people with bi-polar are crazy, and they should be locked away (I know this is extreme, but it proves the point), being told they are “crazy” would be disastrous from their perspective. It might be better for both the clinician and client to talk about the possible diagnosis before sharing the results. It also gives the clinician the chance to explain the role of the assessment as part of the diagnostic process, and not the only factor. Handled properly, the client may be more open to interpretation. It also gives the clinician the opportunity to form a rapport with the client by showing their empathy in the manner of presentation. Conversely, the client may be relieved to have confirmation, so there would be a direction for treatment. The same situation applies to parents and children as well except the parents would be observing the symptoms from the child, and not experiencing them personally.

    As you have said throughout your lectures, assessment is not the only tool we have available to understand the inner workings of our clients, but if we don’t present the information properly, the client could walk out the door and never come back, which inevitably hurts them.

    Reply

    • Cassie Miller
      Sep 17, 2020 @ 18:50:03

      Hi Karlena,
      I definitely would agree that proper communication is vital to the therapeutic process. I also like how you noted that a lot of the time the client already has an initial inclination towards what their diagnosis may be. It is so important to remember that often times when you provide the client with a diagnosis you may be contributing to their own confirmation bias. Thus, it is important to have an open line of communication with your client, while also not confining them to any specific diagnosis. Rather, you want to reinforce and empower the positive skills they do exhibit, while coming up with a strategic plan on how to improve their quality of life. Obviously, the client will be curious as to what you suspect their diagnosis may be according to your assessments, but it is important to explain to them that the results are not 100% accurate and that they will continuously change based on their own progress.

      It is interesting that you brought up family history, since a client can become singularly focused on the conditions of those related to them; so much so that they may see this condition as unavoidable. Thus, they can begin to see a positive correlation between their symptoms and their anxiety about their symptoms. As a result of this, it becomes so important to actually walk the client through everything that is occurring in the assessment process and to remind them about what is truly within their own control (which may help to eliminate this added tension).

      Reply

    • Maya Lopez
      Sep 17, 2020 @ 20:40:36

      Hi Karlena,
      I agree clients may react positively or negatively but I also think at times they may be shocked or may appear neutral (especially if they find out they have comorbid disorders) and we should try our best to engage a reaction to be able to see how they are feeling about hearing their results. And to add to your point about the diagnosis and family history, it could be extremely triggering and damaging to hear you have a disorder that maybe someone in your family did and passed away drom suicide from, the client may think they will be at risk like their family member was. Lastly, I agree that communicating to the client what the goals are, to find out from the assessment such as seeing if you fit criteria for bipolar disorder or not, before even doing the assessment could be helpful in preparing them to receive their results afterward.

      Reply

  17. Christina DeMalia
    Sep 17, 2020 @ 12:35:59

    (1)
    One point that stuck out to me initially was the fact that there is very little research on how to best communicate results to clients. When I first heard about this, I thought about all of the many areas of psychology that have been researched over and over again in great depth. It seemed like it would be pretty simple to do some research on administering assessments, reporting the results in various ways, and then comparing how participants felt when then results were delivered. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized it would probably be difficult to get clear results from research like that. As the lectures mentioned, communicating results is the equivalent of doing therapy. Like in therapy, each individual person will have different needs. There may be some “best practices” to follow such as tentative being more helpful than absolutes. For the most part, though, how each client will best receive results is better assessed on a case by case basis. That is why building rapport and being honest about the assessment process is so important. That way, as the person delivering results to clients, we can be sure we are doing it in a therapeutic style that will best support them.

    Another point that stood out to me was the section on delivering results to clients. In my 3 years at YOU Inc. I was confronted many times with parents’ reactions to their children’s mental health issues. As the person who worked with the children daily, and only saw and interacted with the parent’s rarely, I would often find myself angry with the parents. I would see children struggling to cope with their issues, and I would see parents respond in some pretty terrible ways. Some parents would refuse to accept a diagnosis for odd religious reasons, others would insist their children were dramatic and liars, some would stop coming to visit their children at all, bailing at the last minute, some would insist that there must be more diagnosis because their child was much worse than the clinician had described. This perspective made it a lot easier for me to be mad at the parents. However, thinking about having to communicate results to parents, it shifted my perspective. As mentioned in the lecture and the chapter, it is okay for parents to have emotional reactions and that should be acknowledged. Some parents may feel the relief at a diagnosis that finally explains things. Other parents may land on the other side, though, and that is okay too. I would imagine that it must be difficult for their parent to hear that something is not right with their child, especially if that thing was confusing to the parent, or if they felt useless in helping their child overcome it. They could worry they did something wrong, or worry about the difficulties their children might face because of it. Concerning results could cause the parents to become scared, confused, be in denial, or any other range of emotions. I think it is important to consider the parent’s emotions in relaying results, acknowledging the role of the family as an important part of treatment for the child as well.

    (2)
    When communicating results to clients, making sure you can understand and clearly convey what those results are is an extremely important part of the process. If you were simply to give a client a score, without context, they would likely have no idea what that means for them. This could leave them confused or making assumptions that are incorrect. Before communicating results, you should be sure you have read the manual and understand exactly how scoring works and what it means. If there are ranges rather than a set score, that is also important to share. Although making sure you are delivering the correct information is very important to the process, I would say that how you communicate those assessment results is equally as important. The correct results delivered in the wrong way could still produce a negative experience for the client.

    By making the client informed and aware at every step of the assessment process, it makes them feel involved in their own treatment, rather than feeling like they have been surprised with a pop quiz or put on the spot with “bad” results. The clients should know why an assessment is being administered so that they understand thought has been put into the decision to administer it, and there is a reason that will be beneficial to the client. It is also important that the assessment is followed up on with a clear discussion going over the results, rather than leaving the client in the dark. It is important that it is interwoven into the therapy, so that is isn’t perceived as a separate thing. Instead, it should be part of the ongoing process to find areas that need attention and then creating treatment plans around those identified areas.

    It is also important that results are communicated in a way that explains one singular score is not an absolute answer. Clients should understand that scores are an estimate, and that they are not infallible. They should also know that a diagnosis is not going to be made on one assessment alone. Therapy is a collaborative process, and since assessments are part of therapy, those should be made collaborative as well. Results should be given to clients in an honest way, but also in a way that will be beneficial to them. If it is an area the client might be sensitive about, the results can be delivered with care and explained in a way that emphasizes how the knowledge will be used to help treat the client going forward. This way the client can see the positive benefits of the assessments, and be involved in the process.

    Reply

    • Alexa Berry
      Sep 19, 2020 @ 12:44:08

      Hi Christina-

      The limited research on how to communicate results to clients stood out to me as well in the reading. It seems odd that this is one of the most important steps but we really aren’t sure of the most effective way to do so. Hopefully there’s some upcoming research that can shed light on this so that clients are getting the most out of their therapy, especially when it comes to hearing their assessment results. I agree with your point that it could be difficult to research this area due to different needs among clients, but I do think that there could be some beneficial findings regardless of this.

      I appreciated the part of your response where you shared your experience with parents who learned their children’s diagnosis and didn’t necessarily have a great reaction to it. This is something I have also dealt with personally since I work with kiddos who have autism. Some kids don’t get the early intervention they need because their parents delay getting them in to see a professional for diagnosis. Getting this diagnosis can be really devastating to the parents because the life they envisioned their child to have might be altered. I love to remind parents who experience this that their children will still reach the goals they had dreamed for them, they might just take longer, or do it in a different way.

      Reply

  18. Carly Moris
    Sep 17, 2020 @ 14:44:41

    One of the points that stuck out to me as relevant when communicating results to clients, was that you want to communicate results in a therapeutic way. That assessment should be about more than gathering info on a client, but a way to help the client gain insight and help create positive change. I also found it interesting that clients whose therapists used therapeutic assessment in their first session reported having a stronger therapeutic alliance after the first session. This is extremely important because it can be hard to establish therapeutic rapport during the first session, and it’s an important factor in having clients return for another session. Another point that stuck out to me was that you should give the results of the assessment in stages; Level one findings: results that map onto the way clients already think about themselves, level two findings: reframe or amplify clients way of viewing themselves, level three: findings in which the assessment results conflict with the usual way the client views themselves. This would definitely help the therapeutic process because you can gage the clients reaction and ease them into talking about the assessment before you talk about results that may confront their view of themselves. If talking about the first or second level isn’t going well you can hold off on talking about the third level to make sure you don’t overwhelm the client. This relates to another point that I found important, that you want to adjust your approach to how you communicate results to the client bases of the client and your relationship with them. You probably don’t want to talk about level three material in your first session, or until you have established therapeutic rapport with the client. You may also need to change how you explain things to make sure each client understands the results of the assessment and how it applies to them. How you explain a score on a depression inventory to a man in his 50s should probably differ from how you would explain it to a 17 year old girl. You want the explanation to fit the client.

    I’ve touch a bit on why it is important how and what you communicate to a client in my previous answer, but there are a few other important points. The way you deliver the results can affect the way clients perceive and internalize the results. Clients tend to find a tentative explanation of the results to be more helpful than when the information is presented as an absolute fact. It is probably easier to relate to when the assessment is present tentatively because it gives the client a chance to think if the results fit the way they think of themselves and have a discussion with the therapist about it. Where if the assessment is presented as an absolute fact it closes the door for discussion and the client may just dismiss the results. This goes along with why when possible you should present a client with a range of scores. One single score may not accurately represent how the client feels when the score is presented, where a range of scores is more likely to address the range of experiences they have in their daily lives. The way we communicate the results has a big impact on treatment so we want to make sure we are communicating them in a way clients understand, and in a way that opens up the therapeutic process.

    Reply

  19. Cailee Norton
    Sep 17, 2020 @ 15:36:54

    1. One of the points that really stuck out to me was the tentative interpretations being used over absolute interpretations. I know from my own experience that I’ve always reacted better to tentative and gentle tones for disclosure of information over absolute ones. The absoluteness of statements leaves very little room for individualism or positivity. If you were to give result interpretations to a client and told them definitively they have anxiety, that individual may feel inferior to those who don’t suffer from anxiety. However, if you phrase the results in a manner of “based on the results of this test, your rating was consistent with higher levels of anxiety, this level is not set and stone and we can create an action plan that can change this score.” By phrasing this interpretation differently you can set the tone for the next steps in your treatment plan and create the positive therapeutic relationship necessary to make change in that clients life. One of the points that also stuck out to me was the idea of group versus individual result interpretations. Much like the data presented in the text, I would personally rather receive individual results rather than within a group. To me this could be especially important depending on the context of the assessment and what it’s measuring, as well as my mental health status at that time. However, the book mentions the practical issues (time and money are always a problem) but also how group settings may be beneficial. While the text doesn’t necessarily dive into the benefits of group interpretation beyond the financial implications, it made me think about some of the supportive atmospheres that could be garnered from hearing information in a group session. While I still feel that some of discussions of results should be done in an individual setting, I see the importance of being open to various methods of interpretation and their potential benefits for clients.
    2. It’s important to focus on what and how you present results to clients for a multitude of reasons. Depending on the context, you could be interpreting intellectual results to a family that could have what could be perceived as negative consequences. If you simply state how low a child rated on an intelligence scale, not only will you look robotic and unempathetic to the parents and child, but you would be insensitive to the potential heartbreak parents may feel from grieving the loss of the “perfect child” many parents dreams of. By presenting the results in a tentative and clear manner you are allowing those parents to grieve, ask questions, and learn exactly what the next steps and future will hold. Your focus should also be moved towards the abilities of a child in this situation rather than the disabilities. Presenting this “what” of the diagnosis, parents are able to look at the diagnosis as simply a part of the child’s life rather than the defining factor. Being able to create a personable environment allows these interpretation sessions to be an opportunity to take positive steps to cope with a diagnosis.

    Reply

    • Anna Lindgren
      Sep 17, 2020 @ 17:26:57

      Hi Cailee,
      I agree with your point about the difficulties of doing group interpretations versus individual. I would prefer an individual interpretation, in either the client or counselor role! Luckily, I think Dr. V mentioned in the lecture recording that group interpretations are not common, although I’m sure they happen in some contexts and it would be good to learn about them just in case.

      You raise another good point with interpreting scores to parents. It’s so important to empathize with how this information might affect them, and their child. It may not always be possible, but knowing generally what the parents’ hunch is before assessment (if they’re expecting a certain diagnosis or not) would greatly help the clinician to communicate results in a way that validates their feelings but it also clear.

      Reply

  20. Anna Lindgren
    Sep 17, 2020 @ 17:11:47

    To present the assessment results in a way that is most helpful to your client, it’s crucial to discuss the results in the context of what you’ve already discovered in your sessions with them. It’s also key to make sure that they understand that the diagnosis is malleable and not final. If you were to simply say “you’re severely depressed,” that may make the client internalize that diagnosis and make them feel like there’s nothing to be done about it. A better way to phrase this might be, “Given what we’ve discussed in our sessions and the results of the depression inventory, I would say we’re dealing with a severe level of depression right now. What are your thoughts about that?” This phrasing not only lets your client know that their situation is changeable, but it also lets them know that you are committed to helping them and then turns the floor over to them for questions and reactions. That was another point that stuck out to me, the fact that we should be involving the client with the interpretation to see if a) it is surprising or it was what they were expecting, and b) you can get a sense of what they’re general attitude about the diagnosis is and how to proceed from there with treatment. None of that is possible without therapeutic rapport with the client.

    How we communicate mental health assessments to clients can be a turning point in treatment, for better or for worse. If handled poorly, it could be the last time they come and see you (keeping in mind that the average number of visits with a clinician is 1 or 2). If you fail to collaborate with your client and talk down to them or tell them flatly what their diagnosis is without getting their input or reactions, they could feel misunderstood or like you can’t help them. When handled well, however, it seems like the communication of assessment results can serve as a launching pad for the rest of treatment. This can be an opportunity for you and your client to collaborate and set specific treatment goals, as well as give them some ownership of how the treatment plays out.

    Reply

    • Cailee Norton
      Sep 18, 2020 @ 17:01:50

      Anna,

      I love how you phrased your statement about a client meeting a severe level of depression. It’s so important to explain the results of the assessments that we are giving to our clients, but also to jump into the counseling portion of these interactions as well. When you say “what are your thoughts about that” you are directly turning the focus back to the client and are probing for thoughts and even opening up the potential for a client to discuss their feelings, concerns, or questions. This is so important and clearly by your statement you understand the value of having a good therapeutic relationship (rapport) that your post demonstrates implicitly. It’s important to remember the value of having a discussion with your client, rather than a lecture in which you simply give a diagnosis. I think that another valuable piece to this kind of phrasing is that you aren’t using a lot of clinical jargon that would only confuse the client. By having such a clear description and probing for thoughts you are allowing the client to clarify without being caught up with your use of vocabulary.

      Reply

    • Timothy Cody
      Sep 19, 2020 @ 23:01:13

      Hi Anna,
      I like the point where you mention involving the client in terms of the diagnosis. The therapist should always be careful in how they present their findings, so they should not only avoid jargons and blunt retorts, but also use terms that the clients have used themselves. If they assess that they “feel sad and depressed,” we should be using their phrases and terminology back on them so that they feel heard, understood, and that we are stepping down to their level.

      Reply

  21. Timothy Cody
    Sep 17, 2020 @ 17:49:59

    One thing that really stuck out to me was developing multiple methods of communication. There should not be one set in stone rule as to how a counselor should communicate results. Perhaps someone would prefer to be told in medical, jargon terms, or someone would prefer them to be minimized into simpler terms. This also helps prepare the counselor if say the client does not understand one method of communication, they can explain it in different terms, so it is best to prepare to explain results multiple times in multiple different fashions. The counselor should always be asking “What is the best method of communication with this client (or parent) in this given situation?” Another point that stood out to me was encouraging the client or parent to ask questions and share their reactions. Once the results are explained, the process is not complete. It is best to know their reactions and how they understand the diagnosis or treatment being offered in terms that they understand. This way, a relationship is built between the counselor and the client, built upon trust and honesty. It is important in how we communicate these results because clients and parents want to know what their condition is, and how they can move forward with their mental health. Some people may react differently than others and be relieved to hear that there is an official diagnosis for their condition. Others might react by believing there is something seriously wrong with themselves or their child, and even this type of reaction can help a counselor assist in the treatment therapy. If the results are not communicated in the right way, there could be a “misdiagnosis” on the part of the client or parent’s understanding of the assessment. They may believe they have one mental disorder when they simply have another, or none. There should be clear and concise terms used to prevent a False Positive Test result.

    Reply

    • Cailee Norton
      Sep 18, 2020 @ 17:08:07

      Tim,

      I appreciate that you mention that there isn’t one set way to communicate to your clients. All clients have preferences in their lives, and the delivery of assessment results is not excluded from that. It’s important to remember that there’s not a monotone answer and guideline to this field, and we need to be aware and flexible to our client’s needs. AS you state a client could prefer the jargon and technical terms, and others may need to have their results explained in extreme detail. It’s important to be aware of our clients preferences and situations in order to deliver our assessment results in a way that will be received as positively as possible. If we ignore our clients preferences we may only push our clients into a victim mindset and they may shut down from any attempts of intervention. This is where our therapeutic relationship can provide us the insight to avoid such a circumstance. As you say, building on the trust and honesty in that relationship can be vital for treatment to be successful. It all begins with how we communicate and our observations and awareness of our clients. Great job!

      Reply

  22. Nicole Giannetto
    Sep 17, 2020 @ 18:14:47

    1. One point that stuck out to me as being quite relevant for communicating results of assessments to clients or parents is that it should be woven into the counseling itself rather than as its own separate activity. This point stuck out to me because I am used to thinking that results come separately from the actual engagement in whatever activity, such as taking a math test. But, if I think about it I can think of times where we did consider the classes average scores and reflected back on those scores and the test material that we had taken. It was helpful to connect the dots and where and how we came to answers that were either different or incorrect. Another point that stuck out to me as being important was encouraging clients to ask questions and share their thoughts and reactions. Therapy is a dynamic process that involves the client and clinician, so it is necessary that the client is involved in different ways during the process. The client shouldn’t just be told what their results show. Instead it should be more like a conversation to dig deeper on what the test and its results mean in this person’s situation.

    2. It is important to know what you are saying when you communicate mental health assessment results to clients, because you do not want to overload them with words and numbers or diagrams, but you also don’t want to give them very minimal details. The content that a clinician should share with their client is a combination of the results, how it relates to the individual as a person and in their purpose for being in therapy. Clinicians should be able to understand the testing that was used and the symptoms of the disorder/s that are suspected.
    How a clinician communicates the results to the client is important as well, because receiving information is personal and test results can affect people differently, especially if they are already feeling vulnerable being in therapy. It is also super important to have an idea of the state of which the client and the client’s parents if they are a minor are coming from. Aspects such as awareness of the family dynamic, the cultural or societal influences, and emotions are all important for the clinician to understand and be prepared to incorporate into communicating test results. Understanding these factors will make the process of communication test results much smoother and hopefully the client and/or parent/s will be open to receiving the information and will be well-informed afterwards.

    Reply

    • Connor Belland
      Sep 18, 2020 @ 21:12:30

      Hi Nicole,
      I think its important what you said about not overloading the client when communicating results. Its important to simplify and use non technical terms to ensure that the client fully understands what their results mean in the bigger picture of their treatment. Clients need to know what their results mean and how that relates to the rest of their treatments and what it means for them moving forward. Its also important the therapist understands the results they are communicating ahead of time so that they can properly communicate this important information.

      Reply

  23. Laura Wheeler
    Sep 17, 2020 @ 18:20:15

    In communicating results to clients or parents it is first crucial to fully understand the results and what they mean, particularly to the client. The first part of this involves having a positive and productive working rapport with your client and an understanding of their emotion preparedness for the information you are going to communicate. For example, if a parent indicates during the assessment that they suspect their child is on the spectrum, they likely will have a very different reaction than a parent who reports no suspicion of this or one who feels adamantly that their child is not going to have an ASD diagnosis. In order to best prepare for the clients reaction to hearing their results it is important to have as clear an understanding as possible of your client and their feelings about their (or their childs) mental health. It is also important to refrain from using jargan or professional language that would be difficult to understand; it is important to use language that the client can grasp without confusion. Further, while it is important to be clear, it is best to stay away from being too concrete or absolute. While of course the validity and reliability of chosen assessments is incredibly important, it is also possible that other clinicians or tests might yield a slightly different result. Additionally, it is important to understand how a parent might feel about their child receiving some kind of diagnosis; this way you can deliver the results in a particularly careful and sensitive way, and pay special attention to highlighting strengths and positives. When administering assessments in the first place it is important to be upfront and honest with your client (or their parents) in explaining why you are administering the assessment and what the results could possibly indicate. I thought it was an important note that clients will likely understand exactly why you are administering a test or asking them about a certain topic- they shouldn’t be blindsided and unaware of something you might be testing for. Finally, it is important to understand that the assessment and delivery of results are all part of the therapy process and should be incorporated into your ongoing work with a client. While assessments are generally done at the beginning of your work with a client (and in many cases, repeated over time) the delivery of results gets incorporated into all future work as it informs treatment goals and mechanisms.

    Reply

    • Brianna Walls
      Sep 17, 2020 @ 19:02:03

      Hi Laura,
      I believe the most important aspect to all this is the relationship between the client and therapist. It is important to not that without a good therapeutic relationship between the two, therapy will not improve the client’s well being in the long run and it would have been a waste of time for the client as well as the therapist. You also made an important point of how to carefully relay information to the client and to not use too much jargon language. This is very important because if you do use too much jargon language your client may not understand fully what you are talking about and therefore they do no understand their results. Also the client may feel embarrassed that they do not understand and therefore they will not speak up and let the therapist know. You made a lot of great points in your post!

      Reply

    • Christina DeMalia
      Sep 18, 2020 @ 12:52:44

      Hi Laura,

      I think using an assessment for ASD is a great example. I think there are are some cases where delivering assessment results might not be too surprising or upsetting. For example, if an assessment was given to measure anxiety, and the score was high on the anxiety scale, this might be easier to communicate. The client themselves will likely already recognize they experience anxiety. The parents may have also realized this already, and if not, a GAD is something I believe not many parents would be overly concerned about. With how common the diagnosis is and with therapeutic treatment for it more accessible, the results would not likely be very upsetting to parents. An assessment or diagnosis placing a child on the spectrum, however, could result in more concern from a parent. Because it exists on a spectrum, it is hard to immediately know exactly where the child lands. This creates a lot of unknowns, such as how much it will affect the child’s life and how hard it will be to find sufficient treatment. Especially for parents who didn’t believe their child was on the spectrum at all, those results could be surprising and disorienting.

      I completely agree that you should have some prior knowledge about how the parent feels about possible diagnosis, and how they might react to news. That way any results can be delivered with care. I especially like that you pointed out how strengths should be highlighted at that time to make sure that delivering the results does not feel like a negative experience for anyone involved.

      Reply

    • Alexa Berry
      Sep 19, 2020 @ 21:09:57

      Hi Laura,

      I liked how you used ASD as an example for relaying assessment results to parents. I work with kids who have ASD and it’s interesting to see how different families manage once they have a child diagnosed with ASD. Some families are more eager to get into ABA and other services, while other families take a lot longer to even get their kids diagnosed. It can definitely be hard for parents to come to terms with an “unexpected” diagnosis. I definitely agree with you that due to conditions like this, it is extremely important to be sensitive in communicating these results. For a lot of families and individuals, receiving a diagnosis can be life changing.

      Reply

  24. Brianna Walls
    Sep 17, 2020 @ 18:31:46

    1. After reading the text and listening to the lecture recording I found out that communicating results with your client is a very important part in the counseling process. One point that stuck out to me was to encourage your client to ask questions about their results and for them to share their reactions and to provide feedback to the therapist. This is very relevant in the counseling process because you want to make sure your client feels involved and that they completely understand their results and how you as the therapist will move forward with therapy. Also it is a great way to receive feedback from your client so that for one you know they are understanding their results and what they are feeling in that moment and two, so you have feedback for future therapy sessions with either the same client or future clients. The book talked about a way that you can make sure your client understands their results by using incomplete sentences and having the client fill in the missing information or complete the sentence. It is important that the client does not leave confused or ill-informed about their results. Another important point that stood out to me was when communicating results to the client’s parents/guardians it is important to understand the parent’s view if their child has been diagnosed with a disorder. For instance sometimes the parents might feel relieved that their child has been diagnosed so that they can move on and work towards the child feeling better. On the other hand sometimes parents are in denial and don’t think there is anything wrong with their child. We as the therapist need to be understanding about social cultural impacts on some disorders and this may be why some parents don’t want to believe that their child may be diagnosed with a disorder. One last point that I found to be important and relevant to the counseling process was the language used to communicate the results to the client. It is important to minimize jargon when communicating results to your clients because they may not be familiar with some professional terms that you are using. At the same time though you want to stay professional and not talk down to them as if they are a child and do not understand, you want to find balance between the two.
    2. I discussed above a little about “what” and “how” you as the therapist should communicate to your client about mental health assessment results but I will continue to talk further about this. It is extremely important about what and how you relay information to your clients regarding their mental health assessment results. For instance, when discussing results it is important to explain results in terms of probabilities rather than certainties. This will avoid presenting the results as infallible or always being effective but you also don’t want to tell the client that you have no idea what the results actually mean. You want to inform the client about their issues and concerns but you also want to make sure you discuss that there is hope and that you and your client can work on these issues together and the results can be very helpful and that your scores are not the single guiding approach for understanding these components.

    Reply

    • Connor Belland
      Sep 18, 2020 @ 17:36:08

      Hi Brianna,
      I think its important that you talked about encouraging the patient to ask questions and get their reaction when communicating their results. You want to make sure they fully understand the results and then see how they feel about them. Getting a reaction is an important part of weaving communicating test results into the counseling process. You want to know that hearing the results wont have a dangerous impact on a client and that they understand what the results mean moving forward in their treatment.

      Reply

  25. Maya Lopez
    Sep 17, 2020 @ 18:39:41

    I thought there was a lot of common sense and good points made for ways to communicate results to clients. One relevant aspect was to clearly explain what the results mean in detail and not just give them an abstract score that they will not understand, showing them how it pertains to them as an individual, their treatment plan and their past. Knowing how it relates, gives the score more relatability to the individual. I also thought it was important to involve the client in the discussion and see what they think and how the score makes them feel and if it feels accurate or not. It is important to know how to best communicate results to the client so that they feel involved in their treatment and can understand their progress. While giving clients their score it also makes sense to not speak in absolutes to be sure the client doesn’t feel hopeless as if they will be this way forever. Lastly, if we cannot explain the implications of the assessment properly, it is almost not worth even doing at all and the client may feel the therapist is not as competent in their job which could cause them to lose trust or a part of their therapeutic bond.

    Reply

    • Cassie Miller
      Sep 17, 2020 @ 20:12:37

      Hi Maya,

      I think the point you made about the description that you should include in your explanation of results to the client is a very good one. The client should not just understand what their score means, but rather, how it applies to every aspect of their life. A diagnosis does not mean the same thing for every individual and the way that it fits into their day to day will vary significantly. Furthermore, like you said, allowing the client to be an active participant in their review of their results is so important because they can voice their concerns and reactions to what you have said. By personalizing these results, the client may also feel more motivated to incorporate change into their own daily routines.

      I like what you said at the end as well about not bothering to administer scores if you are not knowledgeable enough about the assessment or interpreting the results appropriately. Not only because this will be a waste of the clients time but because it will ruin your rapport with the client. A lot of individuals forget how important it is to be knowledgeable about what they are doing because if you cannot do this confidently the client will lose trust in you. They will also lose faith in your ability to help them and possibly in the helping process as well.

      Reply

    • Nicole Giannetto
      Sep 19, 2020 @ 12:34:27

      Hi Maya. I agree that when communicating results to clients that the clinician should be able to understand the test as well as there client to so that they are able to communicate the results in a proactive and clear manner. Although having straight results is great in some settings, in therapy it is important to blend those results into conversation because at the end of the day the results are going to be impacting an individual’s life so it needs do be communicated in a way that will make them feel more understood and prepared for the future.

      Reply

  26. Connor Belland
    Sep 17, 2020 @ 22:54:48

    I never really thought about how important communicating test results are before now but i see now that it can have a impact on the client and needs to be done right. One point that stuck out to me when communicating test results was involving the client in going over the test results. It can be very helpful in some situations and relevant to take the time to teach the client about their test results and what it means because it will help them understand themselves better to help their therapy progress in the future. Another thing that stuck out to me as very relevant when communicating test results is to use less technical terminology. Its important that you communicate the results clearly so that the client fully understands and sometimes the results need to be simplified and relayed in more general terms instead of technical psychological jargon. Discussing and successfully relaying the results not using jargon and using help from visual aids can really help the process and also make you seem more personable to the client.
    2. The why and how of communicating test results to clients is very important. Its crucial to have transparency with the client to have a more effective therapeutic relationship with the client. This transparency will give the therapist a better relationship and strengthen trust with the client and the client also feels more comfortable with the therapist. Involving the client and helping them understand their results will also help them understand the details of their treatment or diagnoses which will help them in the long run.

    Reply

    • Nicole Giannetto
      Sep 19, 2020 @ 12:37:20

      Hi Connor. I agree that changing the language to suit your client and the relationship you have is a key aspect of the communication process. Big scientific words may be daunting to the client, so the clinician should be able to take the results and express them in a way that will be able to inform their client effectively while also keeping them as comfortable as they can.

      Reply

    • Carly Moris
      Sep 19, 2020 @ 22:01:14

      Hi Conner!
      I agree with you that transparency is an important part of communicating to clients. A client will be able to tell if we are being fake with them, and this would hurt the therapeutic relationship. We need to be transparent with clients about their assessment results not only because it is the ethical thing to do. But also because it is important for establishing rapport, clients want to know that they will be able trust us.

      Reply

    • Timothy Cody
      Sep 19, 2020 @ 22:56:47

      Hi Connor,
      I like the part where you mention the importance of involving the client. It definitely displays trust and shows that the therapist is attempting be on level ground with the patients. The client themselves may even come to terms of their diagnosis even before the therapist will communicate the results, so by bringing the tone of the meetings into terms that the client understands may involve them to understand their own diagnosis even better than the therapist could.

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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