Topic 4: Communicating Assessment Results {by 9/30}

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 9/30.  Post your two replies no later than 10/2.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

63 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mary Altomare
    Sep 25, 2021 @ 19:21:37

    To be honest, all of the points that Dr. V gave about communicating results to clients and parents I found to be relevant and important. The first point that stuck out to me the most that Dr.V shared is that completing assessments is a way of establishing rapport with clients. For my job, the first few sessions are dedicated to completing the initial intake assessment and the youth outcome questionnaire. I have found the initial intake assessment to be extremely helpful with building a therapeutic relationship with my client, because I am learning about their interest, hobbies, dislikes, and strengths/weaknesses. The initial intake assessment gives me an as to the goals that I may be focusing on with my client and the various therapeutic interventions that I can utilize in session that may work well with a particular client.

    For the YOQ, I find it extremely important to explain to both the parent and client the reason why I am administering this questionnaire and how it is utilized to track the client’s progress throughout therapeutic mentoring. I fully believe that in order for the therapeutic treatment to be successful and effective the client needs to be fully apart of it, and understand why certain assessments are given to them, what their scores mean and how their scores inform their treatment goals and interventions utilized. Another point that Dr. V gave that I found to be relevant is when administering an assessment to a client it is vital that a counselor explains the reasoning behind this particular assessment. As I explained earlier, it is imperative that the client understand their treatment and therefore understand how a particular assessment given to them can be useful for a clinician such as, understanding certain thoughts and feelings, level/severity of an emotion, and how the assessment can be used to keep track of their progress. Furthermore, like Dr. V shared, it is important to be transparent and communicative with our clients in order to build a strong therapeutic relationship, because without a strong therapeutic relationship a clinician cannot provide effective treatment.

    The way in which we communicate and how we communicate mental health assessment results to our clients is vital for the client’s interpretation, and how they may perceive their results/diagnosis, which can either negatively or positively impact their treatment. I think as mental health counselors it’s important to “read our audience” and know the best way to communicate results to our clients. Clients may be totally surprised by their results, while others may be in complete agreeance to their results, therefore it is important to be mindful on the way in which we communicate their results. As Dr. V shared some clients may find therapeutic comfort through utilizing humor and others may not respond well to that, some clients may want clinicians to be direct and straightforward and others not so much. Therefore, it is important as clinicians to utilize different methods with clients to effectively communicate their results to them in a way that does not cause harm to them.

    Reply

    • Will Roche
      Sep 29, 2021 @ 11:42:26

      Mary,
      I find it really cool and interesting that you are able to use your own professional experience to relate to this chapter. It’s interesting to see how you found similarities between Dr. V’s points, the chapter and your job using the YOQ. Furthermore, I found it interesting that there are multiple sessions specifically pertaining to completing assessments. Especially with children, I can see how beneficial it would be to gain a strong understanding of their interests and hobbies, so it makes it easier to connect with the child. Additionally, I like how you emphasized the importance of explaining the reasoning behind the test before administering the test. I can imagine being scared and daunted by receiving a test without knowing the specific reason as to why I’m taking the test, so it’s good to know that you and others are using the practice of explaining the reasoning behind the test before administering it.

      Reply

    • Kelsey McGinness
      Oct 02, 2021 @ 16:30:11

      Mary, I really like how you bring up the point about how we deliver assessment results can create either a positive or negative response for our client’s which in turn can impact their treatment and their view on treatment. This made me think immediately about how it is all in how we phrase things, how our tone sounds, and how clearly we explain information. If we go into explaining assessment results very cut and dry, not empathetic, and using terminology clients do not understand then we are setting them up to feel uneasy and worse than before the assessment results were provided. However, when we come from a place of understanding, everyday language, and clear empathy when delivering results, it can create a safe and positive space for treatment.

      Reply

  2. Sandra Karic
    Sep 26, 2021 @ 19:53:36

    I think one of the biggest things that stuck out to me while reading the chapter was to use a tentative approach/tone as opposed to an absolute or declarative tone. Not only does this result in a better response from clients, given the fallible nature of the scientific process, I feel like using a tentative approach (e.g. “the results indicate that 68% of the time…” vs “you are…”) is also a more accurate method of communicating information to the client. Other main takeaways I had are the importance of maintaining a collaborative environment and emphasizing the context of the instrument and its results. This is not only important in terms of making sure the client is not overwhelmed by information, but also it is vital in making sure that the client has a proper understanding of the information. I really liked that the book included tips on how to do this, like using incomplete sentences and summarizing pertinent information. As someone who values structure I also liked the “steps in communicating results” guidelines (start with info that aligns with the client’s view of themselves and end with info that conflicts with the client’s view of themselves). I found it similar to that “rule” about constructive criticism, where you’re encouraged to give positive feedback first before moving on to more critical feedback.

    I think the “how” and the “what” parts of communicating assessment related information to clients is critical. An overly technical explanation will likely result in little to no understanding on the client’s part, which I imagine would result in poorer treatment outcomes. Additionally, when communicating the results of an assessment, particularly those involving a diagnosis, it is essential that the counselor use an empathetic tone. There are undoubtedly times when hearing the results of an assessment can be a jarring or painful experience for the client, it is important that clinicians monitor client responses to information and adjust or slow down when necessary. This portion of the reading also reminded me of earlier in the semester when we were discussing how frequently the results of age/grade-equivalent assessments are misinterpreted by parents. Thus if reporting the results of such an assessment it would be extremely important to mention that the different “age levels” presented in the findings are extrapolated and do not mean that, for example, a 9-year old child with a score of 15 is functioning like an average 15-year old.

    Reply

    • Victoria Cestodio
      Sep 27, 2021 @ 15:13:14

      Sandra,
      I love how you mentioned using an empathetic tone, I mentioned something similar and in my response. Like you said, it can be a very hard conversation for the client and even painful and I couldn’t agree more! Hearing that you are potentially more depressed or anxious than you assumed can be very shocking and almost upsetting. Therefore using this empathetic tone is important. We never want to come off as intimidating or empathic to our clients.

      Reply

    • Madelyn Haas
      Sep 27, 2021 @ 21:41:55

      Hi Sandra,
      I enjoyed reading your response. I mentioned the importance of saying the results tentatively/non-absolutely in my response as well. Not only is it more accurate, but you could also make a client feel trapped with their results if you tell it to them as an absolute. It is always important to encourage a growth mindset in clients.

      I also appreciate how you mentioned the “steps in communicating results” and compared it to constructive criticism. That part of the chapter did not initially stand out to me, but your explanation made it a lot more impactful. It is always important to be positive and encouraging with clients because that, I believe, is what breeds growth.

      Reply

    • Lauren Pereira
      Sep 28, 2021 @ 16:46:29

      Sandra,
      Similar to you, I also find the tentative approach to be very significant and useful when discussing results. I agree that it is more accurate this way. It also may be more beneficial for the client as well.
      I like that you included the importance of using an empathetic tone. This does relate well to the therapist and client relationship because you want to make sure you are sounding more positive and open when communicating. This makes it easier to have conversations and make for more comfortable conversations.

      Reply

  3. Kristin Blair
    Sep 27, 2021 @ 14:52:26

    A point that stood out to me as being relevant in communicating results to clients is building a rapport with that client. It is common sense to assume that someone would be more apt to receive information, that could be of a sensitive nature, by someone that the individual trusts on some level. I also think that by building the rapport, the counselor can have a better understanding of who they are as a person and how they communicate. This would aid the counselor in finding the best method of delivering results.

    Another point that stood out to me was having a thorough understanding of the assessment. Having a thorough understanding of the assessment itself, how it is scored, what the results mean, what the terminology means and how to effectively explain the terms is all extremely important when communicating the results to a client or parent. This would help in many different scenarios, and what really can lay the foundation for the different methods and ways you can explain the results to the client. Without the proper knowledge and ability to explain all parts of the assessment results, it can weaken rapport, potentially lose credibility with the client, misguide them, and potentially endanger them etc… As you can see, being knowledgeable in all aspects of an assessment is imperative for success.

    What and how you communicate results to clients is extremely important because everyone is different. Therefore, having a rapport with the client creates a better environment for delivering results in the most effective manner. Then, you have an idea of their communication style and ascertain their level of knowledge in certain areas so you can then frame your conversation in a way that would be tailored best for the client. A good example of this from the text that I also found remarkably interesting, was the fact that many individuals perceive tentative results more helpful than interpretations that were more definite. This makes the individuals more likely to seek out and stick with therapy and treatments. This stood out to me because, when I read it, I resonated with it personally and it made a lot of sense! However, I am not sure if I would have thought of that on my own. The tentativeness of the results says, “these results can change.” Assuming that many people are seeking therapy for help in some area of their life, that tentativeness also carries hope! A “cure” so to speak; motivation for the patient and validation that they are making a good choice for themselves and that they possess the ability to make positive changes in their life. I also believe this to be particularly important because the client needs to do work alongside the counselor or therapist and having the hope and motivation can be critical to success. As they say, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

    Reply

    • Victoria Cestodio
      Sep 27, 2021 @ 15:27:32

      Kristin,
      I like how you brought up tentative results compared to definite results. I think this makes the client feel SO much better and improves their results within therapy like you said. I mean it does make sense because if you are giving someone a diagnosis that seems definite and can’t really be changed, they would not take therapy seriously. A medical example would be getting diagnosed with cancer. If the doctor makes it seem definite that he/she will not survive, the likelihood of them wanting to do chemo or radiation probably is lower. However, when the doctor says there is a great likelihood of survival they will most likely want to do as much as they can to help themselves. As therapists we have to make these diagnoses not seem like death sentences, because recovering from mental illness is possible. Even if you don’t fully “recover”, lessening your depression is extremely reasonable and manageable. Having this mentality with them will make them work even harder in therapy.

      Reply

    • Vanessa Nichols
      Sep 28, 2021 @ 11:52:57

      Hi Kristin,
      Your response is excellent, and I agree with a lot of the points you made. One point that you talked about that I also talked about was the understanding of the assessment. If counselors don’t fully understand the assessments (reliability, validity, and limitations), they have no reason to use that assessment. I agree with your statement that it weakens rapport, loses credibility, and can lead to misdiagnosis. These are substantial consequences for giving an assessment you don’t understand.
      I like your take on what and how because it is an accurate conclusion that everyone is different. Talking to each client will be different from the next; need be, the counselor must have the tools and skills to break down and explain an assessment in 20 different ways.
      I also think you did a great job explaining the tentative approach, and you clarified a couple of things for me.
      Thank you.

      Reply

    • Bekah Riley
      Sep 28, 2021 @ 17:06:16

      Hi Kristin,

      I really liked your post! I very much agree that establishing rapport with clients is so important. The relationship and trust a client has with their counselor helps to build a foundation for productive sessions as well as further assessments, interpreting results, and treating the client effectively.

      When reading the chapter and reviewing the lecture recordings, the counselor’s understanding on the assessment and interpreting results also stood out to me as being very important. If the counselor does not fully understand the assessment or how to explain the results to the client, how is the client able to fully understand their results and the next steps that will be beneficial to them? For the client to understand the assessment/results, the counselor must be able to understand and interpret!

      Reply

    • Kelsey McGinness
      Oct 02, 2021 @ 16:38:14

      Kristin, I like the point you make about needing to have a knowledge about the assessment prior to delivering results. Often times when we know an assessment or at least have reviewed it enough times to naturally speak about the goal, the scoring, and the results, it can help the delivery of each client’s assessments results come across more naturally and less robotic. This is important in creating a safe, trusting, knowledgeable, environment for a client because they feel their therapist fully understands the extent of their current state and the steps needed for healing.

      Reply

  4. Victoria Cestodio
    Sep 27, 2021 @ 15:01:58

    I really enjoyed this chapter, and learning more about communicating results with clients. I think this is a vital part of the therapeutic relationship and hearing all Dr.V’s examples were extremely insightful. The first point that really stood out to me was using descriptive terms and not just using scores! This is a huge point I feel like, as counselors we might know what that number score means but the client most likely does not. Therefore if they receive a 40 on the BDI, we need to communicate those results and summarize what they mean to the client. Having a score of over 40 on the BDI shows us that the person has extreme depression. Therefore, letting the client know this score shows that you do have pretty severe depression, and this VALIDATES what I already assumed. Saying this will reassure the client that it is not just the assessment saying they have bad depression but the clinician also felt that way before the assessment and this just validated that more. I also feel like another important point was not focusing on the negative of the diagnosis. Not everyone will react the same, but reassuring clients that you feel as though that you can improve these results and you have faith they can be put on a better track by working together. One last point I thought was crucial was asking questions! Asking the client if they have any questions after interpreting the results I think would be useful. This allows the therapist to know if the client truly understands the diagnosis. I think if the client doesn’t have any questions, asking the client an open ended question like “What do you think of these results? Are you surprised by them?” , etc. would also gain more insight.

    Now, the “what” and the “how” you report results to clients is a big and important part of this process. If we do not explain the ‘what’ and ‘how’ this may lead the client to not have as great of outcomes and the treatment may be prolonged or not beneficial for the client. Also, these are important parts because we do not want our client to feel stigma behind their diagnosis which can easily happen if we do not communicate this in the correct way. As a therapist we want to show concern but not overly concern (especially with parents), and like Dr. V said in the lecture we do not want it to come off as cold or intimidating. As therapists we need to communicate these results with care and compassion, not as intimidating to the client.

    Reply

    • Madelyn Haas
      Sep 27, 2021 @ 21:33:30

      Hi Victoria,

      I am glad you enjoyed this chapter! It was definitely the easiest for me to read and comprehend thus far. I appreciate your example about the Beck Depression Inventory. In your example, you made it clear that assessments are not all that matters in counseling. Assessments serve as tools for counselors to confirm their thoughts and assist clients, and it is important to remember that.

      Also, I’m glad you mentioned not only focusing on the negative aspects of the assessment. This can be extremely important for the clients’ sake and can hopefully help combat the stigma related to diagnoses.

      Reply

    • Lauren Pereira
      Sep 28, 2021 @ 16:52:15

      Victoria,
      I agree with all of your points and I find them very useful. I really like how you explained the important of using descriptive terms. This will give the client a better idea of what is being seen within results instead of just hearing the types of numbers on certain assessments. Therapists may understand number scores while clients may get confused and even more anxious. Using descriptive terms will allow the client to get a better idea of what is being addressed and they may feel more comfortable this way.
      I also agree that not stating the “what” and “how” could negatively impact the clients progress. As therapists, we should be able to express these terns and reasonings to each of our clients so they are more confident and can see the compassion behind the therapists points. They want to feel like they are involved in the process as well.

      Reply

    • Sandra Karic
      Oct 02, 2021 @ 19:51:12

      Hi Victoria,
      I really liked that you talked about using descriptive terms instead of numerical terms. I feel like being overly technical could overwhelm clients and prevent them from fully understanding the assessment results. I also liked that you included that including descriptive terms could help validate the client. I think validation is a very important part of the therapeutic process. I also liked the emphasis you placed on focusing on ability instead of disability and reducing stigma.

      Reply

  5. Madelyn Haas
    Sep 27, 2021 @ 21:26:38

    Assessments serve no purpose if the client or parent does not understand what the results mean. For that reason, it is important to be clear when explaining the results. In the text chapter, the three points that stood out to me were: 1) encouraging your client to speak up and ask questions, 2) making sure you describe what the results mean (e.g., not just giving scores), and 3) not presenting the results as absolute/infallible.

    The first point I mentioned, encouraging your client to speak up and ask questions, is essential for your client’s sake. A lot of clients, if not encouraged to talk, will sit back and nod even if they do not know what the counselor is saying. If they do not understand the purpose or the results of the assessment, then there was no reason to have them take it in the first place. Counselors need to make sure their client feels comfortable speaking to them, so they need to encourage the client to ask questions throughout the process. The second point, being descriptive, is another way to make sure you client gets information/help from the assessment. If a counselor starts using statistics jargon, the client likely will not be able to keep up. Instead of just using statistics terms and numerical values, counselors need to describe in easy-to-follow words what the results mean. Instead of just saying “your child is in the 23 percentile,” you should describe to the parents what that means. Finally, the third point, not presenting the results as absolute, is necessary when giving results. The textbook mentioned that in multiple studies, clients preferred when results were not described as being absolute. Not only that, but counselors should know that no assessment is perfect. For the sake of both the counselor and client, it is best to avoid speaking in absolutes.

    “What” and “how” you communicate results to clients is extremely important. One reason it is important, like I mentioned in a previous paragraph, is for the client’s comprehension. If they do not understand, the assessment did nothing for them. Not only that, but it was also a waste of the client’s time, a waste of your time, and may have made the client unsure about counseling going forward. Other than making sure the client understands the material, it is important to give them the results tentatively. Speaking in absolutes may make the client feel like they are stuck and cannot change or grow. The way you tell them their results also could affect how the client feels about themselves or how they feel about counseling in general. If you speak too technically/emotionlessly, the client may feel like you do not care about them or their well being. On the other hand, if you speak to warmly/encouragingly, the client may feel like you are talking down to them. It is important to find a balance in how you speak to your clients about their assessment results.

    Reply

    • Vanessa Nichols
      Sep 28, 2021 @ 11:40:45

      Hi Madelyn,
      I think your response was great. Your initial sentence about how assessment serves no purpose if the client can’t understand was very impactful.
      You talked about the jargon, and I think that was an excellent point to make. The client did not go to school for this, so they will not understand the statistics or like a definition from a book. It is our job to be able to understand the assessment enough to put it into lay terms. Something I talked about that applies here is having multiple different ways to explain the same thing to a client.
      I agree with your what and how statements as well. I think that important to keep all the counseling skills going while explaining the results. I believe good eye contact, body language, and tone of voice can make a difference on how this information will be interpreted.
      Thank you!

      Reply

    • Will Roche
      Sep 29, 2021 @ 11:45:51

      Madelyn,
      I also found those three points to be very important to relay to clients. Personally, whenever someone relays a ton of information to me and then asks, “Do you have any questions?” I’m usually either too rattled or trying to comprehend all the information all at once that I typically respond with “No.” Therefore, for tests/information relating to mental health, I really think there should a large emphasis on taking time with explaining assessment results and giving the client time and comfortability to ask anything they may be curious about. Similarly, in my response I also added how important it must be to report results in layman’s terms for clients who don’t understand statistical terminology. I think doing this, along with disclosing that all results are not infallible are very crucial aspects to communicating results with a client.

      Reply

    • Kristin Blair
      Oct 01, 2021 @ 10:14:54

      Hi Madelyn,
      Nice post! It really struck me when you said, “The way you tell them their results also could affect how the client feels about themselves.” Like, wow, such a good point. All I could think of was, imagine if I gave the results the wrong way or didn’t explain something well enough, and my client left my office feeling WORSE than they did before coming to see me?! That was a very powerful statement that really puts into perspective the importance of relaying thorough and correct information.

      -Kristin

      Reply

  6. Vanessa Nichols
    Sep 28, 2021 @ 11:25:46

    Communicating the results of an assessment to the client or a parent is one of the most critical parts of assessing because it directly relates to the client’s understanding. The book mentions that clients who receive any test interpretation(regardless of formate) experience more significant gains in counseling than those who do not.
    Throughout this chapter, there were a couple of points that stuck out as extra relevant. The first point that stuck out to me was that the counselor needs to know what they are doing. It is essential that the counselor fully understand the assessment they are about to give to fully and accurately interpret the results. This means that counselors need to understand the validity, reliability, and limitations of the assessment. If the counselor does not understand, this can lead to confusion for the client. Also, it can diminish the counselor’s and client’s relationship and lead to misdiagnosis.
    A second point that stuck out to me was that a counselor needs to develop multiple methods for explaining the result and be prepared to explain those results numerous times. Not everyone understands things in the same way, especially confusing stuff like mental health assessments. So explaining those results will not work the same for each client, but the client must understand. The client should not misunderstand the information because the counselor can not explain it in a way that helps them. The book even mentions having possible visual examples to help illustrate it. The moral to this point is that we gave the assessment and went to school for this, so it is our responsibility to make sure the client fully understands the information provided, even if we have to explain it ten times in ten different ways.
    The what and how is extremely important to mental health assessment. How we say and what we say directly leads to how the client interprets and reacts to their results. Throughout this chapter, the book mentioned using a nonabsolute approach. This way, the client understands what this assessment is saying and what this assessment is not saying. It is imperative to explain the full limitations of this assessment. I think it leads to greater understanding from the client when the counselor uses information from previous sessions to relate to the new information. Like a counseling session, it’s easier when you have a great relationship and rapport because you know how to talk to that client.
    Delivering this information is essential for both the client and the counselor. Assuring the client understands is part of the job and should be taken very seriously.

    Reply

    • Tom Mandozzi
      Sep 29, 2021 @ 14:40:51

      Hi Vanessa,

      I really appreciated your perspective on how the way we communicate results is related to the client’s understanding. Two words that stuck out to me after reading this were “confusion” and “hope”. An assessment should help a client feel more connected with themselves and support the therapeutic process, but if the counselor does not adequately explain an assessment to a client, they may misinterpret the results. If a client is confused about the results of an assessment, we would want them to reach out or express any confusion to the therapist. But if they don’t feel comfortable doing so or the therapist is not approachable or open to explaining results, the client may develop a misguided understanding of what the results mean and this could cause more harm than good in the treatment process. I also think it is important to implement a sense of hope while highlighting a client’s strengths. If the results indicate a client is depressed, but they are not given individualized feedback from the therapist, the client might feel as though they do not have the ability to improve their life and symptoms, and thus lose hope for things to get better. I think when communicating test results, the clinician must make it clear that the test is a tool and that the score does not define the individual. Great post!

      Reply

    • Sandra Karic
      Oct 02, 2021 @ 20:02:35

      Hi Vanessa,
      I think you raised a lot of really good points. I agree that explaining results is one of the most important parts of psychological assessment and I like that you brought up how clients benefit from receiving test interpretation. I also liked how you talked about being able to relay assessment results in multiple ways depending on the client. I think adaptability is an important part of being a good counselor, and that includes being adaptable in how you convey assessment results to clients/parents. The section on using a non-absolute approach also stuck out to me, I think it is important both in terms of increasing client understanding and being accurate. I also liked that you included using information from previous sessions to aid conveying assessment results to clients.

      Reply

  7. Lauren Pereira
    Sep 28, 2021 @ 16:40:40

    When communicating results to clients, it is important to involve certain methods in the process. I find that using a tentative approach is significant. This is a great communication method that will allow the client to feel more comfortable and confident. It is a way of explaining the methods and constructs to the client in order for them to have an accurate understanding of the process as a whole. The terminology and details you provide are important for the client to fully acknowledge what they are going through and how certain steps are more beneficial.
    Another important method within communicating results is continuing to complete assessments. This is a way to gain more insight on your client in order to get a better connection with them. If you do not have much background knowledge and understanding of your client, it will be more difficult to help them obtain goals. Also, this has a lot to do with the relationship a therapist has with their client. You want to be able to be open to learning more about them and allow them to get comfortable with you as their therapist. If this step does not occur, therapy may be more difficult if the client does not see a good therapeutic relationship forming. It is important to build trust in order for both parties to see positive end results. You want to be able to know more about your client and grow from those initial characteristics and interests one may express.

    Communicating the “what” and “why” for mental health assessments is a critical step. What we are expressing and how we are phrasing it can go a long way. This affects how the client is understanding the results. The client should feel comfortable and confident in understanding everything being shared with them. Being able to explain the assessment in great detail will allow the client to be aware of what is present, but also what is not present. This is known as the non absolute approach where the client is also knowledgable in certain things that will not be occurring so they have a better idea of the different steps being taken. It may also be beneficial for therapists to use previous information from previous sessions to help relate back and forth as well as specify the relative information needed. You want to phrase the details in manageable terms because you want the client to be able to be comfortable in communicating with you. This is essential for the relationship of therapist and client to stay consistent.

    Reply

    • Bekah Riley
      Sep 28, 2021 @ 16:57:44

      Hi Lauren,

      I thought your post was very clear and informational! In explaining the tentative approach, I liked how you emphasized that it is a communication method that can help to make clients feel both comfortable and confident. When working with a client, the comfort level that the client feels with the counselor can be especially important in communication! It is also very important to communicate results while acknowledging what the client is going through as well as the next steps that may be beneficial to the client, so I really liked how you included that.

      I also agree that having background knowledge on your client as well as establishing rapport with the client can be very beneficial when giving assessments and interpreting/communicating results. In terms of “what” and “how” the counselor communicates results to the client, I agree that how the counselor phrases this information can go such a long way in the client’s understanding and confidence in further steps!

      Reply

    • Mary Altomare
      Sep 29, 2021 @ 08:44:56

      Hi Lauren,
      I thought your approach was very insightful this week! I agree that the tentative approach is a great way to communicate with clients in order to make them feel more comfortable with their results and the interventions are being utilized to assist them with attaining their goals. As you pointed out is continuing to complete assessments in order to be gain understanding of the client’s needs and build rapport with them. It is imperative for the relationship between the therapist and client to be strong in order for there to be positive results for that client! Furthermore, the way in which counselors deliver our messages to our clients is imperative for their interpretation and understanding of their diagnosis and the way in which the counselor is going to treat their diagnosis. It is important that the client is comfortable in asking follow up questions with the counselor if they need any clarifications because if they do not feel comfortable than the message can be misconstrued and the treatment will not be effective.

      Reply

  8. Bekah Riley
    Sep 28, 2021 @ 16:46:49

    One of the most important aspects of the assessment process is the communication of results from the counselor to the client or parent/guardian of the client. Although there are many guidelines to consider when communicating results, there were a few points from the chapter specifically that stuck out to me as being very relevant. The first point being that the counselor needs to be knowledgeable on the assessment given and how to interpret the results. A misunderstanding of the instrument itself as well as a misinterpretation of results can have a negative effect on a client’s treatment plan as well as their progress. In addition, if a counselor does not fully understand an instrument, it will be more challenging to clearly explain the results to the client. This brings me to my next point I found to be very relevant which is explaining the instrument to the client in a descriptive manner rather than numerically so that they have a better understanding. In addition, in explaining, it is important to encourage the client to ask as many questions as they need to to ensure that they have an accurate knowledge of the assessment used as well as their results. In terms of communicating results to a client’s parents, what I found to be very important when a child’s results suggest they have a mental disorder is that the counselor monitors the parents reactions to ensure the child does not feel as though they are a disappointment.

    “What” and “how” you communicate mental health assessments to clients is so important. As I previously mentioned, what a counselor shares with the client as well as how they share it is important when considering communicating the results in a way the client will understand. For example, the client may not be familiar with the word “standard deviation” or know what a normal curve is. That is why it may be important for the counselor to include visuals while explaining results and go more into depth on what certain parts of the results mean. In addition, asking the client how they are feeling in terms of their reactions to the results may be important in making them feel more comfortable as well improve their understanding about what the results mean in context with their client information and further steps. It is also important for the counselor to stay away from explaining the results in terms of certainties, and explain them in terms of probabilities instead if probable information is available. Going off of that, the client should feel as though they are able to grow when hearing their results rather then feeling like it is impossible for them to improve or make changes.

    Reply

    • Mary Altomare
      Sep 29, 2021 @ 07:52:32

      Hi Bekah,
      First off, I truly enjoy reading your weekly post. I find them to be well written and very insightful. I agree with you that it is vital that the counselor needs to be knowledgeable on the assessment they are given and be thorough in the way in which they communicate their results. Like you said, if a counselor does not have a good understanding of the assessment and the results than it can be detrimental to the client’s treatment. As you pointed out, it is important that the counselor monitors the parents reactions to ensure the client does not feel guilt or disappointment when they are diagnosed with a mental disorder, because that too can have a negative impact on the client’s mental health.

      Reply

    • Emily Barefield
      Sep 29, 2021 @ 20:05:31

      Bekah,

      I think both points you brought up about the communication of results are very important. We do need to be knowledgable about an assessment and understand how to interpret it before we think about giving it to a client! We should be using an assessment to give our client the best possible treatment, and we certainly cannot do that if we do not understand what we are giving them. Communicating the results in a descriptive manner that contextualizes them is so important as well. I think the point you brought up about monitoring parent responses is a good one- I imagine that can be challenging at times.

      I agree that visuals can be useful in helping the client understand their results. Visuals do a good job of removing (or limiting) jargon and presenting data in a clear, readable way. Leaving room for the client to ask questions and assessing how the client is feeling after learning about the result are also important things to consider. You’re right, that has the potential to help the therapeutic relationship grow. Great post!

      Reply

    • Olgena
      Oct 02, 2021 @ 21:03:50

      Hello Bekah,
      I think that you pointed out one of the most important elements of this chapter, which is the importance of the clinician understanding well each element of the instrument in order to explain the results to the client in the most understandable way, and avoid any misconception on their end. I agree with you where you mention that would be easier for the client to use descriptive method instead of numeral ones, because most times clients do not have the sufficient information to interpret certain scores. Moreover, likewise I believe that creating an trustworthy environment where a client feels and trust that he/she can improve his/her future expectations is crucial. Talking and considering all possibilities that could help a client future treatment goals is primary. Last but not leas, another great point you made, is related to ethics, one of the factors I most admire in this field. It is important to be transparent with a client as much as it is the way you decide to be. Finding the best way to deliver and interpret delicate results to the client I think is one of the key points and strengths a clinician must have in order to create a trustworthy, and healthy relationship with his/ her client. Great post!

      Reply

  9. Will Roche
    Sep 29, 2021 @ 10:30:10

    After reading the chapter, there are many aspects of communicating results to clients and parents that were very interesting. First, I was intrigued by the evidence that shows that tentatively interpreting results to clients is much more helpful than being absolute about the results. I can see the merit in approaching test results this way. Using an absolute approach may insinuate that these results are not liable to change and there’s no possibility that any results on this test are incorrect or misinterpreted. Furthermore, because of a tentative approach, it allows the client to be more willing to work with them in the future. This is obviously very important as counselors need many sessions with a client in order to create a lasting rapport and work towards improving the client’s condition. Another point that I thought was important to focus on was the significance of using a collaborative style over a traditional information gathering approach. A collaborative style makes people more likely to begin therapy, and have a higher rated therapeutic alliance with their counselor throughout their entire relationship with their counselor. These are arguably the most important aspects of client’s improvement; actually getting them to therapy and having a strong therapeutic relationship with their counselor. Overall, I think these are very important aspects of result communication to clients.

    One side note that I found interesting was the significant increase of cost in giving individual interpretations than group interpretation. The chapter does not delve into the reasoning behind this so I was genuinely interested in why the individual method costs 6 times more than group interpretation hearings.

    It’s very important to be cognizant of what and how you communicate mental health assessment results to clients. The chapter emphasizes using layman’s terms for clients who may not be aware of what psychological assessment terminology is. You want to be as clear as possible to the client about the results so that they don’t leave the session with any questions regarding their results. It’s important to disclose caveats to clients (i.e. this test will exactly interpret who you are and your condition). By doing these things, (speak in plain language, disclose that results are not damning and absolute, and taking their reaction into consideration) you should be able to fluidly explain results to clients and also have the ability to explain any questions that they may have, while also encouraging them to ask anything they may be unsure of.

    Reply

  10. Tom Mandozzi
    Sep 29, 2021 @ 14:32:08

    I think a really important point made in both the book and lecture is that the process of implementing assessments and communicating assessment results should be interwoven into the counseling process and that assessment and counseling in this context are not two separate things. Assessment in counseling should be an integral part of the therapeutic experience for the client and should support the counseling process instead of being what is solely looked at in order to diagnose a mental health disorder. A word that stood out to me was “context”. A client’s diagnosis should never be determined by one assessment score, but rather in the context of other aspects of clinical presentation and on repeated further assessment. Another point that stood out to me in the reading was the importance of leaving room for comments, questions, and concerns after communicating the results to a client or parent. It is critical that the client feels like they are involved in the counseling process and that they have a part in discussing their treatment planning moving forward. In my experience, a client is much more likely to participate in treatment if they feel they are being listened to and are able ask questions and communicate their concerns. I think the therapist must be approachable to the client while being able to explain the test and demonstrate understanding of the assessment being implemented, but also being sensitive to an individual’s needs and making sure the person feels they are an important part of the process and not just a number or score. It is also important to reassess a client and be aware of, and account for, human error. I think it is all about finding a balance and walking the fine line of being competent and educated about the assessment results without unintentionally coming across as condescending to the client, which I imagine is very dependent on each individual client and can be a tough balance to achieve.

    Another extremely important point made in this chapter is the process of establishing a therapeutic relationship with the client. I think a huge part of establishing relationships with my clients and promoting engagement in services is the rapport building stage. The agency I work for utilizes a strength-based approach and instead of saying “weaknesses” we ask clients what “barriers” toward reaching their goals have been getting in the way. I think this individualized approach is so important for communicating assessment results as well, because the client feels more comfortable asking questions about the results and the therapist will also be able to explain these results in the context of the individual’s goals, strengths, barriers and other specific relevant information. If client A has results on the Beck Depression Inventory that indicate severe depression and you know they find art and creative activities helpful for them, you can implement these strengths and interests into treatment planning. If client B also has a score on the same assessment indicating that they have severe depression, but they explained in the intake process that they strongly dislike art and love sports instead, then implementing creative and expressive art therapy techniques might not be as helpful. Thus, in this case, it is important to develop a relationship with the client that is strength based to implement counseling interventions on an individual basis and use strengths and barriers in combination with communicating assessment results.

    It is so important to communicate mental health assessment results in an intentional and informed way, because I think the most important aspect of counseling is viewing the client as a multi-dimensional person and not based solely on how they scored on an assessment. If I picture myself as the client, I would be much more willing to engage in services and work on reaching my goals if the therapist was educated and informed on the assessment but was also able to consider other information I provide. I would be much more open to working with someone that used assessment as a tool to help me but not as the primary way to inform my treatment in sessions. I think clients seek services because they want that established therapeutic connection, and if a therapist gave me an assessment, told me to fill it out, and then gave it back to me with a number and said “yeah, looks like you are depressed”, I would feel judged or potentially shamed. I would be much less likely to return to sessions and continue working with this therapist moving forward, because the environment doesn’t feel understanding or approachable.

    Reply

    • Emily Barefield
      Sep 29, 2021 @ 19:53:53

      Hi Tom,

      I think you did a great job of emphasizing the importance of making assessment a part of therapy. I agree that context is a great word to highlight- it summarizes the points you make in the first paragraph very well. It is certainly important to consider as many factors as possible when giving a client a diagnosis. I also think you explained the importance, and the potential difficulties, of including the client throughout the process.

      I like that your agency focuses on utilizing the strengths of the client throughout their treatment. You did a great job of explaining how that relates to building a relationship with the client.

      I like in the last paragraph that you put yourself in the position of a potential client and talked about how you want to be treated. I think that’s always important to consider. Great job!

      Reply

    • Monika
      Oct 02, 2021 @ 18:52:03

      Hi Tom,
      I really enjoyed reading your post this week, you made good points. I liked how you mentioned the point regarding assessment, it is an integral part of therapy and not just making a diagnosis. I agree that clients are more likely to participate in the therapy if they feel involved and are not just told that this is something they must do, now that they are diagnosed with a disorder. And when clients willingly participate then the therapy is more likely to be successful. Leaving room for comments and questions is only going to improve the therapeutic relationship as clients will feel much more comfortable when their questions are properly answered. Also, I agree that it’s important to be well informed about the assessment itself. Our clients are placing a great deal of trust in us as their therapists, so it’s important that we respect that and be aware of what the results interpret before communicating it to our clients.

      Reply

  11. Emily Barefield
    Sep 29, 2021 @ 19:45:23

    Communicating results to clients and parents is an important part of building rapport. If assessments and their results are used well and integrated into therapy, they can be helpful for building trust with the client. There is often a certain level of credibility associated with an assessment. If the client is unsure that they have a mental disorder (or if a parent is skeptical of their child’s diagnosis), but the results of an assessment indicate that they have a mental disorder, they may be more likely to accept treatment for that disorder. Additionally, using a range of scores, if applicable, can help the client better understand the severity of the mental disorder. Clearly explaining the results, perhaps using visual aids or other ways of putting the results into context, can help the client or the parent gain a better understand of why you might be suggesting a certain treatment plan.

    I also found the order of feedback provided by the Whiston to be helpful. The goal of communicating results is not to argue with the client or prove that you are right, but rather build a relationship with them. Then utilizing that relationship, you should be able to communicate effectively with the client. Whiston suggests starting with level one feedback, which is feedback that maps onto the way the client already thinks about themselves. From there, you then explain level two feedback, which reframes or amplifies the clients’ way of viewing themselves. Then, if necessary, you introduce level three feedback, which includes more discrepant results which are in conflict with how the client views themselves. This suggestion was helpful because it forces the therapist to think about how the communication of the results of an assessment impact the client.

    The “what” and “how” of communicating results is so important because they impact how the results are received by the client. Taking the time to clearly explain the assessment, the results of the assessment, the context of those results, and what that means for the client helps set up effective treatment. Using assessment results to show a client how much they lack insight about themselves is probably not a good way to build rapport or to encourage a client to continue coming to therapy. The results of an assessment should be used to give a client an idea of where they are at currently and where they want to be.

    Reply

    • Monika
      Oct 02, 2021 @ 18:38:47

      Hi Emily,
      Let me start by saying that I completely agree with your point that communicating results to clients is an important part of building rapport, especially in the initial stages of the therapy. Using visual aids is surely going to help clients understand the results in a much better way. Also, I think the overall environment can be stressful for parents, especially if they find out their child has some form of disability. Using visual aids can help them feel a little less intimidated I guess. The point regarding the order of feedback is something I missed earlier so thank you for mentioning this.

      Reply

  12. Kelsey McGinness
    Sep 29, 2021 @ 22:21:59

    When communicating the results of an assessment with a client or a client’s parents, there are lots of key factors to consider when doing so. Some of which include weaving your client’s results through therapy by providing tentative interpretations. In doing this, you are able to reference assessment results in relations to specific topics, events, or key points in your daily therapy sessions. This can allow you to provide a general interpretation as well as examples relative to each client in a way that can make the most sense to him/her/them. Another key factor to consider when delivering assessment results is to avoid using technical jargon. This is HUGE and is also something we use in ABA when reviewing assessments and program results with families. Each field has its own technological language commonly understood among professionals in the field. This language is not always understood to everyone else (i.e., our patients, their families, etc.). Therefore, it is always best to limit the amount to technical jargon you use, and when you do use those terms to define them using everyday language with examples so that others can better understand. Same thing goes for when you are providing numerical scores. It can sometimes be better to provide a range, an average, or a rounded up numerical number to provide a general understanding of where someone scored and why. For example, if your client scored 56.5% on an assessment conducted on their mental health, anyone hearing that will think that is a low number, and focus only on that number. However, if you were to provide detail and state the assessment scores in percentiles and based on the information you provided you are in the X percentile which means XYZ, and this tells me that ABC…do you feel this accurately reflects how you have been feeling? In summary, explaining in common terms, numbers, and providing examples can help your client better understand when explaining their assessment results and help them not feel like a deer in headlights.

    It is extremely important in remembering who you are speaking to as well as what your communication goal is with that individual because it dictates the language and explanations you will use. For example, how you speak to a client can slightly vary to how you speak to a client’s parent, and greatly varies from how you speak to another professional. As previously stated, when speaking to a client or a client’s parent you will use more day to day language, less technical jargon, provide more understanding and sympathy when explaining results, etc. This helps your clients/families understand, maintains rapport, and builds trust and understanding because assessment results are not always the easiest to hear and understand. Oppositely, when communicating to another professional you will use more field appropriate jargon, technical language, and often times be more cut and dry with delivery as you are both on the same level of understanding. This is very similar to how we speak to our parents versus our teachers, or how we speak to children versus other adults our age. We alter our communication towards our target audience in order to make the greatest most effective impact.

    Reply

    • Tom Mandozzi
      Sep 30, 2021 @ 18:31:39

      Hi Kelsey,

      I was drawn to what you said about using technical jargon when communicating results to clients in reference to your work in ABA. It got me thinking about how much the technical jargon must vary even between mental health counseling and the field of ABA, let alone other professional fields. I agree – I think we must be mindful of how we explain results to clients and parents. It is important to use clear and concise language that the individual can understand, and I think that varies depending on age as well. We might have to explain the same results using a very different and more simplified approach to a 5 year old child as we would their parent. This also got me thinking about my current role as a Therapeutic Youth Support (TYS) working with youth and families. I work as a therapeutic mentor (TM) and a therapeutic support and training staff (TT&S). Between me and my coworkers, we so easily throw around these acronyms with each other, but sometimes forget to realize that our clients understandably don’t know what these terms mean and that we have to further explain them. I imagine this is similar in explaining results or even explaining the purpose for using assessments with client’s and we must remember that we may be much more familiar with these concepts than others. I feel like it is so easy to forget, though! Great post!

      Reply

  13. Moises Chauca
    Sep 29, 2021 @ 23:34:10

    One of the most important aspects of the assessment process is communicating results to the client or parent. The chapter shares that it is important to communicate the results to the client because it provides an opportunity for the client or parent to be engaged and work together for the best treatment possible. In addition, the chapter shared many ways to effectively communicate results, but two points stood out to me. The first point was that the therapist should be experienced with the assessment and be able to interpret the results. This is crucial because a therapist that doesn’t know the intended measurement of an assessment and the interpretation can lead to a misdiagnosed and incorrect treatment of the client. Furthermore, the second point is the client’s understanding of the assessment and the importance of their feedback. The therapist should provide enough information about the assessment to the client, so they can be on the same page. The client or parent should be encouraged to have their own interpretation and provide feedback. When clients or parents provide their own interpretations and feedback, they can feel more engaged and be willing to start or continue treatment.

    The importance of communicating the “what” and “how” is critical for the client’s understanding of the results. The therapist should be very clear and concise when communicating results to a client or their parents, so they understand what it means and how to go from there. Miscommunication of the results can lead to the client feeling confused and even make the wrong decision about their treatment. The therapist should be aware of the jargon they use to communicate and be more descriptive. Sometimes, assessment typically has some technical words that need more context to be understood. Explaining the results of an assessment with words that the client is familiar with is more beneficial for them. Lastly, it is important to be clear on what the assessment is measuring and to interpret the results as not only the scores but more about the client and their situation.

    Reply

    • Tressa Novack
      Sep 30, 2021 @ 12:12:39

      Hi Moises,
      You make such a good point about clients having the opportunity to be able to provide their own feedback so that they feel engaged in the process. I didn’t even think about how this could make the client feel more willing to do treatment. This is such a good point! I agree with everything you have to say about “what” and “how” to communicate results to our clients. Our client’s understanding is the most important thing when it comes to communicating results, and we want to make sure we take steps to achieve that understanding.
      Tressa

      Reply

    • Jordan Ellis
      Oct 02, 2021 @ 14:35:30

      Hi Moises,
      Great job on your post. Thank you for mentioning that we will not only be communicating results to clients, but in some instances, others may be involved, such as guardians and romantic partners. While this sounds obvious, I agree with you that a therapist should not give an assessment without fully understanding what it measures and how it does it. I think it is important to go over the directions with clients, especially when those clients are children. I think it is important to provide information to parents as to why you are giving their children certain assessments. Dr. V provided an example of this in class. One of his 11 year old clients was too mature to receive an assessment made for children, so he confirmed with the parent that it was okay to give their kid an assessment designed for adults. I think this is a considerate thing to do, as the parent deserves to know information such as this. I also feel that it is important that the client is able to provide feedback to their therapist as well. It is so crucial that in the therapeutic relationship, the client feels comfortable enough to ask questions and to be honest with their therapist. The initial appointments with clients are the most significant when building this trust. Again, well done. I really enjoyed reading this!

      Reply

    • Teresia
      Oct 02, 2021 @ 22:39:58

      Hi Moises,

      I enjoyed reading your post! You brought up a great point on how therapists should be able to interpret the results. I agree that this is important because if a therapist can not interpret the results they could end up giving the incorrect information which could affect the client negatively in the future. For example if the therapist misses crucial information like whether the client is suicidal because they could not interpret the information, the client could be in danger. I also agree with the importance of “what” and “how” because one of the most important things is that a client should leave a session knowing they understand all the information the therapist was explaining.

      Reply

  14. jeremy
    Sep 30, 2021 @ 00:19:13

    Most skills relating to clients seems the most common sense, Make sure that the test is treated as part of the therapy, Explain scores, proving a range and statistics when possible, minimize fancy words, and ensure that clients know how much goes into a diagnosis. Explaining scores to parents defiantly gets more complicated and many of those skills felt more foreign to me. Parents’ reactions to diagnosis can be wild, unpredictable, and stressful. It is important to note how they respond to diagnosis, helping them understand how to focus on their kid’s skills and abilities rather than just the diagnosis.
    Assessments are a part of therapy, as such, there are ways to develop or hurt rapport and ways to use the communication of results therapeutically. First, there must be communication, test need to be communicated to the client. This feels like this would be the case, but from experience and conversations with peers, this is something several therapists do not do properly. Beyond that communication is a time to develop rapport with a client, by giving them psychological education, taking the time to fully explain results and the relationships that the results have with reality. By exploring the results deeply, there is a therapeutic element especially in personality assessment, it can be useful to allow clients’ emotions to catch up with reality.

    Reply

    • Tressa Novack
      Sep 30, 2021 @ 12:08:29

      Hi Jeremy,
      You make a good point when you talk about communicating results with parents. I did not talk about that in my post, but I agree with what you have to say. It can be very hard and emotional for parents to hear that their child is receiving a diagnosis. Making sure that parents understand what is going on and that a diagnosis does not take away from what their child can do is so important. I also like how you talk about rapport. Communicating results properly is necessary to make sure that we are not damaging our rapport with our clients.
      Tressa

      Reply

  15. Tressa Novack
    Sep 30, 2021 @ 12:03:14

    There were a few points that stood out to me from this chapter on communicating assessment results to clients. They were using a tentative tone, making sure we explain scores to clients so that the understand them, and allowing clients to ask us questions. I think using a tentative tone is so important because I would never want a client to feel labeled or defined by a score they receive on an assessment. If a client feels that a score has labeled them it could be detrimental to the therapeutic process. I would not want a client to feel like they have lost hope after receiving a score that says how severely depressed they are. I would do my best to communicate scores in a way so that clients understand what the assessment is saying, but that they can grow from it. Furthermore, it really important that clients understand what a score means and what has been measured. In the book, Whiston gave an example of how a client was confused by the phrase “50th percentile” and thought it meant she received a poor score on the assessment she had taken. This is an example of why it is important that clients are clear on what exactly their scores mean. In the mental health field we will be working with people who are already vulnerable and it would not be good to have clients leaving our offices feeling even worse because they are misunderstanding assessment results. Lastly, I think making sure our clients ask us any questions they have is really important. This goes along with my second point that we want to make sure our clients have an understanding of what an assessment score means. It is important to make sure that we do not accidentally lead our clients to feeling confused or negative about how an assessment has gone.

    “What” and “how” you communicate mental health assessment results to clients is so important because of some reasons that I have already mentioned. We will be working with people who are vulnerable and may already be feeling poorly about themselves. It is important to communicate results in a way so that clients know the results are really just a way to figure out the best treatment for them and to track progress. It would be detrimental to clients if results made them feel poorly or hopeless about getting better. Those kinds of feelings could negatively impact the therapeutic process and really slow our clients’ progress, which is the opposite of what we want.

    Reply

    • Alexis Grey
      Sep 30, 2021 @ 17:15:13

      Hi Tressa

      I agree with you and I wasn’t able to find the right word for it but “labeled” is so accurate. If you are giving someone results and fail to have a tentative or a sensitive tone you might sound like you’re labeling them I think would impact the therapeutic relationship a lot. A client may feel small, attacked or judged if they perceive the therapist is placing a label on them as you said. Your point about the potential for a client to lose hope or lose self-efficacy or to question the therapeutic process all together is important too, the last thing we want is for clients to drop off of therapy because they felt like there was no hope of improving or changing based on poorly delivered test results.
      This chapter is so in line with the discussions we are having in Counseling Principles and Practices right now so I am finding it helpful to think about this topic in that context. It cannot be overstated how important the therapeutic relationship and feelings of safety and trust are in getting patients to remain in treatment, to take advantage of the tools provided and ultimately to make positive life changes.

      Reply

    • Jeremy
      Sep 30, 2021 @ 18:54:33

      Helllo Teresia,

      I really liked your point about having multiple methods, I completely forgot that skill! it’s so important to be able to read the room and know what information the client needs, if you are worried that a client will see a diagnosis as bad thing, your approach will be very different than someone who needs the diagnosis to answer questions about their behavior.

      I liked how you framed the importance of communication, As a counselor, we have a duty to make sure that we are communicating what the results mean, as well as fix common misconceptions about the scores so that our clients are less likely to hurt their progress by misinterpreting the result.

      Reply

    • Moises Chauca
      Oct 01, 2021 @ 13:26:37

      Hello Tressa,

      I enjoy reading your post. I liked your initial point about tentative interpretations. I did not notice that tentative voice detail on the book, but I see it now after I read your post. In addition, I completely agree with your other points about encouraging clients to make their own interpretations and provide an explanation of the results for the client’s understanding. Lastly, your point about therapists working with people who are vulnerable and communicating effectively for their best treatment and progress is crucial.

      Reply

    • Jordan Ellis
      Oct 02, 2021 @ 02:27:57

      Hi Tressa,
      What an insightful post. I agree that a tentative tone is incredibly important while communicating results to clients. It would be counterintuitive to communicate results in a way that made the client feel worse about their situation. That is why we must be careful not to come off as harsh and judgemental. It is also dangerous to make a client feel as though they have been labeled because there is so much stigma around mental illness. I like how you mentioned making sure that the client knows that things can get better. It is important to not just focus on the negative, but to recognize the positive with our clients as well. Thank you for providing the example from the text about the client who was confused about percentiles. It would be incredibly dismissive to tell a client their percentile ranking and not explain what it meant. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us! I really enjoyed reading this.

      Reply

  16. Olgena
    Sep 30, 2021 @ 12:45:36

    This week chapter seemed easier compared to our previous ones, but I think that was super important because it implied two very important matters that I follow and apply the best was I possibly can now and forever as a therapist. One, is the balance! In other words, one of the most challenging things is to maintain a balance between the professional status and the humanitarian one. Listening to the lecture, I could not agree more with the fact on how important is to use descriptive language to explain the results to clients, considering that they come from different socio-economic backgrounds and a clinician must be clear and understood by them as possible he/she can. Using his/her own emotional intelligence a clinician should be able to predict what a client expects from him/her and work to find the best adaptive ways how to approach, since everyone is different. The second reason why I truly enjoyed this week recording and readings is because also implied ethics. Putting first how a client or their relatives stand points and feelings toward a specific matter is important as much as it is to highlight the importance of that matter itself. In other words, it is important that nothing is kept from the client, but it is also crucial finding the best way to explain in a matter that their emotional and psychological state has been considered.
    Working for a while as a behavioral technician I have seen the looks in the parents’ eyes when a clinician has been “too direct” to them about their child maladaptive behavior. As Dr. V mentioned in his lecture is important to talk with possibilities rather than certainties, because the results and scores could be confounded. One of the techniques that I truly liked hearing in the video lecture was empathizing clients’ abilities. I have worked with kiddos in autism spectrum for a while and there have been countless times where I have been so amazed by their talents. Incorporating music in some of my sessions I found one that someone who uses non-vocal speech has an amazing voice if you start playing one of his favorite songs, and his words pronunciation is perfect. Another kiddo could play with his right hand any song I demonstrated to him on the piano just by looking at me a couple of times. To me was so important that these little findings must be highlighted to their parents and their teachers because they not only improved their ability to engage and pay attention to something they liked but could also become an indication of bigger same interest social groups in the future. Focusing in client’s abilities and talents could be very helpful to find new methods and techniques on how to help them where they are struggling.

    Reply

    • Alexis Grey
      Sep 30, 2021 @ 16:44:51

      Hi Olgena
      I agree with you the most important message I got from this chapter was the theme of striking a balance between your role as a clinician and as a human – therapists are human and the therapeutic relationship is so important. I think we all know how some people can be “turned off” from therapy after a “bad experience” or an experience to cause someone to be judged or spoken down to. I know for me as I read this chapter, I found myself thinking a lot about how easy it would be to lose that human connection piece and to become a little robotic when delivering assessment results. I think you could argue depending on what results you are delivering – particularly if the result is diagnostic in nature or deals with a sensitive issue like suicidality – it may be even MORE important that the therapist be sensitive and delicate and human in their approach while delivering that information. Getting results of a psychological test that can lead to diagnosis etc is scary! And it can be so intimidating, you obviously would want to feel comfortable with your therapist and feel a strong healthy clinical connection with them in that moment. I think the therapeutic relationship is so important for treatment outcome and this is just one piece of that process.

      Reply

  17. Alexis Grey
    Sep 30, 2021 @ 15:23:20

    Assessment and delivering results is a key part of therapy. Discussing scores with clients is part of the healing process and should be as much as part of the human therapeutic relationship as other aspects of therapy. It is so important to communicate assessment results to clients in a manner that is clear and obviously factual, it is important that clients understand their results. Counselors should also be able to answer any questions a client may have about the test or about their specific score /results. Counselors should have a good knowledge of the test in question so that they can deliver results and answer any client follow up questions with confidence. Delivering results can be a turning point I think for individuals in treatment and especially in cases of diagnosis or dealing with suicidality etc.– if they have a bad experience receiving results from a counselor they may be turned off from therapy and not get care that would have really benefitted them.

    One thing I liked that was in the text was the strategy of optimizing the test or in other words putting its usefulness into perspective for the clients before they give them results so they understand what the implications are – example explaining the usefulness and also the limitations of the test so that clients don’t get too “stuck” on their results being the end all be all truth of whatever measurement was taken. I think talking about limitations and context with clients is so important and something I had not thought of before but can see where it would be helpful when communicating results to level set those expectations. Our text says that its helpful to present results as tentative rather than absolute, I think its important to keeping a person in therapy that they believe they aren’t being handed a “death sentence” for lack of a better term with these results, they should see it as a tool or a clue, rather than absolute unchangeable fact the same way we are trained to understand measurements as a tool to gain insight. Involving the patient or client in the interpretation of the measurement is key too I think in empowering that person to feel like they are a part of their own healing process and not just being “told what is wrong with them”. I think empowerment in therapy is so important and we can’t forget that when communicating results.

    Another point from the text that I think is sort of obvious maybe but also important to keep in mind is explaining the results in a non-robotic fashion where possible. Instead of using numerical scores, using more ordinary descriptive language so that the information is digestible and approachable to the client I think is so important from a human as well as a clinical perspective. A therapist should be human at all stages of therapy including delivering results, this is so important for quality of care and the quality of the relationship between client and therapist.

    Reply

    • Olgena
      Oct 02, 2021 @ 20:37:56

      Hello Alexis,
      I truly enjoyed reading your post! I think that one of the most important points that you highlighted in your discussion, is putting the treatment plan/ assessment strategy in perspective. As future clinicians, is crucial to be aware that different individuals typologies adopt differently with a specific treatment or assessment. I believe that a clinician must be fully prepared and knowledgeable toward the material presented to the client, prepared to explain an answer questions, direct the client, and closely predict the future outcome of the results. Also, great point where you imply the importance of a clinician ability to develop a professional and healthy relationship with his/her client in order to best explain to him/her the results in the most transparent, and understandable way. I couldn’t agree more with the term ” robotic” you used and the context you gave. I also think, that without the ability to professionally find common language with a client, and approaching them first with a humanistic point of view, would be truly difficult to create a beneficial environment, trust, and credibility with the client. Great post!

      Reply

    • Teresia
      Oct 02, 2021 @ 23:26:58

      Hi Alexis,
      Great post, I enjoyed reading it! I love how you mentioned that if a client does not receive the results properly it could lead them to not wanting to try therapy. This all goes back to “what” and “how” therapists deliver the results. As a therapist one thing you have to understand is that communication is a big part of treatment and if there is miscommunication it could lead the client to no longer trust you. I agree that when delivering the results it should not sound as if the therapist is reading from a manual. I think this would make the client feel disengaged and make it less likely that they ask questions.

      Reply

    • Pilar betts
      Oct 02, 2021 @ 23:39:30

      Hello Alexis,
      I thought it was super important that you mentioned the importance of having knowledge of how to explain and interpret the assessment that you are giving a client in case they have follow up questions. You should be able to explain results in multiple ways in case a client needs something explained further or in a different manner because everyone processes information differently. I agree that delivering results is a crucial time and can be a very sensitive time because it can make the difference of whether we or not the client feels comfortable returning to therapy or is off-put by it.

      Communicating results on a more tentative level I think was a very could point to mention as well. The client shouldn’t feel panicked by their results and going over the results with the client asking them what they think of them probably really helps with their processing of this information. The last thing wanted is for the assessment to be something that harms the client.

      Using a bunch of math and technical terms I agree is not the best route of delivery, I personally know if I was hearing the results from an assessment I would want it explained in a clear way because as it is it can already be a stressful scenario for a client. Practicing delivery is definitely needed because there are people who are doctors that are terrible at delivering news and our role should be to comfort not to make people uncomfortable.

      Reply

  18. Monika
    Sep 30, 2021 @ 15:42:22

    After reading the chapter and going through the lecture, I realized just how important communicating the results to clients is. If the results are not communicated effectively, clients or others may misperceive the assessment results leading to all sorts of misunderstandings. A very good example is given in the book, it’s very common to confuse the test scores based on percentile and percentages. The client in the example scored 50th percentile but got upset for not performing well. She had to be explained that her score was in fact in the average range but she misunderstood thinking she had only gotten 50% of the questions correct. Such confusion can have a deeper impact when the test taken is going to have a significant impact on the client’s life, like ADHD or depression.
    Another point that stuck with me was how communicating results should be treated as an interwoven part of counseling. And how it can be a great way of building rapport especially in the initial phase of counseling. Also, counselors need to be well aware of the instrument being used and the client’s specific results so that focus during interpretation of results can be on the client’s doubts and reactions rather than just on what the scores mean.
    From the research done on the communication of results, we know that people who got assessment feedback, especially married couples, gained more from feedback. Another point that stuck with me from the lecture was how communicating the results can help counselors develop multiple methods of delivering the results. I thought this is important because the way we deliver the results will totally depend on the client that we are dealing with currently. I believe understanding parental views, social and cultural impacts of certain disorders will help counselors deliver the results in a very empathetic way especially if the parents are in complete denial about a child’s condition. Lastly, while communicating the results, focusing on a child or person’s abilities rather than disabilities is also something to keep in mind.

    How you communicate the results is again equally important. If a counselor is using a lot of technical words like coefficients and standard deviation, the clients can get confused or worse not really understand the results. So, it’s important for counselors to convey the results in a simple and clear manner. And since interpreting assessment results is a part counseling process it’s important to create a comfortable environment for the clients so that they can ask questions about the results, clear their doubts, and don’t leave the session misinformed. While communicating the results, empathetic communication of test results to a patient is critical. Testing may be useless unless the resulting communication and counseling are effective. The goal is to ensure that the test information is appropriately enrolled in the care of the client.
    How you communicate the test results will determine how well the parents take the results and if they are focusing on the child’s abilities or disabilities. And lastly, a very important point that stuck with me was how you communicate the results and how the parents react during the session will determine if the child internalizes the parent’s guilt, anger, or that the child has done something wrong or bad. Hence, it’s important for the counselor to frame the family’s responses into a coping approach rather than a victim framework.

    Reply

  19. Teresia Maina
    Sep 30, 2021 @ 16:59:14

    For communicating results to clients (or parents) something that stuck out to me is that counselors should have multiple methods to explain results. This is important because everyone interprets information differently. What works for one person may not work for the next person. It is the counselor’s job to observe the client or parent to make sure that the results are being understood. In the book it was mentioned that counselors could use visuals to help explain the results as well as they could use descriptive terms instead of numerical scores. Another point that stood out to me was that counselors should anchorage clients to ask questions. This is important to gauge whether the client is understanding the information. To make sure the client is not leaving misinformed, the counselor can use incomplete sentences and have the client fill in the missing pieces.

    “What” and “how” you communicate mental health assessment results to the clients is very important. It is important to be clear on what the results are and aren’t saying. This leaves little room for the client to add their own interpretation. How a counselor communicates the results links to how the client reacts. This could lead to the client to have a positive or negative reaction. Overall it is important to shy away from clinical terminology and use simple clear words that the client can understand.

    Reply

    • Moises Chauca
      Oct 01, 2021 @ 14:28:45

      Hello Teresia,
      I like your points about communicating results. One point I enjoyed was the counselors should have many methods to explain results. I agree with you that this is really important. I like your example of what and how. It is really important to point out what the results are saying, are not saying, or if they take into consideration factors like culture, SES, etc. Lastly, I agree that counselors should be aware of the terminology they use when communicating results.

      Reply

    • Pilar Betts
      Oct 02, 2021 @ 23:50:21

      Hello Teresia,
      I 100% agree that having multiple means of delivery when communicating and going over results with a client. People interpret and process things differently just as people learn in different ways. I agree encouraging clients to ask questions is important, making them apart of every step of their process is super beneficial to their progression. Making sure they don’t leave confused or overly concerned because they thought something that was said was way worse than it actually is, making the client want to come back is important and scaring them away is not the goal. Also making it less of a “I talk at you and you listen” situation and more of a conversation is super helpful.
      With that being said I love that you said you don’t want the client to leave with their own interpretations rather than the correct information.

      Reply

  20. Pilar
    Sep 30, 2021 @ 23:43:55

    This chapter was interesting, I definitely look forward to being able to practice using assessments and interpreting them, this chapter was a helpful introduction to communicating assessments.
    I found it interesting that children prefer to hear assessment results from their parents rather than the counselor, this makes sense to me for younger kids because they probably feel more comfortable hearing the news from their parents because they can get immediate support, also their parents may know the best way to explain to their child what’s going on.
    There was an example used where the client was thinking by 50% the counselor meant 50% of their answers on the assessment were correct but once the counselor explained that they meant her scores were in the 50th percentile. The client then understood and felt much better about her scores. It is super important counselors clarify and explain assessments to their clients. It is like going to the hospital and being told your diagnosis in medical jargon, you have to explain in a relatable way. Especially considering that some assessments will require you to explain standard deviation, stanines and normal curves. Another point that I found really interesting was that individual interpretation is significantly more expensive than group interpretation, I’m not really sure what types of assessments would warrant group feedback. Something that I also found really important when it was mentioned that clients need to be involved in interpretation,because this way the client is active in every step of the process.

    It is really important that we know what to communicate and how we communicate assessment to clients in the mental health field because if assessment reveals and warrants a diagnosis that can be something that’s altering to their life and impact them socially and emotionally so you want to be sure of your diagnosis and make sure that whatever assessment you decide to use is definitely going to work for the client in particular and that it is an appropriate predictor. It is super important to communicate results in a certain manner when dealing with clients who are suicidal. In general you wouldn’t want to upset a client or make them feel judged. You want to discuss the assessments in a way that isn’t demeaning or making it seem like you’re talking down to them. I liked that they mentioned paying attention to the clients reaction to the results of the assessment, it reminds me of the importance of reading a clients nonverbal cues in session during the exploration stage.

    Reply

    • Jeremy
      Oct 01, 2021 @ 00:33:13

      Hey Pilar
      I am totally with you, I can not wait to dive in on using and interpreting assessments! I really liked your point on children hearing from their parents, WHile it makes me feel unconformable, I would like to at least be in the room and make sure it is handled properly, Getting parents to help in explaining and communicating to the child can be so helpful.
      Communication of results can not be understated. new diagnoses in patients is a stressful time in their life, with the stress is positive or negative can largely be impacted by how it It is communicated, if a diagnosis is properly communicated, it will be a therapeutic lense helping clients alleviate stress over a long term.

      Reply

    • Kristin Blair
      Oct 01, 2021 @ 10:21:39

      Hi Pilar,
      Great information in your post! I wasn’t too surprised that hearing results from a child’s parents is more preferred by the child. Sure, that’s not too surprising; that is where the child feels the most comfortable, not judged, most safe etc…. However, I would challenge and say that perhaps in some cases, depending on the child and the relationship they have with their parent, that hearing the results from said parent could carry less weight in terms of severity? You know those kids that never listen to their parents; they could say stop 47 times and the child doesn’t flinch! But the moment another adult or person of authority gives the directive, the child stops dead in their tracks?! Those kids haha. Those children may benefit from the clinician delivering the results?

      Kristin

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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