Topic 6: Using Assessment in Counseling {by 10/20}

Based on the text reading and lecture recording due this week consider the following two discussion points: (1) Assessment has a broader role beyond just determining diagnosis.  What are some ways assessments can help therapists understand how presenting problems are affecting clients?   (2) What is the difference between formative assessment and summative assessment?  What are the benefits of formative assessment?

 

*Remember to bring back the following assessments to class (from 10/6): (1) Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation (BSS), (2) Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), (3) Short Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (SMAST), and (4) Drug Abuse Screening Test – 10 (DAST-10).  Also bring your assessment review reflection questions.

 

(Prepare for Class [do not blog]) – You will notice the following assessments for this class: (1) Beck Depression Inventory – II (BDI-II), (2) Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire, (3) PHQ-9, and (4) Outcome Questionnaire (OQ-45.2).  Please review these assessments before class.  You do not have to complete these assessments before class, but you can if you want.  In class, we will complete these assessments and discuss them based on the Assessment Review Reflection Questions.

 

Your original post should be posted by 10/20.  Post your two replies no later than 10/22.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

77 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tiana Faulkner
    Oct 14, 2022 @ 14:22:20

    Assessments are obviously good at determining diagnoses, but they also can clarify the client’s level of functioning and how much they are being affected by their problems. Assessments, rather than just the judgement of the clinician, have a clear method that is much better at identifying and understanding client’s problems which can have an influence on the effectiveness of the treatment the clinician chooses to use. They also can clarify the client’s strengths and any cultural issues that need to be considered when diagnosing and choosing treatment options.

    Formative assessments are a continuous process, the type you give across multiple sessions throughout your time with a client. They are meant to examine the entire process. Summative assessments are more so used towards the end, as the final evaluation. For example, if a formative assessment is being used in a school setting, it will be measuring how a student is learning in a specific course across the whole semester. When a summative assessment is being used in this context, it is measuring how much a student has learned throughout the semester when the course has ended. Formative assessments are used most often in therapy. Because they are being used with a client multiple times throughout the course of therapy, they are giving the clinician a more up to date awareness of how the client is doing and where they are at with the problems they are attempting to work through. Also, they are giving the clinician the ability to modify interventions being used on a session-to-session basis which can, in the long run, improve the therapeutic relationship.

    Reply

    • Whitney Andrew
      Oct 16, 2022 @ 11:52:06

      Hi Tiana!

      I really like how you mentioned that assessments clarify the client’s strengths as we are usually more concerned about the weaknesses that are bringing them into counseling in the first place. I agree that assessments are able to provide clarity and also help the counselor come up for air and take a look outside of their own judgment.

      I basically said the same thing as you for formative and summative assessments as its a definition based response, but I didn’t even mention the improvement of the therapeutic relationship as a result because I was too focused on just the treatment plan! I definitely agree and will absolutely remember that because its true that modifying the interventions can improve the relationship by having the client feel heard and cared for.

      Reply

  2. Whitney Andrew
    Oct 14, 2022 @ 19:27:25

    When using assessments, the counselor is able to dive deeper into understanding the client and the reasons they may be seeking counseling. Assessments provide a structured analysis of presenting symptoms to set a standard rather than having the counselor diagnose with just their best judgement. All in all, assessments strengthen the overall intake of a client and act as an aide for diagnoses.

    A formative assessment is a continuous assessment, whereas a summative assessment is cumulative and results in a final intake with assessment. A formative assessment would be administered throughout the whole process with a client and would be gathering data over the entirety of the allotted period of time. On the other hand, a summative assessment would be presented at the end of the allotted time, kind of like a cumulative final exam for a class.
    A formative assessment provides the opportunity to continually chart progress of the client and allow the counselor to update their treatment plan throughout if they find certain aspects are not working well.

    Reply

    • Grace Ling
      Oct 18, 2022 @ 21:08:24

      Hi Whitney,
      Assessment as a tool to help with treatment can give us some more background information about the client. Sometimes assessment may even give us some insight to some causes of the client’s presenting problems. Because there are so many different potential explanations for a presenting problem, assessment can help narrow some of those explanations down.

      Reply

    • rena yaghmour
      Oct 19, 2022 @ 16:02:25

      Hi Whitney,
      I agree that assessments give helpers a better understanding of what may be going on with the client. I also think it is a great way to help come up with a treatment plan for the client that will provide them with the help they need and things to work on. This will also help track progress.

      Reply

    • Megan VanDyke
      Oct 22, 2022 @ 11:09:32

      Hey, Whitney! Assessment is an excellent tool for confirming a counselor’s hypothesis about a particular diagnosis, but it is also beneficial for understanding the client on a cognitive, behavioral, and emotional level. With this knowledge, the counselor can develop a treatment plan with the client that best assesses their goals and needs and can verify the effectiveness as the counseling relationship progresses.

      Reply

  3. Whitney Andrew
    Oct 14, 2022 @ 19:31:36

    Hi Tiana!

    I really like how you mentioned that assessments clarify the client’s strengths as we are usually more concerned about the weaknesses that are bringing them into counseling in the first place. I agree that assessments are able to provide clarity and also help the counselor come up for air and take a look outside of their own judgment.

    I basically said the same thing as you for formative and summative assessments as its a definition based response, but I didn’t even mention the improvement of the therapeutic relationship as a result because I was too focused on just the treatment plan! I definitely agree and will absolutely remember that because its true that modifying the interventions can improve the relationship by having the client feel heard and cared for.

    Reply

  4. Maria Nowak
    Oct 14, 2022 @ 20:01:02

    Assessments can help therapists understand how presenting problems are affecting clients by determining the clients level of functioning, identifying the clients strengths, and identify social factors that are contributing to the clients issues. This is significant because it will address what is causing the issues but also identify what good qualities the client has that will help them work through the issues they are having.
    A formative assessment is continuous or intermediate evaluation typically performed to evaluate the process. A summative assessment is more cumulative and focused on endpoint or final evaluation. A formative assessment would be continuous as the evaluation is administered whereas a summative assessment is used for evaluation of accountability. This is done at the end of the assessment. For example, a formative assessment could be used in a work setting by evaluating a person’s progress through their three month orientation. A summative assessment would be done at the end of the 3 month orientation.

    Reply

    • Alyson Langhorst
      Oct 16, 2022 @ 11:24:55

      Hi Maria!

      You bring up some really good points about how therapists can use assessments effectively. I agree that assessments can be helpful in identifying the client’s current level of functioning but I also think that you bring up a good point that assessments can also be helpful in determining client strengths. A lot of therapy is looking at what we can change and how to fix problems, but it’s also important to recognize qualities in clients such as resiliency and motivation. This can also help give therapists insight into the client’s ability to follow through with treatment and help determine if treatment will be effective. If a client is in the precontemplation stage (i.e. they aren’t really thinking about change, or they may be reluctant), the treatment plan may look different for them compared to a client who wants to change. I also really like the example you gave for the formative and summative assessments. I think it illustrates both concepts really well.

      Reply

    • Tiana Faulkner
      Oct 16, 2022 @ 12:38:40

      Hi Maria! I definitely agree with your response about the benefits of assessments. We tend to use assessments and only think about the weaknesses that are being assessed. It is a great thing to also be looking for the strengths as well as the other outside factors that may be affecting the client.
      As for your response to the next question, since it was really just definition based, we had similar responses. But I like how you included the example about using these tools in the work environment. It just goes to show how much more often these tools are being used in all types of settings, not just in counseling.

      Reply

  5. Jack Halliday
    Oct 15, 2022 @ 09:39:48

    Assessments provide clinical utility beyond just determining diagnosis. They can also be used as a tool to aid therapists’ understanding of how presenting problems affect clients. For example, there is evidence to support the idea that receiving feedback about client progress during therapy yields better client outcomes. There are many assessments out there that can be used to assess client’s degree of change. These assessments can also be used to measure trends in the client’s symptoms and their progress. They can also be used to detect possible treatment failures. Overall, using various types of assessments during counseling can lead to greater client outcomes, and can lead to the therapist having a deeper understanding of the client’s presenting issues and how they affect the client.
    Formative assessments are used as a continuous evaluation to examine the therapeutic process. Summative assessments are focuses on the product of counseling, this type of assessment is more cumulative than formative and is concerned with the endgame of counseling. Formative assessments, given their continuous nature, can be given throughout the counseling process. This allows the clinician to have regular updates on how the client is functioning and responding to the treatment, which allows the clinician to analyze the data received and then adjust their service accordingly.

    Reply

    • Abby Sproles
      Oct 17, 2022 @ 16:37:49

      Hi Jack, I appreciate your point on how client feedback can improve therapeutic outcomes. Using formative assessments throughout the course of treatment can motivate the client to continue working toward their goals. The client may not be able to recognize that they are improving, but the scores they receive on an assessment can demonstrate their improvement. I thought of how severely depressed individuals could benefit from these “checkpoints”, because improving scores can combat their hopelessness.

      Reply

    • Becca Boucher
      Oct 20, 2022 @ 15:50:19

      Hi Jack, I like your point about how there are many assessments that can be used to track client’s symptoms and progress. This is a really important thing to track during therapy because if the treatments are not lowering client symptoms, then the therapy is unsuccessful until changes are made. I can see how a client left unmonitored throughout therapy treatment could be at a disadvantage, as their therapist could have no idea if the treatment plan is working or not, and therefore provide unhelpful, or even harmful services. I wonder what the best rate is of how often clinicians should be assessing client symptoms to provide the best experience.

      Reply

  6. Becca Boucher
    Oct 15, 2022 @ 09:42:45

    Assessments can be used to monitor clients throughout treatment to determine whether the treatment is working or not. When clinicians receive feedback about client progress, those clients have better therapy outcomes that clients whose clinicians do not receive this feedback. Assessments are useful in determining a diagnosis, but they are also great instruments for measuring and monitoring symptom severity. For example, if you give your client the GAD-7 and PHQ-9 repeatedly throughout treatment, even if the client fits Generalized Anxiety Disorder diagnostic criteria, their answers to certain questions may change, showing an increase or decrease in symptom severity. The clinician can then see how their client’s anxiety is manifesting and in what areas they are struggling the most in order to aim treatment at the correct symptoms.
    Formative assessment is a continuous process of evaluation that looks at and evaluates the process of therapy. It occurs continuously or intermediately to determine if the therapeutic process is working or not. Summative assessment, on the other hand, does not evaluate the process of therapy, but the outcome. It looks at the results produced by the therapeutic process.

    Reply

    • Whitney Andrew
      Oct 16, 2022 @ 12:06:43

      Hi Becca!

      I really appreciate your word choice of monitor because that’s honestly the best way to describe the assessment use. It is such a good way to touch base and keep checking in. Assessments are definitely a way to initially diagnose, but also a way to continue to measure and I feel like that is always overlooked!
      The example you used was really great for an applied analysis of assessment and brings up a good point that questions can (and most likely will) change over time. I agree that even though only a few questions will change, it is helpful to look at these questions to see what the client is enduring and how to change the treatment plan to fit accordingly.

      Reply

    • rena yaghmour
      Oct 19, 2022 @ 22:21:06

      Hi Becca,

      I liked how you used GAD-7 and PHQ-9 for an example. I think that it makes the idea more clear and in way sets the tone for how important assessments really are and gives us a deeper look into how the client is feeling in different areas. It is so important for the clients to also receive the treatment that they need and I feel like without assessments their words may not relay how serious their struggles may be.

      Reply

  7. Ashley Millett
    Oct 15, 2022 @ 18:32:34

    Assessments can help therapists determine what is going on with the client. If the client is showing symptoms of a disorder, an assessment can help the therapist understand if they have it or not. It can dive deeper to a possible diagnosis rather than making an assumption. Assessments also help measure a change in the client’s behavior and lifestyle. Different assessments can show the progression of change throughout a client. It may also pinpoint at what moment a client’s behavior may suddenly change. If this is in a school setting, multiple assessments can be used for different groups such as students, teachers, and parents. A counselor then would not have to rely on the client; who is a student. They can rely on different people’s perspectives of the client to see what the presenting problem is.

    A formative assessment is a continuous process to examine the client overall. Rather than stopping immediately after taking the assessment, formative allows us to see the client’s progress overall. A summative assessment focuses more on the end. Rather than being continuous like formative, summative is looking at the final evaluation of the client. A benefit of formative assessment is that you are able to see the client’s progress throughout the sessions. Formative assessments are taking “baby steps” throughout the sessions. You as the counselor are able to slowly see the client’s growth or decline. A formative assessment can also see how the client is during counseling. The counselor can see what works and what does not work for the client.

    Reply

    • Alyson Langhorst
      Oct 16, 2022 @ 11:39:17

      Hi Ashley!

      You bring up a really good point about how assessments can be beneficial during therapy. If a therapist is using assessments throughout the treatment plan to keep progress of client’s symptoms, then it can be helpful if there’s a sudden change in the client’s affect or behavior for example. Especially if a therapist uses multiple assessments that cover different aspects of the client, then they can understand the cause of the change more concretely. I also really like how you referred to formative assessment as baby steps. It alludes to the idea that treatment/therapy can change. It also recognizes that sometimes therapy can be two steps forward and one step back- in that, some sessions could be more beneficial whereas others may not be. If we take time to consistently keep track of progress, then we can adapt the treatment plan to make it more effective and helpful for the client.

      Reply

    • Tiana Faulkner
      Oct 16, 2022 @ 12:53:55

      Hi Ashley! I like how you not only included what an assessment can tell us about the client but also what it weeds out. Assessments are able to help clinicians narrow down diagnoses and tell us what needs to be considered and what does not. I also like how you included the progression of the client’s behaviors and feelings. We normally just tend to look at the weaknesses and strengths that the assessment provides.

      As for the next response, since it is just definitions our responses are similar, so I agree with your response. Formative assessments are super important for exactly the reasons you listed. The clinician is able to see the client’s growth as well as their decline and figure out what has been working or not working. Which as I had included in my response can benefit the therapeutic relationship because the client may feel seen, heard, and understood.

      Reply

    • Becca Boucher
      Oct 20, 2022 @ 15:55:24

      Hi Ashley! I really love your point about how assessments can help to measure changes in clients’ behaviors and lifestyle. This is really important, because often behaviors or lifestyle changes can be important signals to therapists about how the client is doing. Some clients may be not fully truthful when discussing things with their therapist, and more likely to be honest on an assessment. Also, some clients may not even realize they are starting a behavior or ending a behavior, but with an assessment it can be made more aware of them, and therefore make the therapist aware of them too. Additionally, if a therapist is asking about risky behaviors, the client may not deem certain things as risky and therefore not share that info, but if given an assessment, they can have a better understanding of behaviors they should be reporting.

      Reply

  8. Alyson Langhorst
    Oct 16, 2022 @ 11:08:54

    Assessments can also be helpful in determining whether or not the treatment plan is working. If the therapist distributes an assessment at the start of treatment as well as during treatment, the therapist would be able to see (hopefully) a change in the client’s symptoms. Similarly, if symptoms aren’t getting better than it could open a discussion with the client about what they feel is and is not working. Another way that assessment can help therapists understand client’s presenting problems is by looking at problems more thoroughly. Using multiple assessments that focus on cognition, behavior, intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships, and social roles, may help clinicians understand their clients’ problems more completely. Using different assessments can also be useful in determining severity of symptoms and it could also give the therapist insight on what areas to focus on. Additionally, looking at these aspects through different perspectives (the book suggests the client, an observer, as well as the clinician) may help in getting a better understanding of the clients problems and how they might be affecting them. An observer or the clinician may pick up on problems that the client may not recognize, as well as vice versa.

    Formative assessment refers to evaluation assessments that are given continuously during treatment. Summative assessment refers to the final/overall evaluation of treatment. The difference between these two assessments are when they are distributed and how they are used. Formative assessments are distributed during sessions to keep track of progress and symptom severity whereas summative assessments are only given at the end of counseling to look at the overall progress of the client. Formative assessments can be beneficial as they allow the therapist to pivot and change the treatment plan if it’s not working. The therapist can also use formative assessments as a way to ask the client about what they feel may or may not be working, which can help build rapport.

    Reply

    • Emily Forde
      Oct 18, 2022 @ 09:44:53

      Hi Alyson, I really agree with your point regarding assessments and progress opening the door to ask questions to the client about what is not working. Do you think it would be also beneficial to ask questions to the client about what is working when progress is growing?
      In my response, I also talked about how assessments can tell the therapist what areas are most severely impacted and which areas to focus on. I like how you mentioned using multiple assessments to do this, as it would be a way to confirm areas of struggle if they were consistent in multiple assessments.

      Reply

  9. Abby Sproles
    Oct 16, 2022 @ 17:52:35

    Assessments can be used during the intake and initial counseling sessions in order to determine treatment goals and plans based on the client’s characteristics, as well as the complexity and severity of the presenting issues. Assessments can also be incorporated throughout treatment to monitor the progress of the client. Outcome assessments can determine if the client’s presenting issues are improving and inform the therapist what changes to the treatment plan need to be made. In addition, positive results from these assessments can encourage and motivate the client to continue engaging in the therapeutic process.

    Formative and summative assessments are two types of client evaluations that are employed during the counseling process. Formative evaluation is used continuously throughout the course of treatment in order to examine the overall process. This type of evaluation is the most beneficial for therapists because it can provide insight on treatment effectiveness in which the therapist can adjust the treatment plan to best suit the client. This evaluation is also beneficial for clients because it can encourage clients to continue engaging in the counseling process in order to reach treatment goals. Summative assessments are a cumulative evaluation of the treatment outcome. Rather than assessing progress throughout the course of treatment, these evaluations only consider the ‘final product’.

    Reply

    • mikayladebois
      Oct 18, 2022 @ 10:13:32

      Hi Abby, I really like your comment about the client being able to use the formative assessments as well. I think we often rely on progress updates in a lot of different areas (midterm grades, halftime scores) and I hadn’t really considered the results being something to motivate the client or keep them on track.

      Reply

    • Megan VanDyke
      Oct 22, 2022 @ 10:54:22

      Hey, Abby! I like how you noted that positive results effect the client’s mentality toward therapy. Although it may be discouraging to receive test results that show no improvement or the opposite effect, it’s good to emphasize to the client that change is not linear. “Bad” results can still be “good” because they show what is not working and can help lead the client and counselor toward something more practical, which is why formative evaluation is vital to the counseling process.

      Reply

  10. mikayladebois
    Oct 17, 2022 @ 16:10:59

    Assessments can be used in a variety of ways within counseling, but one of the most important ways is progress tracking. If a client is having a specific issue that they are facing week after week and the client then tracks their level of depression or anxiety, the client and the clinician can see how that particular issue is impacting the client. It might also be the case that the client doesn’t know or can’t find the words as to what their problem is. They might not have the vocabulary to express what is going on, but assessments will mostly provide the language for the individual, they will just have to answer the questions. This might be especially helpful for younger clients or people who haven’t had a lot of experience examining their emotions and thoughts.
    Formative assessments look specifically at the process of therapy and progress while the individual is still undergoing treatment. Summative assessments look at the final outcome or bigger-picture improvements made. Formative evaluations can be especially helpful because they will track the smaller changes that a client may go through. If a certain tactic was used and the clinician wants to know whether it was effective in the short term, an assessment can be given that directly focuses on the things that the new tactic was supposed to be addressing. This also means that clinicians can adjust their approaches according to what works best for the clients and not only rely on what the clients say.

    Reply

    • Emily Forde
      Oct 18, 2022 @ 09:49:21

      Hi Mikayla, I really liked that you mentioned that assessments have the ability to give a client the language to describe what they are going through. This is very true and will help the therapist better interpret what is going on so they are able to help them more.
      I find it effective that formative assessments check progress throughout therapy, as it allows for clinicians to adjust their approaches as you said. Do you feel the “bigger picture”, in reference to summative assessments, can be lost if smaller, more frequent formative assessments are consistently done throughout therapy?

      Reply

    • Abby Sproles
      Oct 18, 2022 @ 12:19:42

      Hi Mikayla, I like your point on how formative assessments can identify progress following the use of a specific tactic. I immediately thought about exposure therapy with individuals with specific phobias or panic disorder. You may want to administer formative assessments throughout the counseling process to determine if the client’s learned fear toward a specific item or situation is decreasing with each exposure. Additionally, positive results can provide evidence to clients that their panic attacks are not health related (“I am dying”) but rather triggered by their own thoughts.

      Reply

  11. Wendy Fernandes
    Oct 17, 2022 @ 20:20:06

    While assessments are useful in helping to determine diagnosis, they are also necessary for clinicians to understand the frequency, severity, and duration of the clients’ issues. When speaking with a client the problems may not seem as serious, but the assessment may indicate that the problems are more critical than originally thought. When used with other information available to the counselor (such as psychological reports, background information, material brought up in session, etc.), assessments can help form the basis of treatment. Assessments are also beneficial when used as an on-going part of treatment to help confirm if the client is showing improvement or if there are other areas that need to progress.

    There are two types of evaluations that are used when monitoring treatment progress. A formative evaluation is one where assessments are used frequently or continuously throughout treatment to observe the progress of the client. With a summative evaluation the assessments may only be completed at the beginning and at the end of treatment. Generally, the formative assessments are favourable because then the counselor can see the improvements that have been made (if any) and work on areas that require attention.

    Reply

    • mikayladebois
      Oct 18, 2022 @ 10:20:22

      Hi Wendy, I really like your notion about the use of assessments to get the full picture of a client. What the client reports will likely be colored by their own interpretations of the problems, but assessments can standardize the issues and make them more understandable.

      Reply

    • Chandal Powell
      Oct 22, 2022 @ 19:48:46

      Hi Wendy,
      I agree with you about the usefulness of assessments in getting the full picture of a client. There really are many variables to consider outside of the presenting problems a client may be facing that could contribute to how a clinician develops a treatment plan. Additionally using these assessments continually will ensure treatment is geared towards meeting that clients specific goal(s) and not a one size fits all.

      Reply

  12. Grace Ling
    Oct 18, 2022 @ 03:29:00

    Assessment allows for a better understanding of client symptomatology and points out some of the reasons behind the client’s presenting problems such as cultural considerations, severity of presenting problems, and potential course of disorder. Integrating assessment throughout the course of therapy can also point out what treatment may or may not work. Therapy is a collaborative process so having the client take multiple assessments provides evidence of their progress or if there is a need for adjustment. The goal is not necessarily to cure the client but to help them manage their symptoms and improve quality of life.

    Formative assessments are evaluations that are administered multiple times during the therapeutic process and summative assessments are administered at the end of the therapeutic process. The difference between them is the focus. Formative assessment is focused on the process, whereas summative assessments are focused on the end goal. A benefit of formative assessment is having a continuously updated look into the client’s progress and whether there is a need to modify treatment.

    Reply

    • Stephanie Lugo
      Oct 19, 2022 @ 23:14:35

      Hi Grace,

      You make a great point about the importance of assessments and their ability to help clinicians better understand and assess the symptomatology of the client’s presenting problems. Having the assessment data recorded throughout the entire therapeutic process will better explain the client’s symptoms and more importantly the severity of them. Knowing the severity of the symptoms and how the symptoms may change as their therapeutic process goes on will come in handy when it’s time to diagnose and treat the client.

      I like how you mentioned that therapy is a collaborative process. This is such a true statement. Depending on the situation the therapeutic process can be very long and even drawn out sometimes. As a clinician, you need to be able to build rapport with the client and learn as much as you can about them. Many clients may not be so open to discussing their problems. This can cause a lot of stalls in the therapeutic process. In my opinion, this is where the assessments have a huge benefit. Being able to administer different assessments to the client is a great way to attempt to understand their situation and any problems they may be struggling with. Using the assessments as a way to better understand the client throughout the first few sessions can be beneficial while you are building that rapport with them.

      Great post!

      Reply

  13. Megan VanDyke
    Oct 18, 2022 @ 08:41:57

    While diagnosis is a crucial aspect of assessment, assessment has a variety of other responsibilities. Assessments provide the clinician feedback about the treatment’s effectiveness based on how the client responds. One example is the OQ-Analyst, which uses a 45-item assessment with multiple algorithms sensitive to client responses. Clinicians immediately receive feedback when the assessment is completed and can readminister the evaluation throughout the treatment process to continue monitoring effectiveness.

    Formative assessment continuously evaluates the treatment process, whereas summative assessment focuses on where the treatment process ends. Similar to the structure of the OQ-Analyst, formative assessment is designed to monitor and tweak the treatment process as it progresses, which can benefit the client’s overall improvement. Without formative assessment, clinicians would solely focus on summative assessment, which does not track the success or shortcomings of the treatment plan. For example, if a clinician does not monitor their treatment plan and the status of their client, a treatment option that is more harmful than beneficial can deteriorate the client even further.

    Reply

    • Melissa Elder
      Oct 20, 2022 @ 14:26:42

      Hey Megan,
      Assessments do have a variety of responsibilities. Assessments don’t only provide feedback on the treatments effectiveness, it first provides the therapist with what kind of treatment is needed for the particular client. Then allowing to track the process through every assessment that is given.
      I agree with your descriptions of formative and summative assessments. It is great that you pointed out that if the therapist does not monitor the client throughout the treatment plan, it can be more harmful due to the unknown status of the clients progress.

      Reply

    • Chandal Powell
      Oct 22, 2022 @ 20:02:38

      Hi Megan,
      Assessments do have a variety of responsibilities. I agree they provide feedback on the treatments effectiveness, as well as a holistic understanding of who a client is. It allows the therapist to also explore a clients strengths, functioning levels and the severest of their presenting problems.
      I like that you point out that without formative assessment clinicians would not be able to track the success or shortcomings of a treatment plan. With the ultimate goal being providing the best outcome for the client, being able to identify what is going well and where improvements are needed is integral.

      Reply

    • Vic White
      Oct 23, 2022 @ 08:00:23

      Hi Megan,

      The use of your example of the OQ-analayst definitely demonstrates how monitoring effectiveness is useful, especially with a test that you can produce a result and allow feedback immediately.
      I like how you mentioned that summative assessment doesn’t track the success of the treatment plan. And we would have to wait until the end to find out whether its been useful to the client, but luckily the use of formative allows it to be an ongoing process of changing things that aren’t working well. I like how you highlighted how damaging the wrong treatment plan can be, especially in the long run for a client!

      Reply

  14. Emily Forde
    Oct 18, 2022 @ 09:38:13

    Assessments can be used beyond the diagnostic process to determine the severity of the individual’s disorder and how it is affecting their daily life. Assessments demonstrate severity through scores, which the therapist can then interpret. Assessments can also be helpful in showing the therapist which area of the diagnostic criteria the client may be struggling most in. For example, if the scores are significantly higher when asking about feeling restless than they are for sleep problems, the therapist can gain a better understanding of how they are feeling and how the client’s mental health disorder is presenting.
    Formative assessments are continuous evaluations that occur throughout the entire therapeutic relationship. Summative assessments are evaluations that occur at the final point and are more cumulative. A formative assessment allows for both the therapist and the client to see progress and how the individual is reacting to therapy. If progress is not shown, it allows for the therapist to adjust the treatment plan and check in with the client on how they are doing and to discuss their progress. Summative assessments can be very beneficial to both the therapist and client if substantial progress is seen, it can show that something is working.

    Reply

    • Brenna Stewart
      Oct 19, 2022 @ 21:13:52

      Hi Emily,

      You make a good point regarding formative assessment and your example of times where progress isn’t being shown, or essentially if there’s a point in the therapeutic process or relationship that appears at a stand-still, an assessment could be a great tool to initiate a “check in” and see if there are any contributing factors to the lack of progress, and hopefully allow the therapist and client to adjust the treatment plan if needed.

      Reply

    • Gitte Lenaerts
      Oct 22, 2022 @ 13:41:54

      Hi Emily, I like you how explained that assessments demonstrate severity through scores, which therapists can interpret. This is crucial when reviewing assessments, rather than just looking to see if they are meeting the criteria for a diagnosis. Being able to interpret what scores mean to a client allows for a better treatment process that is more individualized to the client. You gave a good example of restlessness vs sleep problems. It is important to communicate effectively with a client about their concerns and feelings. Great post!

      Reply

  15. Esther Konadu
    Oct 18, 2022 @ 14:29:50

    Assessments can help therapists understand the bigger picture of their clients’ lives. Yes, assessments help to address an issue the client might have, but it is really about how that issue affects other areas of their life. Knowing the magnitude and outreach of the issue’s impact gives therapists a better picture of what areas of their life (social, work, familial, etc.) are affected. And sometimes, the people in those circles might notice things about the client long before they do.

    Formative assessments are like check-ins; they are done during different sessions and help show the client’s progress, like a review of what has happened throughout sessions. Formative assessments let the client and the therapist know what is going on and give a necessary baseline. Without it, a therapist would not have something to start from for sessions. It also lets a therapist know how to shape the sessions too. If a therapist is working with a client for anxiety, knowing what parts of the session the client responds better to can improve their outlook and the client’s receptiveness. On the other hand, summative assessments are like exit tickets, the survey you get to say you completed an appointment (in this case, therapy).

    Reply

    • Grace Ling
      Oct 18, 2022 @ 21:18:25

      Hi Esther,
      It is important to see how the severity of presenting problems affect different aspects of a client’s life. Assessment can highlight clients’ current quality of life and we can see how it improves throughout the course of therapy with formative assessments. We can then provide clients with tools to improve those aspects of their life.

      Reply

    • Jack Halliday
      Oct 20, 2022 @ 15:49:27

      Hi Esther, I really enjoyed your point about how assessments can give us insight into other aspects of the client’s life, they really are a useful tool in so many ways. I also found it interesting how you viewed formative assessments as a jumping off point for sessions, it’s not something that I had thought of. It makes a lot of sense though, a formative assessment is a great jumping off point and they can also help the therapist understand what techniques are and aren’t working.

      Reply

    • Maria Nowak
      Oct 22, 2022 @ 17:11:29

      Hi Esther!
      I like how you brought up that it’s important to know how a client’s issues are affecting other areas of their life such as occupation and social aspects. These areas of a person’s life can both help and be negative on a client’s mental health. It is important to identify if these aspects are a part of what is causing the clients mental health to go downhill. I also agree with the examples you gave for formative and summative assessments. It is important to track a client’s progress throughout the therapy sessions but also to have an assessment at the end to see the overall progress of a client’s time in therapy.

      Reply

  16. Lucy Rising
    Oct 19, 2022 @ 09:07:58

    In addition to aiding in and validating a diagnosis for a client, using assessments regularly helps measure the degree to which individuals are afflicted by their issues. If two different clients were to tell me that they “feel bad” about the same thing both of them could have vastly different understandings for what it means to “feel bad.” What assessments do is provide a relatively objective score for measuring those feelings they are having. For example, “feeling bad” for one of them could be a 8 on a distress scale and a 5 for the other, where the first individual is underplaying (or I am underestimating) their level of distress because of the verbage they use. The assessment score helps diminish this ambiguity of language and shows me a more accurate reading of the severity of their distress.
    Because of this, we would want to evaluate our clients formitavly as opposed to summitavly. In summative evaluation you provide the client with an assessment at the beginning and end of treatment in order to get a summary of their treatment outcome. Whereas in formative evaluation you would routinely give the same assessment throughout the treatment course in order to continuously measure the process of treatment. This type of evaluation is obviously better because it allows for real time updates on the effectiveness of your treatment on the client’s mood and severity. This allows for changes and updates to be made during treatment based on how effective or not the current course of treatment is showing to be in the results of the assessments.

    Reply

    • Brenna Stewart
      Oct 19, 2022 @ 21:04:12

      Hi Lucy!

      You bring up a great point about how assessment scores help to diminish any ambiguity regarding severity, and your example of having two clients who define “feeling bad” as very different degrees is on point as to why assessment is important for many aspects of the therapeutic process. This was a really helpful perspective to read – thanks for sharing!

      Reply

    • Maria Nowak
      Oct 22, 2022 @ 17:50:34

      Hi Lucy!
      I really like the example you used on how “feeling bad” looks different for everyone and that it can be portrayed on different severity levels. An assessment would definitely give the therapists better understanding of how bad a client is feeling and what they are feeling bad about. It can also help identify other areas of their life that are affecting a client’s mental health. This can be anything from occupation to their social life in general.

      Reply

  17. Melissa Elder
    Oct 19, 2022 @ 11:40:23

    Assessments can help therapist understand how presenting problems affect their clients because assessments are used as the foundation for identifying underlying issues, planning treatment, evaluating or diagnosing clients, tracking treatment process and informing the client. There are many different types of assessments which all measure different things such as Outcome assessments which help detect improvement which then helps the therapist determine what to do next in the treatment plan. Assessments give therapists a clear starting point and if used throughout the therapy process can continue to help guide the therapist in what still needs to be addressed, what’s improved or maybe even what has regressed, etc.
    Formative and summative assessment are two different types of clinical evaluations which are used during the therapy process. Formative assessments are used continuously throughout the therapy process in order to be able to closely monitor progress within the client. However, Summative assessments are generally only given at the start and end of the therapy process, which can lead the treatment process to go sour as the therapist is unaware of any potential progress being made. Not utilizing assessments within every or every other appointment can lead to a messy process. The benefits of formative assessment is that the therapist is never left questioning where the client is at in their treatment. Formative allows the therapist to slowly watch the progress and allow them to change the treatment plan as needed to best suit the clients current needs.

    Reply

    • Stephanie Lugo
      Oct 19, 2022 @ 17:31:59

      Hi Melissa,

      I think you make a great point about the importance of using multiple different types of assessments. To get a clear understanding of a client and their daily functioning it’s important to use different types of assessments. Every assessment is different in how they measure, what they measure, and how they are administered. Having multiple options when it comes to assessments can allow a clinician to better understand the client and their presenting problems. Overall using multiple assessments can lead to a better and more accurate diagnosis. Having a solid and accurate diagnosis will allow the clinician to better treat the client and any potential diagnosis.

      Also, I totally agree with you that summative assessments are not very beneficial when it comes to building rapport with the client and can cause many issues when it comes time to diagnose a client with any potential disorder. I truly believe that to get an adequate reading of the client and their presenting problems formative assessments are the way to go. As they are able to continuously track the client and their progress throughout treatment.

      Great Post!

      Reply

  18. rena yaghmour
    Oct 19, 2022 @ 11:46:52

    Assessments allow the helper to understand the severity of the diagnosis and how bad the client is being affected by it. Assessments also provide more information to the helper allowing them to create a treatment plan that is designed to effectively help their specific struggles. It not only gives the helper more insight but the client as well. it allows them to find the motivation they may have lost and gives them and the helper the opportunity to track the clients progress and fix what isn’t working and celebrate the improvements.

    Formative assessment is a continuous evaluation that examines progress throughout treatment whereas summative assessment is more cumulative and concerns an endpoint or formal evaluation. While formative assessment focuses on progress, summative assessment focuses on the product. Formative assessment is most beneficial as it allows the helpers to track progress and gives them an idea of where the client stands and what needs to be changed/worked on more.

    Reply

    • Melissa Elder
      Oct 20, 2022 @ 13:45:43

      Hi Rena,
      I really like that you point out how assessments are not only helpful to the helper but also to the client. Although I am unsure an assessment would necessarily give the client motivation, it may give them a more at ease feeling as they would finally have a diagnosis for what they have been going through. However, the motivation would most likely return throughout the treatment process. Assessments provide an overall better understanding for both the helper and client in which will help form the best treatment plan for the client.
      I also I agree that formative assessments are important as they allow the helper to track their clients progress and what needs to change within the treatment process in order to continue seeing improvements in the client.

      Reply

    • taylor poland
      Oct 20, 2022 @ 22:43:02

      Hi Rena,
      I like how you point out how the assessments are helpful for the clients and clinicians. It is a good feeling to see your own improvements and progress but I never thought to apply this idea to a counseling session. On the other hand, it is helpful to bring awareness to areas you are struggling in. By doing so, you are better able to find new strategies to improve that area of your life.

      Reply

  19. Gitte Lenaerts
    Oct 19, 2022 @ 12:35:04

    Though using assessments to diagnose is useful, there is more to assessments that help therapists understand presenting problems of clients. Assessments allow the therapist to understand the degree of the problem that is affecting the client. For example, the DAST-10 is used to determine a substance use problem and allows one to measure the different degrees of problems related to drug abuse. Someone may be engaging in substance use but it may not be interfering with their daily life. Or someone is engaging in substance use and it is interfering with their daily life. Using assessments allows the therapist to see where clients fall and see how problematic the issue is. With that assessment also review the symptoms of a client. This can also help the therapist see the client’s strengths. Therapists should not only look at their symptoms and base treatment solely on that. Reviewing strengths allows the therapist to better plan treatment and shows an overall view of the client.

    Formative assessment is focused throughout treatment whereas summative is focused on the endpoint of treatment. Summative assessments main focus is getting an overall evaluation of the client. The benefit of formative assessments allows to track the treatment process more than summative assessments. Though summative assessments are typically done at the end of treatment and allow the therapist to see how their treatment went, it does not evaluate the whole treatment process. Formative assessments can measure where a client is during treatment and see where the client is struggling and where their strengths are at a given time. This gives therapists a better understanding and allows them to change the treatment process as needed.

    Reply

    • Magdalen Paul
      Oct 20, 2022 @ 14:01:45

      Hi Gitte! I really like your point that assessments can help indicate a degree to which problems exist. While assessments can help contribute to the conceptualization of a specific diagnosis, it also gives the clinician an understanding of the degree to which issues exist for a client even if no diagnosis is concluded. As you mentioned, certain assessments can inform a clinician that a client may not meet criteria for a substance use disorder or other disorder. But at the same time, it can provide useful information around the relationship of substance use and the client’s life. From here, the clinician is better able to assist the client in his or her use of substances with the knowledge that it is not necessarily substance use disorder, but still relevant to the client’s life. Therefore, when an assessment is administered, whether or not that assessment provides more conclusive evidence for/against a diagnosis is not the only takeaway. All information gathered through the process of assessment can be used to influence further treatment.

      Reply

    • Vic White
      Oct 23, 2022 @ 07:54:31

      Hi Gitte,

      I really liked how you used an example to explain how the therapist can understand the degree of the problem. I agree with looking at the clients strengths too. I think it is an important focus to keep clients engaged and motivated in their journey.

      I think that formative assessments definitely have a lot of benefits to them the main one being, as you mentioned, that therapists can change the treatment process if something doesn’t seem to be working well!

      Reply

  20. Stephanie Lugo
    Oct 19, 2022 @ 16:09:38

    Assessments are a huge part of counseling and they can help the clinician’s better understand the problems a client is dealing with on a daily basis. Using assessments can allow a clinician to better understand the client’s level of functioning and how they react to the problems they are facing in their lives. Assessments are extremely important when it comes to diagnosing different mental illnesses because they have a set method for measuring. Assessments don’t just leave the judgment up to the clinician. Using assessments over the clinician’s judgment allows more effectiveness in diagnosing and in turn more effectiveness in the treatment of certain disorders. Assessments also have the benefit of being able to show the client’s strengths, but also show any social factors that could impact the client’s future treatment. Using different types of assessments allows the clinician to have different perspectives when it comes to assessing the client and their presented problems. Overall assessments are extremely important as it helps to have a better overall view of the client and any problems they may be dealing with.

    A formative assessment is considered a continuous assessment, they are used to evaluate the entire therapeutic process. While summative assessment is considered a cumulative assessment, this type of assessment is more focused on just evaluating the end of the therapeutic process. Formative assessments and Summative assessments are completely different in how they measure, when they are distributed, and how they are used. Formative assessments are used throughout every session with the client. This type of assessment allows the clinician to better track the sessions and the overall progress that the client is making. It also allows the clinician to track the client’s symptoms and the severity of those symptoms. Formative assessments have the biggest benefit when it comes to counseling because it allows the clinician to use the data collected throughout multiple sessions. Having this integral data allows the clinician to better form a specific treatment plan for that client.

    Reply

    • Wendy Fernandes
      Oct 20, 2022 @ 11:52:31

      Hi Stephanie,
      I agree with you that assessments are important in counselling and in helping the clinician better understand the issues the client is facing. I also feel that the clinician’s evaluation must include the other aspects of the counselling data such as the client’s background, social/environmental issues, events brought up in therapy, psych reports, etc., in their evaluations. While assessments do have value in determining severity and longevity, I think they should be taken in context with everything else clinician’s usually needs to know to help.

      Reply

    • Ashley Millett
      Oct 21, 2022 @ 15:02:56

      Hi Stephanie,

      I agree that assessments can help us better understand the client’s level of functioning. Sometimes I feel that as future helpers, our main focus is to figure out the problem/disorder and then go straight into treatment. However, assessments allow us to see how the client is doing on a daily basis. The results can change in a week, a month, a year and so on. Assessments are not used for one specific issue. They can be used for a wide range of issues in a broad sense. I also agree that assessments can be used to see a client’s strengths. Assessments should be able to see both the client’s strengths and weaknesses. Though sometimes we mainly use them to see the weaknesses, we can also see what they excel in. This could boost the client’s confidence if they see their strengths being used in sessions.

      Reply

  21. Brenna Stewart
    Oct 19, 2022 @ 20:54:08

    In addition to determining diagnosis, assessment can provide information on the degree to which symptoms are affecting the clients’ daily life (i.e., severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms – some assessments can provide information based on environmental or social aspects of client’s life, but more commonly this would be a verbal conversation between therapist and client as not every assessment evaluates this). Assessment can also shed light on other possible contributing factors (i.e., cultural issues, status of relationships) and even highlight client strengths. These can all directly affect how the therapist tailors treatment moving forward. Every additional element of information is helpful in regards to the therapist making a therapeutic judgment call in regards to prognosis (i.e., based on the presenting problems and information surrounding them, how will treatment be tailored to this individual and what outcomes can we predict?)

    Formative assessment refers to continuous assessment throughout the therapeutic process as opposed to summative assessment, which tends to be more cumulative in nature, and more endpoint-focused (i.e., a final evaluation before client discharges from services). Therapists are encouraged (in many practice settings, required) to practice formative assessment to document progress and effectiveness of the therapy. This makes sense as formative assessment can be a really useful tool in keeping the therapist and client accountable in reaching a positive therapeutic outcome. A benefit of formative assessment is that it could help the client stay engaged in the process and motivated as they concretely see changes and/or progress. Another benefit and/or reason why formative assessment is so important is because it could help the therapist keep a consistent and accurate read on where the client is at symptom-wise.

    Reply

    • Wendy Fernandes
      Oct 20, 2022 @ 12:18:02

      Hi Brenna,
      I like how you mentioned that each piece of information that comes to light about a client is helping the therapist create a tailored treatment plan for their client and that assessments are one area of that plan. The wording of your post made me wonder about cases where the assessments don’t match the other information the therapist is receiving from the client. For example, if the client doesn’t show signs of suicidal ideation but the assessment indicates that the client is more suicidal than I originally thought, I would be happy the assessment brought this to my attention. However, if the assessment didn’t indicate suicidal thoughts but the client has mentioned suicide as a definite possibility, I would have to take the client’s words as serious no matter what the assessment said. That said, it’s important to have as much contextual information as possible to make the best possible treatment plan.

      Reply

    • Jack Halliday
      Oct 20, 2022 @ 15:53:09

      Hi Brenna, the idea that assessments are a part of a system that can shed light on possible contributing factors and then in turn assist the therapist in tailoring treatment is a really good way of thinking about them. It is also a great point that formative assessments can ensure that both people in therapy feel accountable for the progress, and they can help increase client engagement.

      Reply

  22. Ariannah Zagabe
    Oct 20, 2022 @ 01:33:00

    An example of ways assessments can help therapists understand how presenting problems are affecting clients is that assessments can assist therapists with identifying areas that a client is having difficulty or needs to work on, as well as their strengths. Monitoring the development of your client is another way that assessments are helpful (if the therapy is assisting the client in resolving their current issues or if another strategy needs to be taken).

    A formative assessment and a summative assessment are different in that a formative assessment is used regularly to track the client’s progress consistently, whereas a summative assessment is either completed at the start of therapy treatment or at the end. Formative evaluations are more beneficial because they continuously track clients’ development in detail, which can be utilized to assess whether or not a treatment is working.

    Reply

    • Magdalen Paul
      Oct 20, 2022 @ 13:08:51

      Hey Ariannah! I really like how you made the point that assessments can help identify client strengths, not just what they need to work on. I think it’s important that, as future clinicians, we take a strengths-based approach with clients and the entire therapeutic process. I think that having a balance between knowing what concerns should be addressed, and knowing what positive factors already exist, is crucial to client change. Reminding a client of their strengths and what is working seems necessary to instill motivation. Personally, from a client’s perspective, I would want to know the ways that I am effectively handling life, to feel more inspired to create additional positive change. Therefore, as you stated, I agree that assessment can play an integral role in motivating and inspiring clients through pointing out the good that already exists.

      Reply

  23. Magdalen Paul
    Oct 20, 2022 @ 09:47:50

    Assessment is just one of many tools to conceptualize a diagnosis. Assessments simply inform the diagnosis, along with additional information gathered through conversation, social and environmental factors, as well as cultural considerations. The conversations that occur around assessment can help a therapist understand what influence the presenting problems have on the client’s social lives, for example. Expression of concern around relationships in the home, at work, and with friends, can help the therapist gain a better understanding of the degree to which presenting problems are affecting a client. Before selecting and administering an assessment, and thus in the process of determining what assessment is of best fit, the therapist can learn through development of the therapeutic relationship many strengths that accompany the presenting problems. An idea of where a client is doing well allows for an assessment process that not only helps conceptualize a diagnosis but also those positive and protective factors that can be motivational when realized.

    Formative and summative evaluation are two major types of evaluation when monitoring treatment progress. Formative evaluation is a type of ongoing or continuous evaluation utilized to examine the process. Good assessments tend to be formative, as assessment is not a one-time-event, and therapists should be up to date on how the client is doing. The more frequently assessment occurs, the better the client outcomes. This ongoing give-and-take of feedback to and from the client enhances the therapeutic relationship and is motivational for the client, helping to increase engagement levels. It is important for therapists to evaluate their services and adjust as necessary, to document and determine their effectiveness throughout sessions. This also leads to improved care for the client and as mentioned, growth within the relationship. Summative evaluation is different in that it is more focused on the final evaluation, or the end product, that results from cumulative evidence. This type of evaluation is used often to evaluate accountability, which is crucial to indicate a clinician’s effectiveness with clients. Many organizations look to summative evaluation evidence in order to approve or deny a therapist’s services.

    Reply

    • Esther Konadu
      Oct 21, 2022 @ 14:16:59

      Hi Magdalen,

      Formative assessments seem to be the kind that therapists are “more familiar” with (even though they would be knowledgeable about both types). Giving clients these assessments as they go through treatment helps therapists stay informed about their progress. If a doctor did not take notes every appointment, it would be difficult to track the changes that you go through. Much like a therapist, they are making a note of the ups and downs their clients are having. Your description of “give-and-take” feedback is colorful. I never considered formative assessments in that way until you brought it up. Thank you for the metaphor!

      Reply

  24. Vic White
    Oct 20, 2022 @ 14:37:14

    Assessment has an important role in the diagnosing clients; however, it is more than just one assessment at the intake session and one assessment in the final session. Assessment being a continuous process can help therapists have a continuous and up to date evaluation of the client and their presenting problems. Having frequent assessments and providing feedback to the client can keep the client motivated to keep making changes and that things are getting better and going well. There is a lot of research that supports the notion that monitoring clients progress is a good predictor of the client having positive outcomes. Monitoring changes through an assessment process in counselling makes it possible to identify clients who are no progressing and gives the opportunity for the counsellor to change how they are approaching the client, to help the client to progress and improve. Assessments inform your case formulation and inform your treatment plan, so regular assessments and feedback are worth investing time into because of the positive benefits it will have for the client’s treatment.

    Formative evaluation is continuous evaluation and summative evaluation is more cumulative than formative and has a final evaluation. The main difference between the two is that formative focuses on the process whereas summative focuses on the product. As I have mentioned previously, the more frequently you use assessments, the better the client outcomes will be which is a huge benefit of using formative evaluation over summative. You have a constant evaluation of how a client is progressing and if they stop progressing you will be able to identify it quickly and take the steps required for them to starting progressing again.

    Reply

    • taylor poland
      Oct 21, 2022 @ 12:06:57

      Hi Vic,
      Well said! I agree that assessments offer more than just diagnosing a client. Assessments can help track the progress of a client which in turn can determine changes to a treatment plan. In a similar manner, assessments allow for more discussion between the client and the clinician in regards to the assessment itself, how the client is feeling, and feedback on the clinicians degree of helpfulness in session

      Reply

    • Ashley Millett
      Oct 21, 2022 @ 15:13:16

      Hi Vic,

      I agree that assessments should be used as a continuous process that can show either growth or decline in a client. Assessments can also let the therapist keep track of the client’s well being. Sometimes, assessments can be helpful to show the growth and decline of a client. Then, with that information, the therapist can change the course of treatment if they see a change. I also agree that with continuous assessments, the client may grow the motivation to keep making changes. It is almost like “adding fuel to the fire.” If they are able to see the change through different assessments, then they would want to keep doing what they have been doing.

      Reply

    • Ariannah Zagabe
      Oct 22, 2022 @ 00:56:27

      Hi Vic,

      I agree that the client outcomes and your understanding of the client will both improve the more often you conduct assessments which is why formative assessments are more beneficial than summative assessments. Formative assessments maintain ongoing evaluations of a client’s progress so that you may see any stalls in their progress and take the necessary action when needed.

      Reply

    • Alysha Benoit
      Oct 22, 2022 @ 15:04:06

      Hi Vic, I absolutely agree with the point you made about research indicating that monitoring client progress is a better predictor for positive therapeutic outcomes. It makes sense… if a client is able to see that their counselor is assessing their issues throughout therapy then therapeutic rapport could possibly help a client understand themselves better because they are able to trust and understand the purpose of therapy. I also think this is a great point to make because it demonstrates the importance of formative assessments as well.

      Reply

  25. Chandal Powell
    Oct 20, 2022 @ 14:47:46

    Assessments can help therapists understand how presenting problems are affecting clients by taking a holistic approach to determining the clients issues. By taking a holistic approach, factors such as clients strengths, levels of functioning and cultural or social factors would be examined to create a deeper understanding of the client and the reason(s) they are seeking therapy. Ultimately, this can lead to a greater client outcome as well as assisting with building the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist.

    A formative assessment is a continuous assessment, it can be used to regularly examine the therapeutic process. On the other hand, a summative assessment is more cumulative and focuses more on the end goal. For example, for this course our weekly blogs could be considered as a formative assessment, as it gives us the opportunity to show that we are learning and understanding each new topic weekly. Whereas, the final exam would be the summative assessment as it’s typically an evaluation of what we’ve learned throughout the course. The benefits of formative assessment as it relates to therapy includes; helping the client and therapist clarify treatment goals to continue motivating the client to participate in therapy. It also provides the opportunity for self reflection, as with each assessment the client gets the opportunity to recognize areas of growth. On the other hand, if therapy isn’t going well it provides the environment to share that feedback and room to make adjustments as needed. Because therapy is a collaborative process formation assessments aid in achieving the goal of the best outcome for the client.

    Reply

    • Ariannah Zagabe
      Oct 22, 2022 @ 00:55:08

      Hi Chandal,

      I like how you pointed out that by taking a holistic approach, assessments can assist therapists in understanding how current issues are affecting clients. As a way to get a deeper understanding of the client and why they are seeking therapy, it’s very important/crucial to focus on the client as a whole rather than just the symptoms they present.

      Reply

  26. taylor poland
    Oct 20, 2022 @ 22:32:28

    One of the most important ways assessments helps therapists is by tracking the client’s progress. If a client is showing signs of severe depression during an intake session, the clinician can provide an assessment for depression, the BDI-II for example, to get an idea of how they are feeling at the current moment. Over the span of treatment, the clinician can occasionally give the same assessment to the client to track any changes, positive or negative. From there, the clinician can alter the treatment plan to better tailor it to the needs of the client. Assessments are also able to give insight into how the client is affected in their daily lives. If a client puts a 5 down for a question of “I am a failure,” then a good clinician would discuss why and how the client feels like a failure.

    A formative assessment is an evaluation given to the client continuously throughout treatment. Summative assessments are more concerned with the final end point or cumulative evaluation. The difference between the two types of assessments lies in what they are looking for. Formative assessments are concerned with the process, whereas summative assessments focus on the end product. Many clinicians prefer using formative assessments because the clinician can alter their treatment plan according to the results.

    Reply

    • Gitte Lenaerts
      Oct 22, 2022 @ 13:34:37

      Hi Taylor, you shared some important points on how assessments are not only for diagnosing a client. Assessments are a great way to track the client’s progress. Therapists should frequently assess a client on their current problems and symptoms to track if the client is improving, or their symptoms are worsening. As you mentioned, this way the therapists can assess the client’s treatment plan and improve or change the process to better aid support to the clients. I appreciated your example on depression and using the BDI-II. Assessments do allow the therapist to look into the client’s daily life, which is very important as therapists see clients for about an hour or so a week. Great post!

      Reply

    • Alysha Benoit
      Oct 22, 2022 @ 14:58:34

      Hi Taylor, I appreciate the point you make about tracking client progess, whether it be positive or negative. This is an extremely important part of the therapeutic process because making sure treatments are working for a client is vital to their growth as a person in therapy. On the other hand it is important for counselors to assess clients to determine if a treatment is not working for the same reasons.

      Reply

  27. Alysha Benoit
    Oct 20, 2022 @ 22:45:04

    It is important to understand that assessment in counseling goes beyond providing the clinician and client with a diagnosis, whereas sometimes there may not be a diagnosis at all, for example. However there are various ways in which assessment can provide a better understanding of the client themselves and their presenting issues that may be affecting them. Another important component to assessment that delves beyond determining a diagnosis is gaining information about the client that they may not directly share to the counselor. This could look like a client being suicidal or suffering from violence in some way, but not addressing it verbally to the counselor and instead providing the warning signs through an assessment. Although this is closely related to determining a diagnosis, it goes beyond what the client may address through verbal communication. Additionally, informal psychometric instruments such as the Mental Status Examination help to provide counselors with information regarding how well a client functions daily and presents themselves. Levels of daily functioning and self-presentation are important in assessment because it allows for a better understanding of the patient even before a diagnosis may be provided and after. Lastly, psychological assessments help to establish a better psychological relationship/rapport with the client. If a client is aware that a counselor is assessing their issues responsibly, they are more (majority of the time) likely to trust the counselor and have a better willingness to change a behavior(s).

    The difference between formative assessments and summative assessments has to do with their timing of use. A formative assessment is a type of assessment that addresses specific progress of the therapeutic treatment and through a continuation. On the other hand, a summative assessment addresses the overall effectiveness of a treatment whereas they are given at the beginning and end of therapy. Formative assessments are beneficial because they allow the counselor to address where the treatment may need improvement and where the treatment is working for the client. They are also helpful in addressing additional issues that may arise with a client throughout therapy.

    Reply

    • Esther Konadu
      Oct 21, 2022 @ 14:54:22

      Hi Alysha,

      You brought up an interesting point – the assessments are complementary to what the client has already said or shown in sessions. The assessments give those underlying details that most people would still feel uncomfortable saying out loud. Discovering those insights in sessions, and having a knowledgeable therapist, is a vital portion of the therapeutic process.

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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