Topic 7: Using Assessment in Counseling {by 6/25}

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?

 

Your original post should be posted by 6/25.  Post your two replies no later than 6/27.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

34 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Madi
    Jun 21, 2020 @ 16:50:52

    1. Assessment is used for more than just diagnosis. If assessment is purely used for diagnosis, then assessment is not being used to its fullest potential. It does make some sort of sense why assessment might only be used for diagnosis, but it can be more helpful than that. Assessment allows a counselor to tract the path of treatment. If an assessment it given more than just at the end and at the beginning a counselor, and the patient, can see improvement in the scoring. Assessment is also important in creating the treatment plan, which is more than just the diagnosis.
    2. Formative assessment is a continuous evaluation that examines the treatment process. Summative assessment is focused on the end result. The benefit of formative assessment is the fact that it tracts the treatment processes and that a counselor can get more out of formative assessment, for it is more useful when it is continuous.

    Reply

    • Althea Hermitt- Mcpherson
      Jun 22, 2020 @ 23:26:33

      Hi Madi
      I agree with you that assessment is used to track the path of treatment, create treatment plans, as well as assess improvement within the client based on scores. However, assessment is also important in assessing environmental or social factors that are affecting or contributing to clients’ issues. It can also determine the client’s strengths, cultural issues, and prognosis. Insurance companies are also very interested in assessments as it serves to hold therapist accountable.

      Reply

    • Yen Pham
      Jun 25, 2020 @ 13:10:08

      Hi Madi,
      I like your thoughts on the question 2. Your explanation is short but it corves what important benefits of formative assessment when it tracks the treatment process of client more often than the sumative assessment. As counselors, I think it is so helpful when we realize the benefits of formative assessment so that we will know if our diagnosis and treatments work well for clients or not. We are flexible on that to provide the best treatment for client’s performance on the right time.

      Reply

  2. Althea Hermitt- Mcpherson
    Jun 22, 2020 @ 15:53:32

    (1) Assessment has a broader role beyond just determining a diagnosis. What are some ways assessments can help therapists understand how presenting problems are affecting clients?

    Assessments are not only used for diagnosis, but they can also be used to classify, describe, predict, and track the counseling process. It also aids the clinician in planning and developing interventions for the client to meet their goals. The use of assessment is vital in developing a treatment plan as it is an individualized process where one size doesn’t fit all. Assessments are also used to monitor the effects of counseling, therefore it serves to monitor client changes/progress as well as the effectiveness of the counseling. Assessments are also used for evaluating the process and the end product of the treatment. Insurance companies that pay for counseling services are now seeking accountability in that they want to see that the client is showing improvement or is getting better based on treatment. This can also tell if the client will have positive or negative treatment outcomes based on their gains in treatment or lack of progress. Assessment can help therapists to understand presenting problems that are affecting clients in many ways. First, assessment can determine what environmental or social factors are affecting or contributing to the clients’ issues. Second, it can also determine the client’s strengths based on how well they score on a certain domain. Third, it can also allude to cultural issues that might need to be addressed within sessions. Fourth, assessment can help the therapist ascertain the prognosis, this refers to what the mental health progression will look like with and without treatment.

    (2) What is the difference between formative assessment and summative assessment? What are the benefits of formative assessment?

    Formative Assessment refers to a continuous or intermediate evaluation typically used to examine the counseling service process. Formative assessments are given throughout the counseling process some are given every session or every few sessions. It gives the ability to modify treatment interventions and build a therapeutic relationship in order to help with the client’s problems. This gives an up to date idea of where the client is with there problem.

    Summative Assessment refers to a cumulative evaluation of services that are typically completed at the endpoint of the service. These types of evaluations are designed It is typically used to evaluate accountability and provide an overall indication of the effectiveness of the services

    The Benefits of the Formative Assessment:
    Formative Assessment is beneficial because It monitors the clients’ treatment regularly and therefore it keeps them on track in attaining their goals, it helps to figure out misunderstanding and barriers and helps clients to stay on track. It helps to collect information that can help counselors with meeting clients’ needs. Formative assessment can help to increase clients’ motivation and engagement in the counseling process due to feedback. This also helps the therapist to make decisions based on statistics or data rather than just pure judgment.

    Reply

    • Christopher LePage
      Jun 25, 2020 @ 15:28:41

      Hi Althea, for starters I liked how you structured your response as it made it very easy to know exactly what topic you were discussing. Your comment about insurance companies really surprised me, as it was not something I even remotely considered. However, it is such an important factor to consider because so many people do rely on their insurance to cover counseling sessions. Knowing that these insurance companies are looking into the progress of each client is so important in making trying to implement a plan for your client to progress, which is why having assessments is crucial. By using assessments you are more likely to get better results because you are gathering more data on the client.

      Reply

  3. Yen Pham
    Jun 23, 2020 @ 23:47:09

    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?

    Assessment has a broader role beyond just determining diagnosis. In particular, assessment includes diagnosis and treatment planning. A diagnosis does have a significant influence on treatment planing. For treatment planning to be effective, counselors need to assess the following: To what degree are the problems affecting the client? What environmental or social factors are contributing to the client’s issues? What are the client’s strengths? Are there cultural issues that need to be considered? What is the prognosis? In other word, assessment is the process of gathering information about a client. Through assessment, counselors are able to ascertain important information about clients, such as the nature of their problem; the magnitude and impact of the problem; the interplay between family, relationships, and past experiences with respect to the problem; the client’s strengths and readiness for counseling; and whether counseling can be beneficial to the client. Assessment is also critical for establishing counseling goals and objectives and for determining the most effective interventions. As counselors meet with their clients, they make decisions on what problems to address and what interventions to attempt.

    2.What is the difference between formative assessment and summative assessment? What are the benefits of formative assessment?

    There is different between two major types of evaluation: formative evaluation and summative evaluation. Formative is the continuous or intermediate evaluation typically performed to examine the process whereas the summative is more cumulative and focused on endpoint or final evaluation (i.e., product). The evaluation of counseling services for accountability reasons, which is more related to summative evaluation

    On the benefits of formative assessment, I think that following on its definition, formative assessment evaluates the information and outcome of clients that occur throughout treatment, not just at termination. Therefore, it helps counselors feed information back to clients in ways that enable the client to know what is going on with their health, or when clients can engage in a similar to evaluate of one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings then report to counselors. In other words, formative assessment provides clients with more timely and informative feedback on their progress as well as counselors can meet clients expectations for more flexible delivery and to generate efficiencies in assessment that can ease keep or change the better therapy that the best works for clients.

    Reply

  4. Haley Scola
    Jun 24, 2020 @ 16:25:00

    1. Of course assessments are beneficial in determining diagnosis but they can help therapists understand how presenting problems are affecting their client is by classifying, predicting and tracking the client’s treatment. As assessment can be given to the client more than once but also some assessments have multiple versions in order to switch up the questions so the client isn’t answering off of memory. When assessing a client, in order to make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan the clinician must figure out what the problem affecting the client is, what are the client’s strengths and weaknesses are and what other factors may be affecting the client. Assessments are beneficial for understanding these factors. Another point is that assessments are helpful in building rapport with the client and informing the client on any progress or hindrance that may be happening throughout the therapeutic process.

    2. A formative assessment is a more informal diagnostic tool that is a continuous or intermediate evaluation that assesses the process itself. These are often utilized throughout the therapeutic process in order to assess any current progress or hindrance that may need to be modified in the therapeutic plan. In contrast a summative assessment is an evaluation that shows how much someone has learned throughout the process and is more of an endpoint or final evaluation. They are more formal, structured, and often used to standardize performance so they can be measured and compared.

    The benefit of a formative assessment is the vital information about the client’s current treatment and if they are improving or not. If the client is not improving, then a clinician would use this information as a way to integrate or modify the ongoing changes that may occur throughout the sessions. Therapy is a process in which the clinician may gain more insight throughout each session, these assessments help in clarifying that information and allowing for it to be properly integrated in the therapeutic process. By showing the client “proof” that they are improving this also helps in motivation and confidence aspects.

    Reply

    • Francesca DePergola
      Jun 24, 2020 @ 23:55:20

      Hi Haley,
      When you mentioned insight it made me think of what we are currently learning in principles and practices of counseling. With what we just learned, we understand how important insight can be for the process of therapy, progress within the client, and the importance of it with the relationship between client and counselor. I think that was a great connection with assessments because assessments are something concrete that the client can look at and gain awareness from. This can be very powerful for the future action needed to be taken to make changes later. It was not something that I first thought about, but it is such a great point!

      Reply

    • Selene Anaya
      Jun 26, 2020 @ 17:57:14

      Hi Haley!
      I like how you included in your response to the first question of how assessments have different variations so the client isn’t responding from memory. I think this was one of my reservations when I heard that we should be giving the assessments multiple times throughout the course of therapy. I can already think of the monotony it might bring some clients and they may not put forth their best effort in answering because it is all the same. I think different variations of one assessment have the ability to spice it up a little and I am curious if a lot of assessments that are widely used have multiple variations. While you were discussing the benefits of formative assessments, I like how you incorporated the insight that we will be gaining and how that can be supported with data from those assessments. Not only does it give the clinicians proof that therapy is working, but showing the improvement to the client, can spark motivation, excitement, and positively impact the rest of therapy.

      Reply

  5. Dawn Seiple
    Jun 24, 2020 @ 18:49:59

    What are some ways assessments can help therapists understand how presenting problems are affecting clients?

    Though initially assessments were designed to aid in the diagnosis of patients, assessments can play an important role throughout the therapy process. After making a diagnosis, the therapist can use the assessment to determine the client’s initial level of functioning. They can establish a baseline measure of symptoms to compare against in the future. They can determine to what degree the client’s problems are currently affecting their life and make comparisons throughout the therapy process. This allows both the patient and the clinician to know if positive progress is being made. It provides a more objective measure of how well therapy is addressing the client’s issues. The assessment also informs the treatment plan and the related goals. The assessment may identify cultural, social or environmental factors that are contributing to the patient’s problems and incorporate that information into the treatment plan. Historically, much of the assessment focused on the patient’s problems. However, the assessment can also be used to identify a patient’s strengths and to help the patient use their strengths to overcome areas of difficulty. By using formative evaluations, the clinician and patient both receive feedback, and this allows for adjustments to the therapy. Regular feedback helps the client maintain engagement and motivation.

    What is the difference between formative and summative assessment? What are the benefits of formative assessment?

    A formative assessment is conducted during the therapeutic process. It is like a progress check to determine how well treatment is going. Ideally, it is performed regularly throughout the process. When treatment is completed, a summative assessment is performed to determine how well the entire process went. It is the equivalent of the final evaluation. It can be used to measure the effectiveness of a clinician and of their counseling services. Formative evaluations are very helpful in keeping the clinician informed about the progress of the therapy. Without interim check-ins, the clinician cannot know for sure that the therapy is helping the patient. If it isn’t helping, the patient may become discouraged and abandon therapy. If the clinician can determine early enough in the process that the therapy is not achieving the desired results, the clinician can change the treatment plan to be more effective. If formative evaluation results are shared with clients, they can provide a benchmark for the client and also help maintain their engagement and motivation.

    Reply

    • Francesca DePergola
      Jun 24, 2020 @ 23:49:00

      Hi Dawn,
      I like what you said about communicating the results of the assessments to clients. You mentioned that if therapy is not working the client may abandon it altogether. I thought back to the average amount of appointments that a client lasts. I think it was 2-3? I think a big reason for this is the first impression almost. So, if the counselor is not showing much of an interest in understanding the client, not just with counseling skills, but with assessments too, it might be a turn-off for them. Anything that the media shows about therapy or what I have heard of and witnessed, assessments never seemed as important as they do now. This makes me think about how common it is that counselors actually use assessments or how frequently they do. This class has made it clear to me that assessments are important in many ways and the benefits of formative assessments most certainly outweigh that of summative.

      Reply

    • Althea Hermitt- Mcpherson
      Jun 25, 2020 @ 01:08:10

      Hi Dawn, I like how you explained the difference between formative and summative assessment. Formative assessment should be done throughout the therapeutic process as it is used as a progressive check. At times, this step is abandoned and clinicians make treatment decisions based on judgment and not data. Clinicians give summative assessment or endpoint check more often, one downfall of only using summative assessment is that it doesn’t give an opportunity to modify therapy or treatment as this is done at the end of everything. There is no room for error when using the summative assessment and when you consider clients abandoning therapy it’s harder to know what’s working and what’s not working when the summative assessment is used independently of the formative assessment.

      Reply

    • Michelle McClure
      Jun 27, 2020 @ 20:55:07

      Hi Dawn. I really liked how in your comment you mentioned that by completing formative assessments regularly it not only gives the clinician feedback that the clinician can use to better care for the client but that it also gives the client feedback that the client can use to better understand and communicate their needs. Therapy is really most beneficial when the client feels very engaged in the sessions and feels that the clinician is communicating well and vice versa.

      Reply

  6. Francesca DePergola
    Jun 24, 2020 @ 23:42:01

    (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?

    The assessment has a broader role beyond just determining diagnosis as it helps to create a treatment plan and track progress throughout the therapeutic process. Assessments are not supposed to simply be used for diagnosis just as they should not only be used at the beginning of therapy. Assessments should be used frequently and in ways that help the counselor understand aspects of what is being assessed and in the case that treatment plans need to be modified. This better understanding of the client and their diagnosis has demonstrated a positive influence on the effectiveness of treatment. These tests can provide information about the frequency, intensity, and duration of their symptoms. Some assessments can ask, but usually do not go that into depth about environmental and social factors as well as cultural issues and client’s strengths. It must, however, ask what degree the problems are affecting the client, and gives somewhat not a prognosis, but get a vague notion of what the development will be with or without treatment.

    (2) What is the difference between formative assessment and summative assessment? What are the benefits of formative assessment?
    Formative assessment is an array of assessments given throughout the therapeutic process to not only keep track of the client’s progress but also to update and modify the treatment plan if necessary. Summative assessment is when the assessment is focused on the outcome of the therapeutic process that is more cumulative. The benefits of formative assessment allow the counselor to be updated at least within every 2-3 sessions of how the client is doing. This illustrates any progress the client is making or not making and tells the counselor what is working and what is not. This also allows for the therapeutic relationship to grow because the counselor is being attentive to the client’s needs with the feedback they might give. Frequent assessments have shown better outcomes as well.

    Reply

    • Yen Pham
      Jun 25, 2020 @ 12:36:45

      Hi Francesca,

      I like how you explained why the assessment has a broader role beyond just determining diagnosis. I also have the same thought as you when you mentioned that assessment helps to create a treatment plan and track progress throughout the therapeutic process. I also think that the practice of assessment entails the collection of information in order to identify, analyze, evaluate, and address the problems, issues, and circumstances of clients in the counseling relationship. Assessment is used as a basis for identifying problems, planning interventions, evaluating and/or diagnosing clients, and informing clients and stakeholders. Therefore, assessment will be viewed as a process essential to all elements of counseling.

      Reply

    • Christopher LePage
      Jun 25, 2020 @ 15:22:29

      Hi Francesca, regarding your response to the first question I enjoyed how you talked about the different domains of assessments, and how it can better help you assess the severity of the issues that you may be presented with. This is so important to get a good understanding of because if you are unsure of the severity of the issues we as clinicians may not take the issue as seriously. I also enjoyed in the second part of the question how you mentioned how formative assessments lead to a better therapeutic relationship. I completely agree with this statement, because if I was a client I would like to see more frequent assessments be performed since it would give me more confidence that the clinician is in fact paying attention to what I am saying, and is making changes as needed.

      Reply

    • Madi
      Jun 25, 2020 @ 17:16:20

      Hi Francesca,
      1. I agree with you that assessment is key to creating a solid treatment plan. I also like how you talked about continuous assessment is good so that the treatment plan can be tweaked.
      2. I like your wording on why a counselor should be doing assessment every 2-3 sessions. I also thought it was insightful how you tied in the therapeutic relationship. I’ve been wondering if therapist actually use assessment or if they just rely more on the session then assessment

      Reply

    • Haley Scola
      Jun 27, 2020 @ 17:38:53

      Hi Francesca,
      I thought your point that tests should be provided frequently to help the counselor better understand their client better and help in modifying the treatment plan was very insightful. I also agree and think that that’s why formative assessments are so beneficial to the therapeutic process. I thought it was very helpful that you included the point about the lack of depth assessments track in terms of environmental, social, and cultural factors. I wonder if there are some assessments out there that include questions pertaining to this better. I agree with your point that formative assessments help build rapport and the growth of the therapeutic relationship. Assessments are extremely helpful in these aspects so those points were very helpful.

      Reply

  7. Christopher LePage
    Jun 25, 2020 @ 15:15:51

    1.) Assessments go beyond just the diagnosis. Assessments are vital in getting a great deal of background knowledge on the client prior to any sort of treatment plan gets started. Background on client’s is extremely important. A person’s home environment or socioeconomic status could have just as major impact on their ability to go through with a treatment plan as their diagnosis. That is why it is important for us as clinicians to keep this in mind, and work around the client’s style of living. By having this background information we are better to compose a treatment plan that is specifically tailored for the client. By having a greater knowledge of your client, beyond just a diagnosis, you are giving the client a better chance to recover back to their baseline. That is another reason why assessments are important, they give us a good method of following the client’s progress throughout your sessions. By having this to fall back on you are able to determine if the treatment plan is even working for them.
    2.) With formative assessments you are essentially taking a poll every couple of sessions on your client’s progress. Formative assessments are so beneficial to clinicians, because they allow you to track the progress of the treatment plan for your client. By keeping up with these assessments you are also making sure you are staying on top of your client’s needs, which in turn makes for more effective sessions with your client. This is so important for the rapport you build with a client, because it shows that you are being attentive, and with the treatment being more effective they are more likely to continue with their treatment plan, as well as continuing to attend the sessions as needed. A summative assessment is given at the final session with your client and it basically gives a report in how the counseling session went, and whether or not it was effective.

    Reply

    • Dawn Seiple
      Jun 26, 2020 @ 15:41:20

      Hi Chris,

      I thought you made a couple of good points in your post about why assessments are so important in therapy. As you note, a clinician needs to understand what the patient’s home environment is like in order to appropriately structure a treatment plan. A clinician may definitely have to adapt in order to meet the challenges each patient faces in their daily life. Hopefully, by using assessments and following up with questions that arise, the clinician can determine how best to help the patient. Further, you point out that by initially using assessments with the patient and by using them in an ongoing way, the clinician can build and strengthen their rapport with the patient. This commitment to receiving feedback and adapting to it, shows the patient that they are important. By being attentive to their needs, they are more likely to continue with therapy.

      Reply

    • Haley Scola
      Jun 27, 2020 @ 17:45:28

      Hi Chris,
      I agree completely with your statement that assessments are a vital source of information for the counselor to understand the background knowledge of the client, prior to any sort of treatment plan is started. It was great of you to include that environmental factors and socioeconomic status have a major impact on the treatment plans effectiveness. Some clinicians may not emphasize those factors which may be detrimental to the client’s treatment as well as the therapeutic relationship. I also agreed with your point that formative assessments are helpful in tracking the clients progress. Without utilizing formative assessments, I think clinicians miss out on a vital aspect of the treatment process that’s needed for effectiveness.

      Reply

    • Michelle McClure
      Jun 27, 2020 @ 21:04:07

      Hi Chris. I really liked how you discussed the importance of knowing your clients unique background in assessments and therapy. I completely agree with you that the more that the clinician understands the individual background of the client the better the clinician can make a treatment plan that is better suited to a clients unique situation and meets the clients needs. When a clinician makes a treatment plan that fits the clients needs and lifestyle the client is more likely to follow through with their end of the treatment plan and therefor have a better overall outcome from therapy.

      Reply

  8. Selene Anaya
    Jun 25, 2020 @ 15:31:51

    (1)  Assessments can help therapists understand how presenting problems are affecting clients beyond diagnosis. Assessments can be used for treatment planning as well as monitoring treatment progress and evaluating the effectiveness of counseling. As clinicians, it is in the clients best interest to plan their treatment according to information gathered relating to the degree of impairment, subjective distress, complexity of the problem, readiness for change, social support, motivation tendencies, the client’s coping styles, and the strength of the therapeutic relationship. All of these factors have the ability to impact the outcome of treatment and should therefore be assessed and included as information to formulate a treatment plan. Using assessments to monitor treatment can allow therapists to evaluate progress throughout the course of therapy and address any other concerns that may arise. Beyond just the initial assessment, the continued use of assessments can reveal any progress that is being made or if progress is not being made so the plan can be altered. This goes into the role of assessments also being able to evaluate the effectiveness of therapy. If the plan is not effective, the chance to alter and improve therapy is given so that by the end, it can be effective and the client can get better. Not only do therapists want to obtain knowledge of the effectiveness of the therapy they are giving, but many agencies (insurance, government, etc.) like to see progress and keep counseling services accountable.

    (2) Formative and summative assessments are two types of evaluations. Formative evaluations are performed to examine the therapeutic process. These assessments are conducted throughout the process of therapy, and can be given many times. Summative assessments are cumulative and focus more on the final product of therapy. Therefore, they are completed at the end of all sessions. There are many benefits to formative assessments. Assessing the effectiveness of therapy every session or every 2-3 sessions can give therapists and idea of the progress their client is making. If they notice that the current plan is not working for the client, it gives the clinician the opportunity to modify the plan so progress can be made before the conclusion of therapy. It can also provide a chance to strengthen the therapeutic relationship because it allows the client and clinician to connect and discuss what may or may not be working rather than just giving clients tests and receiving scores without genuinely assessing the effectiveness. This gives the client the knowledge that the clinician is evaluating the progress and making sure the work that is being done is working for the client himself/herself rather than just following a textbook plan. When a client knows that the treatment plan is being made specifically for him/her, it can increase positive outcomes and possibly even make the client more motivated to complete therapy.

    Reply

    • Dawn Seiple
      Jun 26, 2020 @ 15:56:03

      Hi Selene,

      In your post, you identify important information to be gathered in the development of a patient’s treatment plan. Any one of the factors you mention could have a significant impact on the success of the treatment but could be overlooked. For example, even though a client is pursuing treatment, they may not be ready to make the changes necessary to alleviate their symptoms. Perhaps the problems they are facing are particularly challenging or complex or the patient’s coping style is not conducive to making changes in their life. If these considerations are not part of the original treatment plan, the therapy may not initially be effective. Because there is so much to learn before developing a treatment plan, some important information may be missed. In some cases, the patient may not be ready to be open and honest. As you mention, using formative assessments can alleviate this problem. Formative assessments give the clinician the opportunity to alter and improve on their treatment plan. They also allow the clinician to further strengthen their rapport with the client.

      Reply

    • Brigitte Manseau
      Jun 27, 2020 @ 19:59:12

      Hi Selene,
      I like that you included how often formative assessments should be given. Giving an assessment every other session would allow the clinician to consistently and constantly assess whether the treatment plan is working for the client or not. Let’s say the clinician decided to switch to a different approach because the original approach was no longer working for the client. Formative assessment would allow the clinician to monitor the effectiveness of the new approach. Also, I agree that formative assessment encourages the client to continue going to therapy. It shows the client that the clinician has the client’s best interest and truly cares about the client’s progress.

      Reply

  9. Michelle McClure
    Jun 25, 2020 @ 16:08:53

    1. Assessments can help clinicians understand how presenting problems are affecting clients in many ways not the least of which is the degree of which the problems are affecting the clients functioning. Assessments can help clinicians to figure out the intensity, frequency and duration of time that these problems are occurring and how they are affecting the clients daily functioning as well as functioning in interpersonal relationships as well as other important life domains. All these things help the clinician to understand how best they can help their client and what it is more important to focus on in therapy. Assessments should be given regularly during treatment not just at the start of therapy and at the end to ensure that the client is not getting prematurely discharged when they still have problems that should be worked on in therapy with the clinician.
    2. The difference between formative assessment and summative assessment is that summative assessment is more focused on the end result. Formative assessment is a continuous evaluation that is used to examine and fine tune the therapeutic treatment a client is receiving. Summative assessment is a cumulative evaluation of services that are completed and focused at the end point of therapeutic services and is typically more formal.

    The benefit of a formative approach to assessment is that it gives the clinician more opportunity to revise their treatment plan and focus and refocus on the areas that are the most beneficial for the client. This formative approach helps you modify your interventions to better meet the needs of your client. The formative approach also provides the clinician with continuous feedback about your client which allows the clinician to provide better feedback to the client which will likely improve rapport and make for a better therapeutic relationship with your client.

    Reply

    • Madi
      Jun 25, 2020 @ 17:19:27

      Hi Michelle,
      1. I like your focus on degree, intensity, frequency, and duration. The way you laid our your answer made it obvious the important of assessment in the course of a client’s treatment.
      2. I like the use of the term “revise”. I thought that was a very good term for what assessment allows the clinician to do. Constant assessment allows the clinician to be constantly improving, revising, the treatment plan.

      Reply

    • Trey Powers
      Jun 29, 2020 @ 19:00:51

      Hi Michelle!

      I liked your points on formative assessment. If a certain treatment plan is not going well or providing optimal results for the client, then it is important that you change course and implement a new plan to ensure you are providing the best care possible. The only way to be certain of this, however, is through occasional formative assessment. In this way, we can see an objective report of how the client is feeling in relation to when they started, or when they were last assessed, rather than relying solely on your own subjective interpretation of the process, or the client’s informal report of how they are doing.

      Reply

  10. Trey Powers
    Jun 25, 2020 @ 19:11:32

    1.
    While assessment in clinical settings is frequently associated with determining a diagnosis for a given client, assessment itself has a far greater purpose in the therapeutic process. After initial diagnosis, it is necessary to begin planning treatment for the client. Understanding the severity of the client’s presenting problems, as well as their level of impairment and capability of adhering to treatment must be taken into consideration when formulating a treatment plan. Additionally, understanding more about the client can help to match treatment to the particular client. In this way, assessment can be used to reveal various traits that the client possesses so that treatment can be better tailored to their unique personality. Assessments can also determine what strengths the client has, which can allow a counselor to create a treatment plan that capitalizes on these strengths in order to bolster the therapeutic process. Assessment is also used throughout the therapeutic process to both objectively determine if progress is being made, and prove to agencies such as insurance companies that the individual is still in need of therapy. Finally, at the end of the process, assessments can reveal the progress that the client has made, as well as determine if it is appropriate to discontinue therapy at that time.

    2.
    Formative evaluation is the process of conducting assessments throughout the process of therapy, either continuously or occasionally, in order to track progress. Summative evaluation is the process of assessing at the end of therapy to reveal overall progress made across the period of therapy. The two can be differentiated as formative involving the process, and summative involving the product. While summative evaluation can be used, it is generally not as beneficial as formative evaluation. When using formative evaluation, the counselor is continuously updating their understanding of the client throughout therapy, and is therefore more in tune with how their client is progressing or regressing over time. This also allows the client to see their progress as they are working towards recovery. At the same time, it can identify if a client experiences a significant downturn in their disorder, and allow the counselor to address any issues that may have emerged since the previous assessment.

    Reply

  11. Casey Cosky
    Jun 25, 2020 @ 19:51:38

    Assessments are important because they can be used to highlight the main causes for concern when evaluating a client. A diagnosis is a great place to start to get a general idea of what is going on. However, symptoms of a mental illness may be more prevalent than others and therefore the therapy may need to cater to helping the client with those first. As the treatment goes on, it is important for the clinician to know what is working and what is not working. A clinician and a client could waste multiple sessions by approaching a problem in a way that either doesn’t help or even worsens it. Assessing the treatment results over time can prevent that from happening and ensure the most effective care is being given. External factors, severity of symptoms, willingness to be involved in treatment, and other important information must be looked at and goals must be determined and met for a successful treatment plan.

    A basic explanation is that formative assessment is ongoing while summative assessment will come at the end to essentially sum up all of the information and evaluate the outcome. Formative assessments are informal check ins during treatment that happen periodically to make sure everything is going the way it should be and that goals are on their way to becoming met. Summative assessments are more formal and structured, and look at the entire process as a whole to determine how effective the treatment was at the end. Formative assessments are important because, like I mentioned in the previous answer, the clinician and client could be wasting their time if the treatment is not going well but the clinician doesn’t pick up on it to make a change. If the client also isn’t seeing progress they also may just stop showing up for treatment, which could be prevented if a formative assessment had picked up on the lack of progress and brought it to the clinician’s attention.

    Reply

    • Selene Anaya
      Jun 26, 2020 @ 18:05:09

      Hi Casey!
      I really enjoyed how you included in your first response about the importance of prioritizing certain symptoms. I think this especially important to remember during the initial sessions because we don’t want to underestimate the client’s concerns nor overwhelm the clients by trying to attack all of them at once. I think it is also great that you highlighted the realistic impact of an ineffective approach. When you said “waste” multiple sessions, it brought to light the importance of evaluating and making sure the therapy is working because most individuals only have a limited number of sessions. Your brief explanations of each formative and summative assessments were helpful to remember which is which. I think not only formative assessments but the use of immediacy and asking clients how they feel about the work and if they feel as though there is progress being made can be a crucial part in keeping the client engaged and more likely to continue therapy.

      Reply

    • Brigitte Manseau
      Jun 27, 2020 @ 19:53:53

      Hi Casey,
      I like the point you made in regards to clinicians potentially misusing time with clients. I hadn’t specifically thought of that issue prior to your post. It makes sense that formative assessment would allow clinicians to effectively use session time due to the constant tailoring of the client’s treatment plan. Most clients will only attend one to three sessions. The clients who end up attending more sessions may be limited to a certain number of sessions due to their insurance. Therefore, it is vital to make the most out of every session so the client is properly helped by the last session.

      Reply

    • Trey Powers
      Jun 29, 2020 @ 18:56:20

      Hi Casey!

      I thought your point about the client not seeing their progress and ending therapy was a good one. Even though many clients stop coming to therapy after the first session, just because you are able to retain them past the initial few sessions does not mean that you are in the clear. It is important to show the client that you are invested in them and their progress, and that something is actually coming of the work that you are doing together. For many people, working towards change in therapy is incredibly difficult and life-altering. If they are engaging in such a great deal of effort and not seeing the benefit of their work, it is natural to think that they would get discouraged. Showing them occasionally the fruit of their labor can hopefully inspire them to continue working toward a healthier version of themselves.

      Reply

  12. Brigitte Manseau
    Jun 25, 2020 @ 23:31:28

    1. Besides determining a client’s diagnosis, assessment helps to create the client’s treatment plan. To create the treatment plan for a client, an assessment may determine intensity, frequency, and duration of the client’s presenting problems. Assessment is used to understand how the issues are impacting the client’s functioning. An assessment may also be used to track a client’s progress. Therefore, the clinician can use the assessment throughout the client’s therapeutic journey to see how the client’s issues are progressing overall. Another role that assessment has is that it may determine environmental and social factors. However, it is important to note that most often an assessment does not recognize environmental and social factors.

    2. Formative assessment focuses on the process while summative assessment focuses on the final product. Formative assessment is the constant evaluation to examine the therapeutic process. It is used throughout the client’s journey to track the client’s progress. Summative assessment is cumulative therefore, it is focused on the final result of the therapeutic process. There are several benefits of formative assessment. It gives the clinician a look into how the client is doing currently. Formative assessment helps determine what is and is not working for the client which helps clinicians modify interventions. Also, formative assessment lets the client see his or her progress which may continue to motivate him or her.

    Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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