Topics 3 & 4: Validity & Communicating Assessment Results {by 6/7}

Based on the text readings and lecture recordings due this week consider the following four discussion points: (1) Discuss your understanding of criterion-related validity (also known as: prediction or instrument-criterion).  In your discussion, include why this particular type of validity is common/important for mental health assessments.  (2) Discuss the difference between convergent evidence validity and discriminant evidence validity.  If it helps, provide a mental health example (e.g., assessing depression or generalized anxiety).  (3) For communicating results to clients (or parents), provide a couple points that stuck out to as very relevant (explain why).  (4) Why is it so important in “what” and “how” you communicate mental health assessment results to clients?


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35 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jennifer Vear
    Jun 02, 2021 @ 13:00:39

    1. Criterion-related validity is where an instrument relates to an outcome. In other words, it is how well an instrument predicts the outcome of what it is supposed to measure. In mental health assessments, this type of predictor is vitally important for when clinicians want to see which symptoms, characteristics, and traits the client is experiencing in relation to a possible outcome/diagnosis. For example, if a client fills out a self-assessment on their symptoms of depression and they are actually experiencing the DSM-5 criteria of depression, then the test should predict/relay that the client does, in fact, have depression. This type of validity in mental health assessments is important for helping the clinician determine the type of treatment that the client needs in order to help their depression. If the criterion-related validity is invalid, then the client will not be able to be truly helped and the assessment would not be a good predictor of the diagnosis.

    2. Convergent evidence validity is where the instrument is positively related/correlated to other variables. An example of this is using two different depression-based assessments and then comparing the two. A clinician could have the client fill out a Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and then the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), then compare the results of the two. If the results are similar, then the diagnosis and assessments are validated. Discriminant evidence validity is where the instrument is negatively related/correlated to other variables. An example of this would be having a client take one assessment that measures anxiety and then one that measures depression and comparing the two. A clinician could have the client take the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and then the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and then compare the results. By using the validity coefficient, a clinician can determine whether two assessments are positively or negatively correlated.

    3. For communicating results to clients and parents, I found the most relevant points are minimizing jargon usage and using visual aids; explain results in terms of probabilities rather than certainties; involve the client in interpretation; and monitoring the parent’s reactions so that the child does not internalize their negative responses. By minimizing jargon usage and using descriptive terms to explain a diagnosis, a client or parent is less likely to get confused. Especially if they are hearing about this diagnosis for the first time, they might not understand all the technical terms and need more of a simplification for what this means for them or their child. Explaining results as probabilities rather than certainties gives the notion that the diagnosis is something that can be worked on and is not a hopeless scenario. If they do not believe they can do anything about their diagnosis, they are less likely to continue seeking treatment or they can become to feel helpless. By involving the client or the parent in the interpretation, a clinician will be able to help clear up any misunderstandings and help them to try to understand it as something that does not just have negative connotations to it. Then the final important note is to monitor the parent’s responses so that the child does not internalize their negative reactions. If a child sees their parent break down or react in an overwhelming way when hearing news about their child’s diagnosis, the child might internalize that fear of their parent to mean that something very bad or very scary is happening to them and even their source of protection and comfort is overwhelmed and does not know how to help them. So, by monitoring the parent’s reactions, a clinician can interfere when they notice if a parent is about to break down and separate the child from the situation so they are not subjected to it. This will give time for the parent to comprehend what they learned, cool off, and for the clinician to help them understand what can be done for treatment moving forward.

    4. The “what” and “how” you communicate mental health assessment results is vitally important to clients so that they understand the relevance to themselves so that they understand that the clinician is there to help them, and the way in which a clinician communicates those results are in a way that is empathetic to what the client is going through by hearing this. A clinician always wants to make sure that their client understands the reason for the assessment, what it is measuring, and how it is relevant to them personally. Depending on what the assessment suggests, it might be validating to their experiences or it could be very difficult to comprehend. So, that is why the clinician needs to remain empathetic and portray the information in a way that is receptive to the client’s feelings while also letting the client know that they are not alone and will be getting help. The last thing you would want is a client who does not trust their therapist, which is why there needs to be that bond/relationship established first. If the client can trust their therapist/clinician, they will be more receptive to the results because they believe that the clinician will help them.


    • Frayah Wilkey
      Jun 04, 2021 @ 21:05:08

      You made a great point in question #3 about how clients should feel that there are attainable goals for them to work on. As you mentioned, if they think they’re ‘broken’ or there’s nothing they can do about their diagnosis, they may become complacent in treatment or stop going all together. Clinicians have tools to avoid instilling this learned helplessness so it’s important they explain results thoroughly. Thank you for bringing up that really important point. I think it may happen very commonly due to the ‘jargon’ that is often used.


    • Valerie Graveline
      Jun 06, 2021 @ 20:46:14

      Hi Jennifer!
      I’m glad you brought up the point of clinicians explaining the results as probabilities instead of certainties. I thought you explained it really well by saying that if they present it as a probability, it gives the impression that the diagnosis isn’t a hopeless scenario and is instead something to work with. I had a similar thought arise when I was reading that point in the chapter, but I didn’t quite know how to articulate it. The way you described it really helped me think deeper about the notions that situation may hold. Great response overall!


    • Katie O'Brien
      Jun 07, 2021 @ 11:15:31

      Jennifer, I liked that you mentioned children internalizing their parents negative reactions to testing results. The chapter also mentioned how children prefer hearing results from their parents over hearing them from a therapist. When you consider that, it’s super important that not only the therapist, but also the parents, are able to discuss the results with their child in a way that minimizes the possible negativity noticed by the child. I think how the therapist explains it to them can help to both minimize the initial negative reaction and also give the parents a better understanding so that when they do discuss it with their child, they can put some of that aside to help their child understand without feeling badly about themselves.


    • Lindsay O'Meara
      Jun 09, 2021 @ 14:48:56

      Hi Jennifer,

      I really liked that you said that an instrument needs to be a good predictor for what to expect from results when it comes to a specific diagnosis. It is super important to have reliable tests to make sure that we are diagnosing correctly. I tend to think about it as a serious decision that could ultimately improve or derail a clients life dependent on the accuracy of the results that we provide.

      You also mentioned establishing trust with both your clients and the parents of the clients, if that is the case. It is so important to explain results clearly and be as empathetic as we can to their situation. As well as keep them informed every step of the way so that they know we are on their side.



  2. Kaitlyn Tonkin
    Jun 04, 2021 @ 14:37:52

    1. Criterion-related validity concerns the extent to which an instrument or measure is related to an outcome. It measures the degree to which an instrument is a good predictor of a criterion. A common example is how the GRE test or SATs predict someone’s performance in college or graduate school. In psychological measurement, this type of validity is important for understanding a client’s symptoms and what that means for them in the future. For example, if someone scores high on the Beck Depression Index, what does that score mean for their future behavior? Will they be suicidal or have self-injurious behavior? This type of validity is important because if the test does not actually predict future behavior, the clinician or therapist will not be able to accurately create a treatment plan for their patient.

    2. Convergent evidence is when an instrument that is supposed to be related to another variable is in fact positively related. An example of this in mental health might be if a therapist administered two different tests for depression to their patient who is showing symptoms of depression, and both tests determine that the patient does have depression, then there is convergent evidence. Here we see that two different tests were able to come to the same conclusion. On the other hand, discriminant evidence is when an instrument is not correlated with variables it should not be correlated with. An example of this in mental health is when you look at a depression test and an anxiety test. You would not want there to be a correlation between these two because they are measuring two different disorders. This is particularly useful if someone is developing a new measurement and they want to make sure it accurately measures what it is meant to and does not correlate with a measure that tests a completely different disorder.

    3. As I was reading the section about communicating assessment results, I found that intertwining assessment results into the counseling practice, encouraging clients to ask questions and provide feedback, having counselors adopt different ways of communicating results, and providing a summary at the end to be some of the most relevant points. I think it is really important for clinicians to make the process of communicating results of assessments part of the counseling process. I thought this was important because as a clinician you don’t want the client to feel like this is an abnormal process that makes them feel like they’re “crazy”. I think this also helps break down the stigma surrounding psychological testing. I appreciated the suggestion to encourage clients to ask questions and provide feedback about the test and communication of results. Personally, receiving results about anything seems intimidating, so making it an open conversation I think is important for creating a comfortable atmosphere for the client so they can fully understand what everything means. I also found that making sure clients have different ways of communicating results to be quite relevant. There are some clients who might understand psychological jargon and feel more comfortable receiving results that way and there are some who would rather see their results in front of them and get a basic explanation. It is important for the counselor to know their client and know what works best for them when providing results. Furthermore, it is helpful for counselors to use descriptive terms rather than numerical terms because some clients may not understand what percentiles are. Finally, I thought it was really important for clinicians to provide a summary at the end and reiterate important points from the assessment. This allows the client to know what is important and what they should focus on and also reminds them of things that may have been discussed at the beginning of the conversation. Another thing I wanted to point out was the importance of clinicians being ready to answer any questions the parents might have, especially if they are unfamiliar with achievement or psychological testing.

    4. The ways in which clinicians communicate results with their clients is important, especially looking at what is communicated and how it is communicated. This is so important because the job of the clinician is to explain to the client what the results mean, but in a way that they will understand. It is best to not use a lot of scientific jargon or rely on numerical terms, but to adjust explanations so that the client understands. It is also important to think about what you are sharing with the client. It may not be necessary that they know certain aspects of the results because it could make them paranoid, whereas other aspects may be necessary to explain because it can help them better understand their diagnosis and treatment. Another thing that is important for clinicians is to adequately explain what the test is and what it measures, that way the client is not left in the dark about what is happening. Overall, I think it is important that counselors are not overly clinical when discussing results but that they explain everything that is necessary.


    • Frayah Wilkey
      Jun 04, 2021 @ 21:00:00

      I especially agree with the points you made for questions #4. I think that a lot of the time, people can get overwhelmed with clinical and medical terminology and it becomes very hard to digest. This may turn them off to treatment or make them feel like they can’t ask questions. I like that you point out that transparency will help both the client and clinician because both sides are equally important to the equation. Do you think that this approach is more modern? It seems that historically, clients weren’t as involved as we want them to be today.


      • Katie O'Brien
        Jun 07, 2021 @ 11:32:35

        I liked your point about how working collaboratively through the results might help the patient deal with the stigma of their results or to not feel so “crazy.” I think that’s a huge reason why people don’t try therapy. It can likely feel ostracizing to have an “expert” tell you all that’s “wrong” with you. Working through it with the client rather than just telling them everything without giving a chance for questions seems less intimidating.

        Frayah, I wonder whether it is a more modern approach as well. It’s interesting that the chapter noted the more collaborative approach tended to yield better outcomes than the more traditional approach. It makes me wonder if more clinicians will move this way, too.


    • Lisa Andrianopoulos
      Jun 06, 2021 @ 18:24:22

      I like your points about communicating results Kaitlyn. I especially like the point you made about knowing your client and let that guide how you communicate your results. Sometimes, a client can feel insulted if you break it down too much. It may come off as condescending or you may come across as too authoritative. Knowing your client well and presenting information in a way they can best receive it is so important to the therapeutic relationship as well as your ability to move forward from there.


    • Valerie Graveline
      Jun 06, 2021 @ 20:47:36

      Hi Kaitlyn!
      I liked your point about how receiving results about anything in your personal life seems intimidating. I feel exactly the same way, it can be quite overwhelming at times. This reminded me of how in some medical settings, they actually encourage patients to bring someone along with them to appointments or to receive test results so that if the patient isn’t quite able to retain the meaning of the results due to stress, then they have someone else to hopefully grasp the information. I know it isn’t always quite realistic to have someone there with them in a therapeutic setting considering it would normally just be the client and the clinician in sessions, but it did make me think of how valuable it can be to have someone there.


    • Jennifer Vear
      Jun 07, 2021 @ 10:53:46

      Hi Kaitlyn,

      I especially agree with your response in question 3 about how receiving results can be intimidating and that is why a clinician needs to create a comfortable atmosphere. In order to gain and keep the trust of a client, a clinician needs to be able to have a strong foundation of a bond or relationship. And especially in communicating results or a difficult diagnosis, if the clinician wants to help their client, they have to do it in a way that will not hurt the relationship. By keeping an open conversation, a calm atmosphere and voice, and explaining results clearly, these techniques can help to keep the relationship strong so the client continues to keep help.
      Great job!


  3. Frayah Wilkey
    Jun 04, 2021 @ 20:54:11

    1. Criterion-related validity is one of the traditional types of validity used for many different scientific studies and measures. This type of validity is focused on the extent which the measure/instrument confirms or predicts a criterion measure. Criterion-related is so important because it tells us if the instrument used is a good predictor of some specific criterion- if it is not a quality predictor of the criterion we’re measuring, then results would be moot. It is especially important to use in the mental health field because we rely on instruments to help us form diagnoses and treatment plans. If an instrument is designed to measure depression but has low criterion-related validity, it may not actually be accurately assessing the client’s depressive symptoms. This could lead to unhelpful interventions or incorrect diagnosis because the instrument is not a good confirmation or predictor of the criterion, in this case being depression. It is important for therapists to be confident that their measures have good criterion-related validity so that predictions and confirmations can be made in good faith.
    2. Convergent evidence validity refers to the notion that an instrument will be related to others that it should be positively related to in theory. This means that if a scale measuring for ADHD symptoms shows high positive correlation to another measure of ADHD symptoms, there is good convergent evidence. In comparison, discriminant evidence is shown when the instrument being used is not correlated with variables that it should differ from. For example, an instrument measuring ADHD not correlation with an instrument that measures anxiety would have evidence of discriminant validity.
    3. I think one of the most important aspects of communicating results is to “optimize the power of test”. This helps the client understand that the measure may be really helpful in some ways but it isn’t a definitive truth that defines them. Mental health services are really stigmatized and results may reinforce embarrassment a client feels so clinicians should make sure that they explain every measure has limitations and doesn’t “speak the truth”. I also found the point about descriptive score vs. numerical scores important and the need to explain those terms, such as percentile. Similar to the example in the text, a client may hear that they were in the 60th percentile and think lowly of themselves because they believe they received a 60%. If a clinician takes the time to explain what 60th percentile means, the client may feel more confident in their results or better understand what their scoring means. Clinicians can’t assume that everyone will understand the interpretation of results so it is extremely important to explain and rectify misconceptions because ultimately, the results effect the client the most so they should understand them. This is also in line with the point about providing a range- this simple tool can make results a lot more digestible and easily understood especially for those who may struggle with statistics or measurement concepts. Lastly, the section on parent discussion stood out to me, especially when informing of a specific diagnosis. This can be really hard on parents and it can change their world so we shouldn’t approach it without compassion or ‘clinically’- rather explain the results in a clear manner that is easily understood so that parent’s may have an easier time processing difficult information.
    4. The ‘what’ and ‘how’ are essential when a clinician communicates results. Mental health services are not one sided and the client should feel equal in their understanding of their treatment. Ultimately, we are there to serve them so it would be, in my opinion, unethical to leave them confused and in the dark about their own measures and results. Transparency and good communication will help built rapport and guide both the clinician and the client in treatment plans and progress. As the text notes, client questions should be welcomed and they should leave the session feeling comfortable with their understanding of the results and treatment overall. Asking questions can be difficult for clients and they may feel embarrassed so how we communicate should be handled carefully.


  4. Maria Yoana
    Jun 05, 2021 @ 16:02:08

    (1) Wishton (2013) explains how in assessment there were historically three traditional categories of validity. content, criterion and construct validity and despite the most common is construct related, the criterion-related is important in mental health assessments because it analyzes how well the instrument predicts to an outcome criterion. If is predictive of some behavior in the future or demonstrate a meaningful measure of a behavior in the future. In my understanding this category will help to assess in mental health, situations that need certain prediction, like cognitive or personality tests in selection procedures that provide information about which candidates are likely to deal better with job-related situations or an educational test which are predictive of college performance. This not only provides a scientific role to the examiner in providing structured and trustable results but also will provide the client a comprehensive assessment of what skills or role will be a better fit for them.

    (2) Both Convergent and Discriminant evidence are based in the relation to other variables or instruments. But while a convergent evidence should show positive correlation with other variables that intent to measure the same or are theoretically related, the discriminant evidence should differ from other variables or instruments that are theoretically different or have a certain degree of excludability.
    A good example for a convergent evidence will be an intelligence test, a validity will be shown by comparing results with other tests that measure intelligence and if results are significantly similar, then the instrument is measuring what is intended to.
    For discriminant evidence, I will pretend that I have an instrument intend to evaluate Borderline Personality Disorder (BDI) and when I compare with other instrument that evaluates Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) they could show similarity in areas that are common in both diagnoses like high risk sexual activities, manipulative relationships or drug use, if both instruments give positive results for the diagnosis, they are significantly correlated, then the evidence based in this correlational method probes that is not valid and needs to be reevaluated. But if the instrument has well discriminated the difference in mood swings, idealize or devaluate people and attention seeking, both test will show no significant correlation, that is discriminant evidence.

    (3) Wishton (2013) considers that through the counselling process, counselors are constantly evaluating, which highlights the importance of being mindful to communicate appropriately informal and formal assessment results. Our role as clinicians is important in defining a person past, current or predict a situation, the way to communicate results is therapeutically involved in the process of change during our practice. But working with humans there is always a possible error in our diagnosis and instruments also have an error range.
    Intelligence test results are difficult to communicate if they are low, and certain personalities with identity disturbance that will be stuck with the possible diagnosis we provide, as their “new identity”. However, I agree with Wishton (2013) in selecting what information to use, not that we are not being honest, but it is selecting what is necessary for the process and is going to have an impact in the counselling process. Considering here also the level of education that the client has, we can bring the language to an understandable level of if the client is the medical field and want to know specific detail, knowing the instrument, how was it built in a general way (reliability, validity, scores and others), will help to provide answers to the client about interpretations and limitations.
    I also learnt that an instrument should not be used as the only part of the assessment, it is important provide a complete assessment with background of the client, other instruments, complete interview and relational information from a third part (school, family, work, medical, etc.) this with the intention to show the client how a result from something that the client is experiencing is not only because they answered to a test in a certain way, but the test could be just confirming something that was suspected from daily interactions.
    Finally, is important to prepare the feedback for parents, for the understandable frustration they might feel if the results are not what they expected and evaluate the impact of this results in the family dynamic, parents or client feelings and monitor long term responses.

    (4) As I discussed in the last point, the feedback provided to a client or a parent can impact the client self-perception. The condition of lacking of “identity” or feeling emptiness could be filled by a diagnostic, and the result is not what we intend to do in therapy. It could change a life for a person if we communicate a diagnosis of Bipolar disorder but they never came back after the disclosure of results, that way the intention of the assessment could have been not the right one.
    The importance of “what” we communicate, starts in the moment we decide to use an instrument, the purpose of the assessment, the appropriateness of the instrument, reliability and validation used, and the impact that this assessment could cause, should be evaluated prior to assess, and when it is considered in best interest of client, the results will be collaborative expected for client and clinician and discussed in a therapeutic way.
    Respect the way we communicate (“how”), I can say it is not easy to communicate a client that they have a diagnosis of schizotypal personality, while in the general society we expect to be called “normal”, but if the process has directed as the client has a history of Schizophrenia in their family and is feeling rejected by their peers and forced at work to participate in social situation, then they could benefit for finding a clear diagnosis that could facilitate them to find the appropriate help and treatment and better mechanisms at work to comply with what is required. Also provide a sense of “normality” saying that is common and more than 200,000 individuals are diagnosed with this, per year in US, will provide better understanding and acceptance.
    The most important part in the assessment are the results, and what we do with them. To communicate the results will make the difference when it is done by professional that not only know the instrument, but also knows the client, context and the intention of using the instrument during counseling.


    Whiston, S. C. (2013). Principles and applications of assessment in counseling (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.
    Volungis, A. M. (Summer 2021) Class 3: Validity & Item Analysis [Power Point]. PSY 504 Psychological Measurement. Assumption University.


    • Morgan Rafferty
      Jun 06, 2021 @ 13:37:44

      I really appreciate reading your slant on the good that potentially follows relaying assessment results to a client/parent. My thoughts were more focused on the negative feelings a client/parent might experience. It is helpful for me to consider the positive feelings a client/parent might experience. It is an opportunity for the client/parent to gain clarity and reassurance and feel like they are not alone. Thanks so much for sharing your insight.


  5. Kaitlyn Tonkin
    Jun 05, 2021 @ 16:14:47

    I really liked the point you made about clinicians doing their best to “optimize the power of test”. I especially liked how you highlighted the importance of clinicians explaining to their clients that tests have limitations and it doesn’t necessarily communicate the complete truth about someone’s diagnosis. Bringing up the point of stigma here was really interesting and I completely agree with you. It’s the clinician’s job to make their client feel safe and comfortable and also that they truly understand what their results mean. In some cases, that might mean being honest with the client that there might be faults in the tests given. As clinicians, I think it’s very important that we work to break down the stigma surrounding mental health as part of the counseling process. Thanks for bringing this up, it was really thought-provoking!


  6. Morgan Rafferty
    Jun 06, 2021 @ 13:24:32

    1.) Criterion-related validity involves the degree to which an instrument is a good predictor of a certain criterion. For example, if a student’s SAT score is effective at predicting their success in college (in terms of GPA), then the SAT has good criterion-related validity. This is important when it comes to mental health assessments because if an assessment lacks criterion-related validity there is risk of mis-informing a client as to whether or not they do/don’t have a mental disorder. This will impact the client receiving/not receiving the appropriate/necessary treatment.

    2.) When an instrument demonstrates convergent evidence validity it means that that instrument is related to other variables to which is SHOULD be positively related. For example, an instrument designed to measure depression has convergent evidence validity when it correlates highly to other instruments that measure depression.
    When an instrument demonstrates discriminant evidence validity, it is not correlated with variables from which it SHOULD differ. For example, an instrument designed to measure depression has discriminant evidence validity when it is not significantly correlated with an instrument that measures anxiety.

    3.) When it comes to communicating results to a client/parent, it is important to try your best to set the client at ease. It can be nerve-wracking waiting for/receiving test results. You might want to ask if there is anything about the assessments that they want to clarify before giving results.
    A nice approach is to provide any positive feedback before negative feedback. It is important to be sensitive to the fact that your client/parent might struggle hearing negative feedback from an assessment.

    4.) “What” you communicate and “how” you communicate the results of mental health assessments is very important. Information might be confusing. It is important to start simple and ensure that the client/parent is comprehending the meaning behind assessment results. It is important to move at a slow pace and not rush through delivering the results. Perhaps you can print out a hard copy of a description of the results for the client/parent to review after you meeting with them. It is important to be empathetic and gentle. Paying attention to the reaction of your client/parent is crucial. I can imagine it would be overwhelming to be in the position of hearing results from a mental health assessment and trying not only to make sense of the results but also to emotionally navigate what this means for an individual.


    • Lisa Andrianopoulos
      Jun 06, 2021 @ 18:16:44

      I really like your point about starting off with positive attributes. Makes the next part easier to absorb I think, especially if you can wrap it all together at the end. The assistant principal at my school recently started doing something awesome before student support meetings with parents. He asks for everyone at the meeting to do a “shout out” about the student by highlighting a strength or something positive about him or her. It sets a great tone for the meeting.


    • Jennifer Vear
      Jun 07, 2021 @ 11:01:06

      Hi Morgan,

      I really like how you mentioned, in question 4, that a clinician could print out a hard copy of the description of the results. I could see how receiving a difficult test result or diagnosis could be overwhelming at first and then trying to process it while listening to the clinician explain everything all at once. But if they have a printout, they can revisit their results or diagnosis later if they need to or if they forget something from the session. This would be a great way to increase the likelihood of them coming back for treatment or more sessions. I think if the clinician also put notes on the printout or had their client take it home and write out any questions they had for next time. This would allow them to process the information at their own pace and possibly be more open to hearing about the treatment process.
Great job pointing that out!


    • Giana
      Jun 10, 2021 @ 10:17:57


      I also liked how you mentioned starting off with positive feedback before negative feedback. This is important and allows the client to recognize what they did well first then you can tell them what needs work. I also agree that it is important to start slow when discussing results to ensure the client is following and understanding what is being said. Printing out a hard copy is a great idea so that they can follow along when you review it.


  7. Lisa Andrianopoulos
    Jun 06, 2021 @ 18:10:28

    Criterion-related validity, also known as predictive validity, refers to the degree to which an instrument accurately predicts a future criterion (the variable(s) an assessment is trying to predict). That is, it tells you the degree to which an instrument is a good predictor of the criterion it purports to measure. For example, an admissions director might be interested in an instrument that would predict how an individual might perform in college (thus the SAT). Criterion-related validity is important in mental health for a myriad of reasons. Say for example, a counselor is interested in using an instrument for making a diagnosis (immediate prediction) or for predicting the likelihood that a maladaptive behavior will occur in the future. It is critically important that the counselor uses an instrument that has strong support/evidence that it will accurately predict the behavior or disorder that she is interested in. This has implications for treatment planning as well as accurately understanding the client and his/her needs. Ultimately, this will impact the therapeutic relationship, the quality and effectiveness of your interventions, client outcomes and the likelihood that your client will stay in therapy with you. Your credibility as a clinician is at stake and most importantly, the well-being of your client.

    Both convergent and divergent validity refer to an instrument’s relationship with different constructs. Convergent validity refers to the degree to which an instrument is related to other variables to which it should theoretically be related to. It is important to use an instrument that relates well to other variables that are consistent with the construct it purports to measure. This allows for accurate interpretation of the results and leads to a valid assessment. So for example, if an instrument purports to measure depression then it should correlate positively with other preestablished measures of depression. However, divergent validity is also important and necessary for the accuracy of your assessment. Divergent validity refers to the degree to which an instrument does not correlate with variables unrelated to the construct it purports to measure. For an instrument to have good divergent validity, its correlation with variables from which it should differ should be low. So, an instrument that measures depression should have a low correlation with an instrument that measures trait anxiety. If one is interested in differential diagnosis for example, it will be critical to have good divergent validity since an overlap with instruments measuring a different construct would not provide useful information. As discussed in Chapter 4, this is important to consider when examining personality instruments because irrelevant variables may influence scores.

    In reading about communicating assessment results, the points that stuck out to me as very relevant include the discussion of interpretive handouts and the point that results should be discussed in terms of probabilities rather than absolutes. On the first point, interpretive handouts can be helpful, but in my opinion, only after you have throughly discussed and explained your results. This is true for a couple of reasons. First, I find that some reports I have read (either school based or private) tend to over rely on the handouts or computer generated report. This lacks individualized interpretation and may misrepresent the client. Every individual is different and a score for one individual can mean something very different for another, depending on other extenuating variables (e.g., the testing environment, client attitude on the day of testing, effort, other knowledge about the individual, etc., etc). For example, consider separate ADHD screenings for two girls at around the same age. One has a relatively stable home environment and concerns have persisted for several years. The other recently came to live with foster parents after experiencing significant emotional and physical trauma causing her to be removed from her home. Results of an ADHD rating scale were similar for both, but the results were interpreted very differently for each child. Communicating results via a handout or computer generated report lacks clinical insight and can seem “robotic.” Second, handouts and computer generated reports can be full of jargon and technical terms that gets lost on the lay person. Often, the client is left feeling confused and may be less apt to take the information seriously because they don’t understand it. Results need to be explained to the client in terms they can understand, and they must be communicated gently and empathically. Additionally, the counselor in communicating results needs to have an understanding and convey that all is not determined based on a single score. Rather, the assessment involves putting all of the variables together in order obtain a comprehensive understanding of the client and the situation.

    The most important thing you want to leave the client with is a sense of hope that change/progress is possible. If you discuss your results in terms of absolutes, you may have lost your client before you even began. In the counseling process, the goal of assessment is (at least I believe it should be) to obtain information about the client in order to inform treatment planning, create therapeutic goals and/or monitor change/progress. Chapter 5 talks about “Therapeutic Assessment” which is a collaborative approach with the goal of creating positive change. They further cite research that found that clients reported better outcomes when counselors communicated results of the MMPI using a collaborative model. This is a great example of the point I am trying to make. Clients need to be an active participant in the process and to do so, they have to believe that change is possible. The chapter also discusses the importance of focusing on one’s abilities and not just on one’s disabilities. I would go one step further in also thinking about helping the client to explore ways to use those strengths to help compensate or remediate areas of need. This can be empowering for the client.

    I think what I have discussed above speaks volumes about the importance of the “what” and “how” you communicate mental health results to clients. Communicating results in real terms that the client can understand, in a way that client feels you can only be talking about them, can embolden the client and strengthen the therapeutic relationship. Communicating gently and empathically serves a similar purpose. Finally, using a collaborative approach that instills hope and high expectations for a positive outcome is your agent for change.


    • Kaitlyn Tonkin
      Jun 06, 2021 @ 21:45:34

      Hi Lisa,
      I appreciated (and agree with) the point you made about client results differing depending on third variables, such as the testing environment or the client’s attitude. I thought the example you gave about ADHD testing in two girls with different home lives was really insightful and thought-provoking. I think this is something that we should absolutely take into consideration when interpreting results as clinicians. The testing environment can greatly affect the testing outcomes, which has been proven even in educational testing like SATs or general benchmark tests. I also think taking into account client attitude is important as well, especially because mental health and mental health assessments are so stigmatized. If a client comes in, for example for court-ordered assessments, they may not respond well to the questions or the test being administered, which I think is another thing clinicians need to take into account when they are interpreting and communicating results. Thanks for your insight!


    • Yoana Catano
      Jun 09, 2021 @ 10:44:08

      Your response is very interesting, I certainly agree in the way you explain that communicating results via a handout or computer generated report lacks clinical insight and can seem “robotic”; it is exactly the same with clinical labs, we get a report with different numbers, scales and even a way to interpret them, but it is not the same if you don’t get the chance to talk to your PCP about what those results actually mean and if you require treatment.
      This all fall in what you mention as a collaborative approach, both client and therapist will work together to find solutions and they will do it through language. Language is therapeutic even when we are communicating results, different kind of therapies have found the perfect tool in the transformation process of conversation, conversation generates meaning, and without getting in a deeper conversation, the results in your example, for the ADHD is someone placed in a foster care, could not even mean that she has an ADHD. It could be just a transitional phase during a traumatic episode and if the results are “absolutes” as you said, then this person will grow up with an antecedent and will be treated as another kid with ADHD instead providing a treatment focused in her trauma. Thanks for sharing your insights Lisa, it really helps to see theory in real life.


  8. Valerie Graveline
    Jun 06, 2021 @ 20:07:12

    1) Criterion-related validity focuses on the extent to which an instrument predicts a specific outcome of a certain criterion. I refer to it as predicting a “specific outcome” of a certain criterion because with Whiston’s examples of outcome-predicting instruments such as the SAT predicting academic performance in college, the ASVAB predicting performance in military, etc, it made me think that the outcome being predicted with these specific instruments is what could be considered success. Although in the mental health setting “success” is not necessarily being predicted with perhaps many of the instruments, a specific outcome such as whether or not a client is believed to have a certain diagnosis is. With mental health assessments, criterion-related validity is important because the instruments being utilized should only be predicting outcomes of exactly what the instrument is meant to measure, otherwise, the instrument is ineffective and unnecessary for both the clinician and the client. There are two types of criterion-related validity, concurrent validity and predictive validity. Concurrent validity is crucial in the mental health setting considering, as Whiston described, it is used when wanting to make an immediate prediction such as diagnoses. With this in mind, if a diagnosis was improperly predicted with the instrument being utilized, it would be incredibly unfortunate for again- both the clinician and the client.

    2) Convergent evidence and discriminant evidence are two factors to keep in mind when examining not only an instrument’s relationship with other variables, but its relationship with similar instruments measuring the same construct. Convergent evidence can be described as when an instrument is positively related to other variables that it theoretically should be related to. For instance, an instrument that measures anxiety should be positively correlated with another instrument that is said to measure anxiety. A specific example could be that theoretically, the GAD-7 should positively correlate with the BAI considering they both measure anxiety. With regard to discriminant evidence, this factor pertains to whether an instrument’s relationship with other variables is not related, specifically those of which it should not be related. Utilizing a similar example, the GAD-7 should theoretically not be related to the PHQ-9, as the PHQ-9 measures depression whereas the GAD-7 measures anxiety.

    3) A point that stuck out as very relevant when communicating results to clients (or parents) includes how the goal of therapeutic assessment should be to have the assessment experience be positive for the client, thus to help the client to work toward positive change. Considering the main purpose of the assessment being utilized is that it should help clinical outcomes for the client, then it seems obvious that the results of the assessment are explained in a clear way that will communicate to the client that the results may lead to a path toward some type of positive change in their lives. I believe it is important that the client knows that the purpose of being assessed and, for example, the assessment leading to diagnosis was not to stigmatize their lives or make them feel as though something is “wrong” with them, but to help the therapeutic process in potentially pointing toward what treatment methods the clinician can utilize to help them. Another point I found important regarding communicating results pertains mainly toward parents, but could also be said for clients themselves. Whiston describes how parents often struggle with being told their child has a disorder, therefore the clinician should be prepared to offer a therapeutic environment to help them through the stages of their reactions. This ties into the idea that communicating the results should be incorporated into the therapy and not be a separate, distinguished event. With the client themselves, it may be emotionally taxing to be told what the results mean and how it may impact their lives, so it is important for the clinician to understand and hear the client’s concerns and talk through them together.

    4) It is important in “what” and “how” a clinician communicates mental health assessment results to clients and/or their families because if the information is not communicated properly, there could be misconceptions about what the results mean and could potentially lead to significantly more distress for the client. Whiston mentions how clients prefer to receive results individually versus in a group setting, and this is notable considering clients have reported “more satisfaction, clarity, and helpfulness” (91) when the results are communicated in this manner. As mentioned previously, when the results are communicated in the therapeutic setting, it allows for the clinician and the client to collaboratively work through the client’s reactions, thoughts and questions when learning of their results. Since assessments in the therapeutic setting are typically given after rapport has been built between the client and the clinician, then incorporating explaining the results during a therapy session will also communicate to the client that they can trust the clinician and are in a safe space to express their emotions.


    • Sergio Rodriguez
      Jun 08, 2021 @ 23:46:45

      3. Hello Valerie, you’ve mentioned something vital regarding the communication of the results; it’s to consider the explanation of the result as another therapeutic session and not as a simple short explanation that will be brief and with no other
      I consider every time there a test result’s explanation. The therapist should plan an entire therapy session where he has an introduction, a full explanation, and of course, a moment for clarification and questions. But more than that, it would be important to be ready for any other outcome that can occur. I might think any crisis, for the patients or the parents, depending on the results or diagnosis, also have alternatives and immediate support for the parents or client.


    • Giana
      Jun 10, 2021 @ 10:25:40


      I enjoyed reading your response as it was very thorough and had a lot of good points. Making sure that the client understands what is being assessed is very important and we want to make sure we can provide them with that. Another important point you made was how communicating the results should not be separated from therapy since hearing results can take a toll on parents/clients. This is something that clinicians need to keep in mind so that they are not insensitive when discussing results.


  9. Katie O'Brien
    Jun 06, 2021 @ 21:22:12

    1.) Criterion-related validity is concerned with the extent to which an instrument is systematically related to an outcome criterion. In other words, when using criterion-related validity, we are interested in the degree to which an instrument is a good indicator or predictor of a certain criterion. There are two types of criterion-related validity: concurrent validity, and prediction validity. Concurrent validity is when there is no time lag between when an instrument is given and when the criterion information is gathered. On the other hand, prediction validity is when we want to make an immediate prediction (such as a diagnosis), however, there is a time lag between when the instrument is administered and when the criterion information is gathered.
    Examples of criterion-related validity would be whether the SAT predicts academic performance in college, or if elementary MAP testing scores predict performance on the MCAS. Likewise, in the mental health field, one might use criterion-related validity to see if an instrument designed to predict depression is actually a good predictor of depression in clients. It’s important in the mental health field, that if we give an assessment to a client, we are accurately predicting the outcome we are hoping to predict. Partly because assessments may be time consuming, expensive, and taxing on the client, but also because the results of an assessment can have a large impact on a client’s life. If an instrument designed to predict suicidal behavior does not truly predict that behavior, the consequences of an “invalid” result could be fatal.

    2.) An instrument has strong convergent evidence validity when it is related to other variables to which it should theoretically be positively correlated. For example, an instrument aiming to measure depression would have high convergent evidence validity if it was strongly correlated to another instrument that also measures depression. This would indicate that the instrument does a good job at measuring depression. On the other hand, discriminant evidence validity refers to when an instrument is not correlated with variables from which it should differ. For example, if an instrument is designed to measure depression, and it is not significantly correlated with an instrument that measures anxiety, it would have strong divergent evidence validity. You would not want to have a strong correlation between these two instruments as they are aiming to measure different things.

    3.) A few points from the “Communicating Results” portion stuck out to me as important. The first was that, according to research, those clients that received test interpretations experienced greater gains in counseling, and clients whose first session involved a more collaborative style were more likely to begin therapy than those whose first session was more information-gathering in style, and they also reported higher ratings of the therapeutic alliance. In PSYC 600, we are talking a lot about the importance of the therapeutic relationship in counseling and how vital it is to the “success” of the counseling. I think these findings show how appropriately going over the test results together can aid in building that relationship and ultimately, helping the clients.
    Another point that stuck out to be was the need to be prepared to present results in various formats to account for confusion over technical words and phrases, such as percent versus percentile, different learning styles (needing visual aids or other forms of explanation), and to allow at various points during and after the explanation of results, the chance for clients to ask questions. The last point is important in a) establishing that collaborative style that seems to lead to better client outcomes, and b) making sure that when a client leaves, they have a full understanding of what they, or their child, is dealing with and what that means going forward. Results could impact a family greatly and in discussing the results, we want to ensure the client doesn’t feel overwhelmed or completely lost in all of the new information. Breaking the results down in more than one way, being descriptive over using statistics or hard numbers, and answering client questions can help them understand what they’re going through and what it all means.

    4.) What and how we communicate results to clients is so important because often times, the results will have at least somewhat of an effect on the clients life. For example, a student whose results indicate ADHD may have to have special accomodations in school, a student with a learning disability may need to be pulled from class for services or may even need a special program. Clients may face uncertainty and stigma over these results. Whatever the case may be, hearing the results could be incredibly overwhelming, especially if they don’t understand the numbers and statistics being thrown at them, or aren’t given the chance to ask questions or clarify things they’re unsure of. It’s the job of the person giving the results to minimize this confusion and help the client understand what is being presented.
    It is also the job of the counselor to help the client or their family cope with this new information and figure out how to move forward from there. To do this effectively, the client has to have a good understanding of the issue at hand, and has to feel like they can trust the therapist. If the therapist never gave a client time to ask questions, never explained concepts in they could understand, the client may not be comfortable a) working with that therapist any longer, or b) if they are still working with them, may not feel comfortable opening up about whatever the issue might be down the road. The therapeutic relationship is vital in counseling and the way a therapist gives results can be beneficial to that relationship if done correctly. Done improperly, we may lose the chance to help a client.


    • Morgan Rafferty
      Jun 07, 2021 @ 23:13:52

      I really like the final point you make in this post about how the therapist should ensure the client understands the results of an assessment but above and beyond that, the therapist should help the client in terms of what next? Understanding results is one thing; knowing how to move forward, as you point out, is critical. I appreciate you making this point.


  10. Francesca Bellizzi
    Jun 07, 2021 @ 12:42:24

    1) Criterion-related validity can be viewed as the measurement / extent to how well one measure predicts the outcome of another. Specifically, there is a particular interest placed on whether an instrument (i.e. an assessment, exam, etc.) is a good predictor of a specific criterion. Criterion-related validity is common within the mental health field as practitioners often use instruments in order to form a diagnosis and treatment plan. Within mental health assessments, this type of validity is important because it allows assessors to predict an individual’s behavior or performance during another situation – whether that be the present, future or even the past. Similarly, criterion-related validity is vital when trying to relate a possible diagnosis to the symptoms that an individual is experiencing as well as trying to determine the best course of treatment. For example, if a clinician administered the BDI to a client who is reporting symptoms that correlate to the criterion for depression then the assessment – should in fact – reflect high levels of depression.

    2) Convergent evidence is when an instrument corresponds highly to a different instrument that measures the same concepts. On the other hand, discriminant evidence is when an instrument does not correspond to another instrument that measures a different concept. Simply, convergent evidence exists when something SHOULD relate and it DOES while discriminant evidence exists when something SHOULDN’T relate and it DOESN’T.

    3) In reading how to communicate results to clients and parents, the biggest thing that stood out to me was involving the client/parents in the process. Not only does this help the individuals better understand the information you are giving them, but it also allows them to ask questions and clarify during moments where they may be overwhelmed by the news they are receiving. Likewise, involving the client is also helpful when trying to build rapport with the individual and/or their family. This rapport building is particularly important when moving into the treatment stages as they may be more willing to share information as there is more trust within the clinician overall. This point also couples well with the factor of communicating the results as probabilities rather than certainties. Often, I feel as though when news / results are delivered as a certainty it gives the client the impression that there is no use in trying to get better or seek treatment. Instead of them interpreting that there is a possibility for help and return to adaptive functioning, the individual may see it as an “end all, be all” situation – when many of us know that is not the case. Overall, delivering these messages as a possibility also refrains the individual from pigeon-holing themself into thinking that they are their illness and in fact empowers them into making a difference in their own lives by taking control of the situation.

    4) The “what” and “how” in communicating results to a client is essential to clinicians as this is the moment that treatment begins. As previously discussed, the way you deliver the information and involve the client / family is important. Often, this information can be very confusing to those who do not have a background in psychology, and it is important to start simple and refrain from using psychological terms (i.e. standard deviation, percentiles, etc.). The last thing that any clinician wants to occur are misconceptions, and a lack of understanding. Moving at a slow pace and providing resources of psychoeducation are invaluable during this time in the treatment process. For instance, mental health assessments and post-communication should be carried out in the same way that a doctor would your post-op cancer biopsy.


  11. Lindsay O'Meara
    Jun 07, 2021 @ 13:31:35

    1. Criterion-related validity is used to find out how well an instrument is doing what it is supposed to be. One example that the book gives is the SAT test, and how well the results translate to success in college. This type of validity is common and important for mental health assessments, so there is limited risk of misdiagnosing clients. Clients are given assessments often in the mental health field and it is imperative to make sure that we are measuring and diagnosing them correctly.

    2. Convergent evidence validity looks for positively related variables. For example, if we are trying to measure for anxiety with one assessment, if given another, we should also see similar results in correlation with the first. Discriminant evidence validity is when we see different results depending on what we are searching for. For example, if we have tested for depression, we should not see a significant correlation with a test that measures another disorder.

    3. When reading about communicating results to clients or patients there were a couple of points that stood out. The first was being knowledgeable about the test and how to communicate the results effectively without confusing the client or misleading them when it comes to results. For example, communicating what being in a certain percentile actually means rather than just telling a client where they fall. Another point that stood out to me was, when giving feedback to clients or parents, we should also let them know about the advantages and limitations of the instrument that we are using. The last point that I feel is relevant, is making sure to encourage the client to have questions if they have any. There could be anxiety stemming from taking the instrument and as a provider you would want to ease the stress on the client and make them feel as comfortable as possible.

    4. It is important to communicate effectively with your clients when delivering mental health assessments to clients because you want to be helping them and not causing them for discomfort. You should give them feedback that is consistent with the instrument you have administered and understandable to the client. Ultimately this is something that is affecting the clients life and we want to be helpful and knowledgeable when delivering information to our clients.


  12. Sergio Rodriguez
    Jun 07, 2021 @ 13:51:44

    1. Criterion-related validity is considered one of the most important types of validities, and it is referring to how well an instrument predicts a criterion measure. In other words, the degree to which an instrument can predict the criterion it is supposed to measure. This important type of validity is important for mental health assessments because, for example, when a client is getting assessed for a particular situation like depression or anxiety, and to help with the diagnosis, the therapist decides to do a test, but the test does not have a good criterion-related validity so the client is going to be given a treatment for a different diagnosis and it’s less likely that the person starts making progress on his/her depression/anxiety problems.

    2. Convergent validity involves measuring the correlation between scores of two different tools measuring the same construct. For example, to show the convergent validity of a test of self-esteem, might correlate the scores on a test with scores in others test that purport to measure social skills, confidence, where high correlations would be evidence of convergent validity. Divergent validity concerns the extent to which it does not correlate with measures of unrelated or distinct concepts. A clear example of that a measure of assertiveness scale should not correlate with aggressiveness. Hence the difference between convergent evidence validity and discriminant evidence validity is the convergent validity attempts to show how one criterion could be related and measure for two completely different instruments; meanwhile, divergent validity does the opposite and shows how a variable or construct is different from the other. It is important to say that this distinction is hard to separate those constructs.

    3. I consider some relevant aspects to have in mind when communicating results to parents or patients. I want to talk about verbal and nonverbal aspects. For verbal, the key is assertive communication. That means being able to communicate so that the information given is clear, direct, and honest. It is vital to give enough information regarding any diagnosis, treatment, or results to the patient/parent to know you are not judging or just getting a wrong idea of the information you are trying to explain. Be open to questions; always offers the opportunity to ask questions or clarifications. Avoid any other type of communication style as aggressive or passive-aggressive because that’s going to have an adverse impact on the clients’ lives. Nonverbal communication refers to (facial expressions, gestures, posture, and so on). It’s easy to think of a therapist saying to a patient that he or she is so sorry about any unpleasant situation the parent or the patient is saying, but if the therapist does not have eye contact is using his phone or their body posture is not open or towards the patient is not sending the right message and more likely to not be comprehended as honest or by the client. Finally, cultural differences are vital in a country like the US where you will find diverse types of races, languages, religions, sexual orientations, etc. A quick example is how individuals from a particular cultural background may openly display their feelings, while individuals from another culture may rigidly control their emotions.

    As a psychologist, it is important to explain the what and how of mental health assessments to clients because without taking the time to explain, assumptions and damaging stigmas could arise from the results. Clinical health assessments are not meant to be understood by non-clinical professionals. It is their job to convert the result into a language that is easily understood. One way to do this is to provide the context for the results. For example, consider a child who scores very high on a reading comprehension assessment in school but low on the writing portion of the same assessment. Without a professional assessment of these scores to determine that the child actually struggles with dyslexia, the child may incorrectly be put into low-level English or reading classes. However, really the child should be in higher-level English classes which meet his or her abilities. After school, the child should be in special learning programs which address their writing/linguistic challenges. Without a clinical assessment of these results, the child’s educational future could be compromised. It is important that the context of any results are clear before taking the next steps to address the mental health concern. Also, incorrect interpretations of clinic results may result in stigma and shame. It is the clinician’s job to address this directly. Using the example of the child with dyslexia, it is probable that the child will feel shame or stigma as a result of their disorder. If they were in English classes lower than the child’s actual level of comprehension, they might start to believe they are not “smart enough” for higher classes. The stigma and shame around this will have a significant impact on their educational path. it is important that clinicians clearly explain that the scores on certain evaluations do not dictate the patient’s value or worth


    • Yoana Catano
      Jun 09, 2021 @ 10:58:19

      Hi Sergio,
      Stigma is very important when assessing in psychology, if the instrument or the evaluation used during counselling doesn’t have a purpose or the clinician doesn’t take the time to explain, it will definitely fall into misinterpretation of the construct evaluated, causing what we learnt in class, false positive of false negative. But also the way you mentioned in your example, the results can be accurate and the test can actually provide a very clear description of the client’s needs but if the clinician doesn’t know how to read the results, the treatment could be the wrong one and that would cause more damage in the client. We definitely need to be careful when using instruments, communicating results and providing recommendations, everything needs to be scientific and ethic and in the best interest of the client.
      Thanks for sharing your insights.


  13. Giana Faia
    Jun 07, 2021 @ 14:07:36

    1. Criterion-related validity involves the extent to which an instrument is systematically related to an outcome criterion. With criterion-related validity the main focus is seeing how much an instrument is a predictor of a certain criterion. An example of this would be if the GRE predicts performance in graduate school. Criterion-related validity focuses on the overall instrument and if it is a good predictor. This type of validity is important, specifically for mental health assessments in being able to predict one’s behavior based on their scores. If someone has a certain score on a depression index, we want to know does that predict suicidality? By using this type of validity, it better helps us formulate a treatment plan for their behaviors.

    2. Convergent evidence validity is when an instrument is related to other variables to which it should ideally be positively related. An example of this is if one instrument aims to measure anxiety and it positively correlates to another instrument that also measures anxiety. With convergent evidence validity, if you are assessing depression with another instrument that assesses depression, you would want a high validity coefficient. In contrast, discriminant evidence validity is when an instrument is not correlated with variables from which it should differ. Here, an instrument that is supposed to measure depression should not correlate significantly with an instrument that is designed to measure anxiety. For discriminate evidence validity, if you are assessing depression, you do not want it to correlate significantly to anxiety and you also would want a low validity coefficient.

    3. For communicating results to clients/ parents, we need to first be knowledgeable about the assessment that was given. This is important in case the client/parent has questions about the assessment itself. We should also be prepared to explain the results in multiple ways in case they do not understand the first explanation. We should also discuss results in descriptive terms instead of numerical scores. This is important because it mentioned in the book how one client thought they got 50% of the items correct when they were really in the 50th percentile. It is also important to discuss a range of scores instead of just one score so that the client has an idea of where they land. Another important point is to stay away from scientific jargon since it is unfamiliar to the client and more difficult for them to understand/ remember. It is important to incorporate the client’s feedback when giving them results and to answer any questions they may have to make sure they are fully aware of their results. Finally, another important point is to summarize the results at the end and to repeat any important points.

    4. Communicating the results of a mental health assessment is one of the most important parts of the assessment for many reasons. First, if “what” is being communicated is not clear, it can lead to confusion of results as well as misinterpretation. Misinterpretation of results can discourage them and how they view their performance. “How” you communicate results is important because you want to be clear and use nontechnical terms so that the client understands completely rather than just being told but not grasping it completely. If you are explaining the results using unfamiliar terms and statistics, the client may feel overwhelmed and confused.


    • Sergio Rodriguez
      Jun 08, 2021 @ 23:27:13

      Hi Giana!
      4. I really want to stress the fact that you mention related to the statistics explanation of any complex assessment could be so overwhelming for many parents or clients. That made me think of parents that I work with that sometimes get too confused by the reports that professionals like psychologists or teachers explain because sometimes as professionals we use a lot of technical languages and sometimes we explain differents statistics and we just assume parents will understand.
      It is important to remember that numbers can show whatever you want if you just mention the percentages and not the full background of the data.
      Hence it’s important to encourage parents to ask questions and double-check how do they feel about any test or results that are being communicated to them.


  14. Lindsay O'Meara
    Jun 09, 2021 @ 14:56:59

    Hi Giana!

    Having a deep understanding of the instrument that you’re using is so important. It makes me think back to Monday’s lecture where Dr. Volungis mentioned how awful it would look to show up and have no idea how to use the instrument. Having knowledge on the what, why and how to use the instrument is imperative to both your understanding and the clients. Not using jargon and expressing the results clearly to the client or parent is definitely important as well. We want to make sure that the client is understanding what we’re trying to tell them, and that we aren’t just confusing them with facts and figures.



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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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