Topics 3 & 4: Validity & Communicating Assessment Results {by 6/9}

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?


Your original post should be posted by 6/9.  Post your two replies no later than 6/11.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

37 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rachel Marsh
    Jun 07, 2022 @ 20:41:40

    1- Criterion-related validity indicates the extent to which an assessment can support or predict a specific criterion (Whiston, 2016). One example of this in mental health may be how well a specific assessment predicts engagement in substance abuse. This type of validity is integral to mental health assessments because of the way counselors utilize the results from these assessments to make decisions about treatment. Going back to the substance abuse example, a counselor could administer a substance abuse assessment to a client with the aim to predict the likelihood that the client would engage in risky substance use. Subsequently, the counselor would use the results to inform decision making on the next steps for the client’s treatment. Suppose this counselor was collaborating with their client to decide whether they are ready to move from an intensive inpatient substance abuse treatment center to less intensive outpatient substance use center or remain in the current facility, and this assessment is one of a few that the counselor is administering to inform the decision-making process. If this assessment indicates that the client remains at a substantial risk for engaging in risky substance abuse after intensive treatment, then they will stay at the facility. But if the assessment indicates that the client has improved enough to not engage in risky substance use, then they can continue to receive treatment but at a lower intensity.
    If this assessment is of adequate criterion-related validity, then it would be expected to accurately predict the client’s chance of engaging in risky substance use given their behaviors indicated in the assessment. But if the assessment is of poor criterion-related validity, then it would not accurately predict the client’s chance of engaging in risky substance use, and thus would not be an appropriate assessment to use in the decision-making process. Choosing an assessment of poor criterion-related validity, especially in a case such as this, would put the client at risk for engaging in dangerous behaviors and would not provide them with the necessary and even life-saving treatment.

    2-Convergent validity indicates the level of correlation that an instrument has with other measures of the same construct whereas discriminant validity indicates the level of difference that an instrument has with other measures of the same construct (Whiston, 2016). For example, suppose a counselor wanted to administer an assessment to identify maladaptive coping behaviors in a client and was researching available instruments to achieve this. A maladaptive coping instrument with high convergent validity may have a stronger relationship with other assessments that evaluate maladaptive coping behaviors. On the opposite end, a maladaptive coping instrument with high discriminant validity would likely have a weaker relationship with other instruments that aim to assess adaptive/healthy coping behaviors.

    3- When reading the tips for sharing results with clients/parents, two of the points significantly stood out to me. Firstly, was to provide an opportunity for the client to ask questions, share reactions, and provide feedback (Whiston, 2016). This point does a great job at emphasizing the importance of acknowledging the client’s experience in the assessment process. The results from an assessment can significantly influence the client’s self-perception. Given that, I think encouraging clients to share their reactions is a great way to debrief and work through some of those reactions with them. Additionally, I think that giving the client an opportunity to share feedback can help provide insight into things that a counselor can do in the future to make the assessment process flow better and ensure that the client is comfortable. Throughout the chapter, the writer emphasizes the importance of using assessment as part of the therapy process and not as an independent activity. In this respect, I think it is essential to continue to build therapeutic rapport with a client through assessment. For me, this point really highlighted that.

    4. What and how you communicate to a client can impact how the client reacts to not only the results of the assessment, but also the subsequent intervention process. Regarding “what”, it is essential to communicate results to promote transparency in the assessment progress. It isn’t ethical to report just the positive or negative parts of an evaluation, because it doesn’t give clients an accurate conceptualization of the results. It is also important to ensure that focus is equally on client strengths and areas of growth.
    Regarding “how”, it is imperative to communicate results clearly so the client understands what the results are and what they mean. This means minimizing discipline-specific language and ensuring the client understands that the assessment is not necessarily definitive and explaining results in terms of probability rather than definites (Whiston, 2016). Likewise, it is beneficial to report scores in a range rather than just one to account for possible error and variations in performance (Whiston, 2016?.
    Another aspect of “how” that I would argue is more important than clarity is empathy. As highlighted in the previous answer, a counselor should build therapeutic alliance through the assessment process. When communicating results this means involving the client in the process and inquiring about their reactions to the results and the process itself. It also means maintaining an empathic tone and being aware of the tone and body language you use when communicating results to a client.


    Whiston, S.C. (2016). Principles and applications of assessment in counseling (5th Ed). Brooks/Cole.


    • Ashley Torres
      Jun 08, 2022 @ 22:09:20

      Hi Rachel, reading your blog made me realize how important it is to give the clients an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. I focused more on transparency and vocabulary choices, but your point is a principle. If clients are not providing this type of feedback, then we will not be inform of weakness’ we can improve on or clarify.


    • Luz Rodriguez
      Jun 12, 2022 @ 16:03:36

      It is important to make sure client able to express themselves and be able to communicate with you in a way they feel comfortable and are able to express concerns with out holding back information that can be important to not only them but you as counselor.


  2. NikkiAnn Ryan
    Jun 08, 2022 @ 09:49:38

    Criterion-related validity refers to the extent to which an instrument is related to a particular outcome. In other words, it evaluates whether an instrument is a good predictor of a specific criterion. An example of this is whether an instrument can predict academic performance in college or job performance in a training program. Techniques such as regressions and expectancy tables are often used in providing criterion-related validation evidence. This type of validity is important because the mental health field often tries to predict certain behaviors and criterion-related validity becomes increasingly important as the behaviors being predicted are more high risk. For instance, if an instrument is intended to predict future suicidal behaviors, the instrument may not actually measure or predict what it intends to if it has low criterion-related validity. The ramifications can be detrimental if a counselor aims to predict a high-risk behavior, such as suicide, with an instrument that does not have adequate criterion-related validity and is therefore not a good predictor of the behavior.

    Convergent evidence validity and discriminant evidence validity both involve comparisons of one instrument with another instrument. Convergent evidence validity compares an instrument with other variables or instruments to which it should be positively related. For instance, if you were to develop an instrument for measuring Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), you could compare it with a well-established GAD instrument. In this case, you would want a strong correlation, or high validity coefficient, because it would indicate that your GAD instrument is measuring what it intends to measure as it compares with the established instrument. In contrast, discriminant evidence exists when an instrument does not correlate with variables from which it should differ. Keeping with the previous example, you would not want your GAD instrument to correlate with an instrument that measures a different disorder because it may indicate that the use of your instrument may not be validated.

    Communicating the results of an assessment is a key part of the assessment and counseling process. One particularly relevant point that stood out is that the communication of test results should be integrated into the counseling process rather than briefly discussing the results and moving on. Assessments should be administered in accordance with the focus of the counseling; therefore, it is highly relevant to communicate the results of the assessment to the client because it directly relates to the client’s reasons for being in counseling. The communication of the test results may also help the client better understand themselves, the basis of their treatment plan, and their progress. Another point that is relevant when communicating results to parents is monitoring the parents’ responses to the results, specifically if the parents are discouraged by the results. If a parent reacts negatively, their child may internalize their parents’ negative reaction and may doubt themselves, doubt their parents’ affection for them, and may worry about others having negative reactions as well. It is therefore exceedingly important for counselors to help parents adjust to potentially disappointing news, be prepared to answer questions, and make sure that any negative reactions by the parents are not internalized by their children.

    When communicating results to clients (or parents) it is important to be mindful of what you are communicating and how you are communicating it. The “what” part of communication includes not just the individual’s score on the assessment but also what the results mean. For instance, if a counselor told their client “you scored X on the assessment” and moved on, the client would likely have no idea what their score means and may misinterpret what they think it means in an attempt to make sense of their results. Therefore, it is important to interpret the results and communicate the meaning of a particular score to their client and how it relates to them so they understand the results and their implications for their goals and treatment plan. Another significant aspect of communicating assessment results is “how” you communicate the results. Counselors should integrate their general counseling skills into how they communicate results, such as being empathetic, genuine, and non-judgmental. Additionally, when determining how to communicate results, counselors should choose language that is suitable for the client to understand, including avoiding jargon or advanced statistical terms, without oversimplifying in a way that may be perceived as condescending. It is essential that counselors consider how they communicate results to their clients because it may help with establishing rapport and building the therapeutic relationship.


    • Sam Keller
      Jun 08, 2022 @ 21:41:42

      Hi NikkiAnn!

      I really liked the points you made about conveying the meaning of the score and not just the score itself. This makes it easier for parents to understand and gives them a better idea of the impact of the test results. I also liked how you talked about integrating the results of the tests into the counseling process. This can help empower our clients and help them feel more like they are involved in the process.


  3. Amanda Bara
    Jun 08, 2022 @ 13:11:40

    Criterion-related validity or prediction/instrument-criterion is whether an assessment is able to predict a certain criterion. For instance, an assessment determining someone’s placement in a graduate program would have to include criteria that accurately covers information one should have in order to be successful in the program. In relation to mental health assessments, this type of validity is important because it predicts whether someone is at risk for certain disorders. Predicting one’s behaviors can be beneficial in treatment so there can be preventative measures taken in order to decrease the likelihood that one would develop these disorders. Having a strong criterion-related validity is specifically important because it could mean the difference between an individual engaging in suicidal behaviors or not.

    Convergent evidence validity looks at how an instrument correlates highly with another instrument that is assessing the same construct. Discriminant evidence validity looks at how an instrument differs or is not correlated to other instruments variables which it should differ. For example, an assessment that measures depression compared with another assessment that measures depression should have strong convergent evidence validity because they are measuring the same construct. Strong discriminant evidence validity would be seen when comparing two assessments that are measuring different constructs including depression and anxiety. These types of validity are important because it helps counselors know that whether the assessment questions or variables are measuring what they are supposed to. It is important that assessments utilize the correct variables in order to make conclusions that are valid. For example, an assessment used to measure depression that has low discriminant evidence validity with an assessment that measures anxiety would not be wise to use (if only assessing depression) because it would be making conclusions based off anxiety measures and would be making inaccurate conclusions.

    It is crucial that assessment results are communicated to clients and parents effectively and appropriately. One point that stuck out was how important it is to educate clients and parents about how and why an assessment is going to be used, what the scores may conclude and what will be done with the results. Integrating the assessment process into the counseling experience will help client and their parents have less anxieties and more education for the long term. As a counselor being professional, accurate and factual with the results in a scientific way is beneficial to the client. It allows them to see things how they really are and what it means for them as an individual. A really important part of the communication process that I think should be highlighted is the client’s right to ask questions, request a retake and understand the results as well as their implications. This allows clients and/or their parents to feel like they are involved and educated about how the results affect them.

    Mental health assessment results could both be beneficial for the client or detrimental. The deliverance of such results could have implications for the client or their parents that “label” them in a negative way. Because such results can put labels on clients a counselor should be empathetic and open to their reactions. Helping the client to understand that these results do not make them any less of a person but will help to benefit them for the future is significant. In regards to “what” you communicate to the client is not just the numbers but the meaning behind the scores. The purpose of conducting assessments is to make conclusions which should be interpreted to the client correctly. This goes into “how” results are communicated to the client. Delivering the results in a clear, concise, and understandable way could mean the difference between a client’s frustration or ease of mind when looking at scores. Communicating with appropriate language that is simple and avoids mathematical concepts would be less stressful for the client. Making the client feel comfortable and understood during this process will help to develop a strong relationship and base for assessing throughout the treatment process.


    • Sam Keller
      Jun 08, 2022 @ 21:37:43

      Hi Amanda!

      I really liked what you had to say about being aware of labels. Labels can have a lot of meaning to the client in either a positive or negative way. It is important to realize the impact these results can have. I also liked how you mentioned keeping the language and concepts as simple as possible.


    • Ashley Torres
      Jun 08, 2022 @ 22:16:21

      Hi Amanda, I agree that the delivery of the results should be very precise because it can be detrimental. Even though we may not label a client, the client or their parents may not comprehend the results accurately. In consequence, they could categorize and label the client which could cause implementation of stereotypes.


    • Rylee Ferguson
      Jun 09, 2022 @ 19:24:31

      Hi Amanda!
      I appreciated hearing what points stood out to you about how best to communicate the results of assessments to clients and or parents. I think it was helpful how you acknowledged that there are two sides two conveying the information. Counselors need to balance their professional side that highlights the facts of the results with their empathetic side to connect with the clients and reassure them throughout the process to avoid unnecessary anxieties. I agree that both of these aspects as well as opening discussion to questions is important. I think this speaks to the rapport required when doing assessments because clients should be comfortable enough bringing up any concerns with their counselor.


  4. Sam Keller
    Jun 08, 2022 @ 21:25:05

    Criterion-based validity is whether or not your assessment measures or predicts the quality the test was designed for. For example, the GREs are supposed to predict which students will be good candidates for a graduate level program. If you define your bar for success getting above a B average, if all students in your sample got good GRE scores and passed their graduate classes then the GRE has proven to accurately predict success in grad school. This is important in mental health assessments because we want to know that the test will accurately predict/identify a problem area. If we use an instrument with low validity then we cannot rely on that knowledge while working in the field.

    Convergent evidence validity is when the scores on one test are going to correlate strongly with another test. For example if you have the BDI you would want it to correlate strongly with other tests looking to measure depression. Discriminate evidence validity is where you want the measures on your test to not correlate strongly with measures on another test. For example you would not want the BDI scores to correlate strongly with a test for anxiety. This is extremely important because we want to make sure the test measures for the specific trait we are looking to measure. If my test will give high scores if the person has either depression or anxiety we can’t isolate and identify the problem using that test. This is made even more important when you have disorders with high comorbidity such as depression and anxiety. If you assume that people with depression and anxiety have similar traits you need to make sure your test only looks for aspects of one disorder.

    When communicating test results to parents you want to be able to communicate clearly what the test was measuring, the qualities it is looking for, what the results mean, and the impact the results will have in treatment plans moving forward. Some raw test data can be confusing or misleading, such as performing at nth grade level compared to your peers. This is especially true with intelligence testing as it is broken down into many subgroups, and outlier results in different subtests can tell you more than a Full Scale IQ.

    How we share results of tests with clients can be the difference between the conversation being damaging to them and it being a positive experience. For some, a diagnosis can feel like the end of the world. To them we need to be gentle in our explanation, making sure we remove any judgment or stigma from how we describe the results. Make the test seem like a step forward in the right direction to getting help. For others, a diagnosis can be extremely reaffirming. It can let them know that they aren’t alone in their feelings or experiences. We can make sharing the results of tests a part of therapy and use it to encourage reflection and growth.


    • Patricia Ortiz
      Jun 09, 2022 @ 11:47:09

      Hi Sam!
      I like how you said that for some people the test results (diagnosis) might feel like the end of the world. That is true! and also that moment can be filled with anxiety and uncertainty, that is why we need to be empathic every time in session how you commented, always let the clients know that they aren’t alone in their feelings or experiences.


    • Tuyen Phung
      Jun 09, 2022 @ 20:49:16

      Your distinction between convergent evidence validity and discriminant evidence validity with specific examples provides me with a clearer picture of them. I like the way you emphasize its importance in mental health assessment by making sure that the test measures related traits of its measurement. Also, your idea of letting clients or their parents know that they are not alone in the experiences can lessen pressure on them because of their results. This can promote them to engage positively in treatment.


  5. Ashley Torres
    Jun 08, 2022 @ 22:03:52

    Criterion-related validity refers to how accurate an instrument measures an outcome. The purpose of criterion-related validity is to predict the outcome criterion. It has a focus on the instrument as a whole rather than individual items. For example, an employer may distribute a job performance test to a new potential employee. If the employee has a high score, then it’s predicted he will be a good fit for the position. This is important for mental health assessments because it can predict a client’s future experiences. For example, an instrument might tell beforehand how intense a client’s emotions can get. This instrument can also predict if an individual is at high risk for certain disorders. The client’s results will influence treatment/prevention options in order to improve their health.

    Convergent evidence validity are two instruments that have a high validity coefficient. On the other hand, discriminant evidence validity is the opposite because the goal is to get a low validity coefficient. These differ because convergent evidence validity examines how well two instruments are measuring what it’s intended to measure. Discriminant evidence validity tells us if the tool is measuring what it’s supposed to be by comparing them to other instruments that measure a different domain.

    Communicating results to clients is a key part of therapy. The process of completing and sharing assessments can be therapeutic to the client. It is insightful to learn about the way they think and feel and how it affects their behavior. Not only is it involving the individual in their plan, but it can influence their self-perception. Another interesting point that stood out to me was making sure both the client and parents are educated on their abilities and disabilities in order to highlight and support those areas. Communicating appropriate coping skills is also essential because it gives the client’s independence by utilizing strategies that will help manage what they’re feeling.

    It is important how you communicate clients’ mental health assessments because it could possibly do more damage. You do not want to offend your client with the delivery. Tentative interpretations of results are more helpful than absolute interpretation because it does not categorize a client into a certain area. If helpers use an absolute interpretation, then the individual might have a hard time with their self-awareness because they will feel fixed on their results. It is also important to use vocabulary that’s appropriate for the client or their guardian in order for them to clearly understand their results and avoid confusion. Visual aids are great tools to help a client visualize and track their results. It gives them a picture of the progress/ changes they have made while attending therapy which also helps engagement. Another important factor to consider is explaining the scores to the clients. An explanation of the positive and negative results will provide transparency therefore they will be aware and understand their results.


    • Kiara Mark
      Jun 09, 2022 @ 22:44:59

      I agree with your point about the importance of communicating to the client about their mental health assessments could possibly be more damaging. If a counselor was to use absolute interpretation to a client who has diminished self-perception they might think to themselves what is the point of going to seek treatment when I can not improve.


    • NikkiAnn Ryan
      Jun 11, 2022 @ 18:02:36

      Hi Ashley! I appreciate the points you made in your post. I agree with your statement about the importance of involving the client in their plan when communicating results and how their self-perception can be impacted. I think this is important for counselors to consider when they are communicating results because there is still a level of stigma associated with certain disorders and it can influence the way a client views themself. In turn, this may influence a client’s willingness to participate in treatment. I also like your point about communicating coping skills to increase a client’s independence in their management of their mental health right from the start, especially because they may go through a range of emotions after learning about assessment results.


  6. Tuyen Phung
    Jun 08, 2022 @ 22:53:17

    Criterion-related validity refers to the degree to which an instrument is associated with a particular outcome of criteria. In other words, it is how much an instrument predicts the outcomes of a criterion. For instance, most colleges and universities require international students to have a particular relatively high TOEFL grade, which is a test of English proficiency, to predict ability of the students in the school years. In mental health assessments, criterion-related validity is common and important. On the one hand, criterion-related validity helps to predict the tendency of a client’s mental health status. On the other hand, the validity can be a supportive source of effective treatment.

    Both convergent evidence validity and discriminant evidence validity relate to the comparison of one instrument with another instrument, but they are different in their relationship with other variables. Convergent evidence validity tests whether an instrument relates positively to a variable it should be, whereas discriminant evidence validity tests whether an instrument is not related to a variable it should not. For example, convergent evidence validity can be an instrument to measure self-esteem that correlates with another instrument of measurement of self-esteem. With discriminant evidence validity, an instrument designed to measure self-esteem is not correlated to an instrument of measurement of intelligence.

    When communicating results to clients, some elements should be taken into account. First, the results of clients should be discussed in the counseling context and focus. Also, it is necessary to know clearly information related to the assessment and results because clients trust counselors, just like a patient trust their doctor in the diagnosis of a physical disease. They want to know the information explained by their counselors. Moreover, explaining the results in accordance with the intellectual capacity of clients is important so that they can understand the results clearly and avoid confusion as well as exacerbate their conditions. Furthermore, results should be explained in terms of possibilities rather than certainty to avoid infallible predictions.

    The way and manner professionals explain assessment results to clients are significantly important in practice. First of all, misperception about results due to inappropriate explanations of the professionals can draw various negative consequences on clients’ emotions and acceptance of their mental health status. Moreover, an appropriate explanation can promote clients in treatment.


    • Patricia Ortiz
      Jun 09, 2022 @ 11:27:56

      Hi Tuyen!
      You explained everything very clearly!
      I agree with you that “explaining the results in accordance with the intellectual capacity of clients is important” This is essential in counseling because not everyone understands and reacts the same way, counselors should know well their clients and how to explain results clearly so the clients do not leave the session confused or how you well said, “do not exacerbate their condition”.


    • Luz Rodriguez
      Jun 12, 2022 @ 16:15:51

      I agree with the communication between client and couselor alot has to be mentioned in simple terms so that the client can understand what is being explain in simple terms. Sometimes we forget that some clients dont have knowledge to understand complex issues sometimes need it simplified so that they can understand there treatment or even explain to us better be able to confine in us there situations.


  7. Rylee Ferguson
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 08:09:01

    (1) My understanding of criterion-related validity is that it assesses the extent to which an instrument measures the behavior or behaviors you are interested in looking into with your client. It makes sense that this would be a very common and important type of validity in psychological assessments as many times you may want to use an instrument to inform if you should diagnose a client with a particular mental illness. If an instrument on depression for instance, is high in criterion-related validity then you can be confident that the results indicate whether or not the client experiences many symptoms associated with depression like anhedonia, sleep changes, hopelessness, etc. Then the clients test results can help you distinguish the likelihood of them having depression.

    (2) Convergent and discriminant validity are seemingly opposite types of validity. Convergent validity assesses the extent to which the instrument correlates to relevant topics that we expect it to be related to. On the other hand, discriminant validity assesses the extent to which the instrument is different from unrelated topics that we do not expect it to be correlated with. For example, if someone was creating a new instrument to assess depression in clients, we would expect it to be correlated with an existing measure like the BECK depression inventory. If it did not, then the new instrument would not have very good convergent validity. We would also expect the new instrument to differ from existing unrelated measures such as MMPI. If for some reason the novel instrument did correlate with the MMPI then we would say it had very poor discriminant validity.

    (3) The conclusion from Jones and Gelso (1988) that individuals found tentative interpretations of assessment results more helpful than absolute ones was very interesting to me. Perhaps this has to do with people not wanting to be definitively told who they are by someone else. Or perhaps receiving a tentative diagnosis means they see treatment as more hopeful rather than alternatively feeling doomed to suffer from a certain fate. I thought results from this study were particularly relevant because it demonstrates how the manner of explaining the same results can have noticeable effects on the future course of therapy. I think it is also interesting that the guidelines suggest always using descriptive explanations when possible rather than numerical scores. While I see how this might help a lot of people, I do think there are individuals whose minds work best with understanding numbers. Perhaps that is why it is also important and relevant to have multiple ways to explain things so that whoever you are working with can hear it in the best way possible for them. Lastly, it surprised me that when working with informing parents of children’s scores and diagnoses, they can go through a sort of grieving process that you should help them work through. I think this is very relevant as it highlights that you are not just working with the one client when disclosing results like these but that you also have a big responsibility to the family of the client.

    (4)Though there is still little research on communicating results, what does exist points to a relationship with how and what you communicate impacting treatment. Therefore in order to give each client the best chance to benefit from therapy, you need to work to give them adequate explanations they can understand in ways that foster the therapeutic relationship and give them more hope in continuing treatment. For example, it would not be very beneficial to immediately dive into the most intimate and difficult to hear results to a client in a group setting. This would heavily damage any rapport with the client and also goes against the results from Finn (2007) that suggest working up from expected results to conflicting difficult results with a client is best and from Goodyear (1990) that people prefer to hear interpretations individually. How and what you communicate is so important because of how positively or negatively it can affect your future with a client.


    • Tuyen Phung
      Jun 09, 2022 @ 21:04:41

      Hi Rylee,
      Your post provides clear explanations about convergent and discriminant evidence validity. I would like to focus on your idea of communicating results to clients with tentative interpretations of assessment as helpful. If I am a client who receives a negative result about my mental health and then I receive the results with tentative interpretations, I may feel less judgmental and more hopeful since I do not perceive it as a certain or unchangeable condition. Especially, when I receive it in a counseling context with empathy and support from my counselor, it may be easier to accept and improve it.


    • Kiara Mark
      Jun 09, 2022 @ 22:41:12

      Hi Rylee, I really liked your point about assessments affecting families too. I think it’s important that the counselor remembers depending on the age of their client there are also other people who are affected by the results of the assessment. For example, a client who is dependent on family. The family’s reaction to the information that was received from the assessment may also effect how they treat the client both good and bad. This can influence the results of treatment


    • Jonas Horan
      Jun 11, 2022 @ 15:26:14

      Isn’t it interesting that they talked about a “grief” process for parents but not for the individual themselves? I guess that the parent-child relationship is pretty unique, and I’m not sure if the kids would understand the significance depending on their age. Maybe its because the parents have higher expectations for the child than the child does themselves?


  8. Patricia Ortiz
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 11:20:33

    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.

    Criterion validity is defined as the external measure that exists before the instrument in question and that is accepted by experts as an adequate or satisfactory index of the characteristic that the new instrument intends to measure. It is about measuring the future performance of an individual in some significant variable (the criterion).
    There are two types of Criterion-related validity:
    Predictive validity and Concurrent validity

    Predictive validity is the degree to which the execution of an instrument serves to efficiently predict the future behavior of the people who have been examined and Concurrent validity is the degree to which the instrument measures the same thing as other existing instruments, considered adequate measures of the same trait.

    One example of criterion-related validity is in the personnel selection process where companies or employers apply assessments that are meant to predict or measure the future performance of the employees. The assessment results must correlate with the future performance of the employees.

    This specific type of validity is important in the mental health field because it helps us determine and predict performance or behavior in another situation (past, present, or future). For instance, if we found out there is a high correlation between loss of a job and depression (which can be measured by many variables) we would say that there is criterion validity between loss of job and depression. That is, the loss of an individual’s job can be used to predict a possible depressive disorder.

    (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).

    Convergent evidence validity tests that the constructs expected to be related are related.
    Discriminant evidence validity (or divergent validity) tests that constructs that should have no relationship, in fact, do not.

    For example, in research analyzing anxiety in first-time parents. To measure anxiety (the construct), two measures are used: a survey and participant observation. If the scores of the two measures are close enough (that is, they converge), this shows that they are measuring the same construct. If they do not converge, this could indicate that they are measuring different constructs (for example, stress and anxiety or phobias and anxiety).

    (3) For communicating results to clients (or parents), provide a couple points that stuck out to as very relevant (explain why).

    Communicating results to clients is essential in the therapeutic process. It also requires specialized knowledge and competencies. If the results of the assessments are not communicated effectively, clients may misperceive the results.

    Counselors must know about all the information in the manual of the test because manuals explain details of the instruments, how to proceed, and areas in which counselors need to proceed with caution.
    Also, counselors need to apply successful counseling skills, interact with the client, use non-verbal behaviors that help in the counseling relationship and encourage clients to ask questions. This is going to make the communication of the assessment results effective.

    To communicate results to parents, it is important that counselors understand parents’ views if their child has been diagnosed with a disorder. This is because this process can be overwhelming and frustrating for them. After all, it can be a lot of information to digest, so the counselors must be patient and empathetic with parents. To process everything, some parents and families may need that the results are discussed more than once. Some parents may need more explaining and more help than others, and that is totally fine and understandable.

    Counselors must be prepared to use a variety of techniques because every child and every family is different. When a parent learns that their child is diagnosed with a disorder or disability, they go through a grief process and need someone that helps them understand their child’s condition.

    Also, counselors should help parents focus on the child’s abilities and not just the disabilities. This is important because disability is only one part of the child. Clinicians should work with the parents to always have an active and positive role and make the kid feel validated and supported rather than a victim, failure, or rejected. Counselors should always monitor parents’ responses so the child does not internalize their negative reactions.

    (4) Why is it so important in “what” and “how” you communicate mental health assessment results to clients?

    Because counselors should know that every person is different and react differently to the same situations. Counselors should always communicate real, reliable, and precise information to their clients. Clients should always be involved in the process so that they can address questions about whether the results make sense and relate to them.

    Counselors should always communicate assessment results with respect, and empathy, and make the clients feel involved in the process. Also, always encourage the client to make questions and provide feedback, also, they need to make sure that the client is well informed about the results and that they are not confused.
    Counselors should always communicate assessment results with respect, and empathy, and make the clients feel involved in the process. Also, always encourage the client to make questions and provide feedback, in addition, they need to make sure that the client is well informed about the results and that they are not confused.

    Mental health assessments include reliable data that serves as a guide and helps to understand their behavior and their problems so, they must be well informed because when clients are well informed and psycho-educated about their problems and disorders, the therapeutic process is easier and makes it possible for the improvement to be satisfactory.


    • NikkiAnn Ryan
      Jun 11, 2022 @ 17:52:06

      Hi Patricia! I agree with the points that you discuss stood out to you as relevant when communicating results to clients and parents. Particularly, I like your discussion about incorporating non-verbal skills and encouraging the client to ask questions. I think that encouraging questions is valuable to the therapeutic relationship because it invites the client to be an active part of the conversation about the results, it demonstrates that the counselor is open and wants to help their client (or parents) understand the results, and it may help the counselor understand a little more about what the client is thinking regarding the results based on the questions they ask.


  9. Luz Rodriguez
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 11:35:07

    1. Criterion Validity is measurement of one specific measurement that predicts the outcome of another measurement. It takes the assessment score that are done from the assessment outcome measurement. It gives us information that will tell us about testing knowledge after with the comparison. With the mental health assessment, it helps to predict the outcome of the clients performance and behavior looking at past behaviors that they have experienced present feeling or behaviors as well of what they can keep feeling or change of feeling for the future behavior or outcome. By doing this it becomes a prediction of the behavior that the client is experiencing . When we conduct these assessments, we come up with a care plan for the client to help the client with the finding and be able the work on it.

    2. Difference between convergent evidence validity and discriminant evidence validity is convergent validity gives two specific measurement that measure the specific measurement that measure same item and gives you the relationship between them both bring it together. While discrimination validity gives the two measurements do not have any relationship or similar connection in common and become unrelated to the score measurement given. An example is when accessing the depression in students in schools for instincts the measurement form and observation form . when we are accessing and completing the observation and survey, the scoring of the two forms is close together this will tell you that the two actions done are connected to one another while if you discovered the scoring to be further apart this would let you know there no similarity with the two items and are discriminant validity in the testing results.

    3. For communicating results to the clients or their parents can provide a couple points like a relationship with client when we test as well as discussion of the testing and though explaining results to clients can bring a better understanding and communication between you as well as the client understanding of the testing that being done and build a reputation of confidence between you and client . Client may give you feedback that was experienced while doing the testing that can help you more in understanding as well as treating the client and maybe further treatments for the client to help then get better and understand their feelings and emotions. It helps the counselors to better understand the client in the areas that the client mite not be aware they may need help and understanding their point and making sure they are being heard and understood.

    4. It’s important in “ What and How “ we communicate mental health assessment results to clients so that the client can understand and fully know why they may be feeling that way not fully understanding. Its always good to simplify so that the client knows and understands the translation of the testing that we do as counselors. Explaining the results and letting them ask questions and as well as asking questions so they have a better understanding of what is being done or going to be done. This helps the client to grasp a better understanding of their conditions or know the triggers to the problems. It helps to bring forth the confidence in the client so they can trust you and be able to communicate better with you. Be able to confine when they don’t feel right or are having troubles it builds a reputation. This brings forth the feeling to the client that we are empathic to the clients situation as well as understand and believe what they are saying.


    • Sarah Kendrick
      Jun 11, 2022 @ 12:53:58

      Hi Luz! I liked how you discussed the importance of questions as it is important for both the individuals and the assessors to ask questions. I’ve noticed that when I ask questions of my individuals, you can actually see it in their expressions that they appreciate this. I know that I appreciate when my individuals ask questions as well! You/they feel heard and like their truly is a working learning relationship.


  10. Katie Gatto
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 12:54:19

    (1)The criterion variable is distinct from the instrument itself and is what the instrument is supposed to predict. One example of a criterion variable would be an individual’s IQ on the Stanford-Binet Intelligence scale. There are both concurrent validity and predictive validity to consider with these instruments. The difference between concurrent versus predictive validity is how long it takes to calculate the criterion information after the individual took the instrument. With predictive validity, there is some time in between when the instrument is given and when the criterion information is collected and assessed. Contrarily, with concurrent validity the criterion information is gathered right after the instrument is given. The goal of concurrent validity is to predict the individual’s performance or behaviors presently, such as for diagnostic purposes. This is one reason why criterion-related validity is used constantly in psychological assessments. Thus, determining a DSM-5 diagnosis involves strongly considering this type of validity. Predictive validity, on the other hand, looks more into predicting long-term outcomes such as the likelihood that college students will attend all four years of undergraduate college with the criterion being resiliency. In this example, the instrument would be given at the onset of the individual’s college education and then the criterion evidence would be collected four years later. Criterion-related validity is important in mental health assessments in part because it is crucial to be mindful of criterion contamination. Criterion contamination is when the collection of criterion information is altered by prior knowledge of the instrument itself. If an assessor has prior knowledge about the client’s performance on a DSM-5 diagnostic instrument, then the following diagnosis or lack thereof may be altered by this prior knowledge. Criterions must also be free from bias and reliable, understandably, to ensure the predictive outcome is as accurate as possible.

    (2) Convergent and discriminant evidence validity both consider if the validation of an instrument relates to other variables that are consistent with the use of that instrument as it refers to examining the instrument’s manual. Both types of validity also seek to assess whether there is an insignificant relationship between the instrument and incompatible constructs. Depression, anxiety, and other constructs of focus in psychological work are extremely complex; therefore, evidence of validity must be presented by using multiple forms of correlation coefficients. Thus, both convergent and discriminant evidence validity are considered in psychological work. Discriminant evidence validity refers to when an instrument fails to correlate with variables it is hypothesized to differ from. Contrastingly, convergence evidence validity assesses whether the instrument relates to variables that it is hypothesized to have a positive correlation. Discriminant validity is evident when an instrument designed to measure depression is not statistically related to an instrument designed to assess generalized anxiety. Inversely, convergent validity is evident when the instrument designed to measure generalized anxiety correlates highly with other instruments that assess generalized anxiety.

    (3) It makes sense to me that communicating test results should be interwoven into counseling sessions going forward, but I never thought about it that way before. The client should understand what their results indicate, and I am sure that this means following any assessment with psychoeducation. Still, I was surprised that absolute interpretations of results were more well-received than tentative interpretations. I would have thought that concrete interpretations would be more comforting because they eliminate any level of doubt, and good diagnostic confidence can be indicative of good medicinal and therapeutic treatment going forward. It also makes sense to reduce jargon and numerical scores when discussing the results with parents or clients so that they can best understand. One thing I also had not considered is to try and be mindful of the parents’ reactions so that it does not affect the child negatively. I think this is a wonderful point, but I am still unsure exactly how much I would be able to mitigate negative reactions in certain situations since the parents may not be as open to discussing their feelings. I was also surprised at the lack of research regarding communicating test results. I feel like this is such an important phenomenon that is interwoven into so many practices, so the lack of research feels somewhat neglective to me.

    (4) It is crucial not only to accurately and transparently indicate what the results may indicate, but also to do so in a way that involves collaboration with the client. After all, the goal is always to ensure a strong client-counselor bond. If a therapist discusses results in a way that exudes their authority as a psychologist, by either excessively using jargon or speaking of results as concrete, it may make the client feel intimidated or less likely to ask questions for fear of sounding uneducated. It is important that they feel open to asking questions, and to connecting what these results could mean for them specifically looking forward and inward. When talking about a test that everyone takes, it can be easy to stereotype symptoms or ideals about the diagnosis. However, the client needs to feel like they are not just another person out of millions who have taken that instrument. They have to feel seen, heard, and understood at all times.


    • Sarah Kendrick
      Jun 11, 2022 @ 12:47:35

      Hi Katie! I liked what you said about criterion contamination. I always first think of the individual having knowledge of the measure so I appreciate your example utilizing the assessor. I also like how you discussed stereotyping symptoms or ideals about diagnoses and how the client needs to feel like they are not just another person out of millions who have taken that instrument. I hadn’t quite thought about it in that perspective but it really is important to not let individuals feel that way, they aren’t just another score!


  11. Kiara Mark
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 13:04:08

    Criterion-related validity is one of the three traditional types of validity where the focus is the extent to which the instrument confirms (concurrent validity) or predicts to (predictive validity) a criterion measure (Whiston, 2016). An example of this is a job applicant takes a performance test as part of the job’s interview process. If the test accurately predicts how well the employee will perform on the job, then the test has criterion validity. This type of validity is common for mental health because counselors use a variety of tests and assessments to determine treatment. If the instrument used has low validity then it will be hard to determine if the treatment is best fit towards the client’s needs.

    Convergent evidence validity is the evidence that indicates the measure from an instrument is positively related with other measures of the construct (Whiston, 2016). For example, if one instrument designed to measure Social Anxiety Disorder and another instrument measuring Social Anxiety Disorder gets the similar results then they have high correlation so there is convergent evidence or validity. Discriminant evidence validity happens when an instrument is not correlated with variables where they should differ (Whiston, 2016). For example, if you are using an instrument to measure Social Anxiety Disorder it should not significantly correlate with another instrument used to measure Depression. Convergent evidence is used to determine if what is being measured has correlation with another instrument measuring the same variable while Discriminative evidence validity is two instruments measuring different variables and not being significantly correlated.

    Communicating results to clients (or parents) is very important for the counselor-client relationship. One point that stood out to me was to provide an opportunity for the client to ask questions, provide feedback, and share reactions (Whiston, 2016). I think is important so clients can feel included into the treatment process, understand what needs to be done, and let the counselor know if something is not working. A counselor might not realize that the client does not fully understand the terminology they are using or it was not clear about what is supposed to be done. It is important for counselors to set pauses after they have talked for some times and to ask the client if they have any questions or concerns.

    What and how a counselor communicates mental health assessments results to clients is important because it can influence the results of assessments and treatments. The “what” in the communication to clients includes the individual’s score on the test or assessment and what the results mean. If a client was told just the score of an assessment they might assume the wrong idea about the meaning because they were only told the score. They have to fend for themselves about how to interpret the information given to them unless they ask the counselor or research it. The “how” is how are the results communicated to the client. This can be the terminology the counselor uses and the tone of their voice. If someone’s first language was not English and counselor used a less common word or a scientific word the client might need them to say it in a different language or to use a word easier to understand.


    • Rylee Ferguson
      Jun 09, 2022 @ 19:29:35

      HI Kiara,
      I enjoyed reading your post. I liked how you mentioned that counselors should not just provide scores and let their clients fend for themselves nor should they discuss the results using too much jargon. This illustrates how counselors can make mistakes on both ends of the spectrum, not divulging enough and divulging too much technical information. This makes it all the more important to know your client and meet them where they are at with your explanation. Also checking in to see if they are following or have any questions can help to ensure counselors avoid causing confusion or stress for their clients after assessments.


  12. Jonas Horan
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 13:35:58

    1) Criterion-related validity represents an assessment’s ability to predict a certain outcome or tendency. Generally this means that the assessment predicts an event or outcome in the future, such as the SAT predicting future college performance. However, the term “prediction” can be interpreted more loosely to mean that, if an individual has a client’s assessment results, they can accurately have knowledge of some aspect of the client’s current situation. For example, the beck depression index could be said to “predict” whether a client is currently depressed. This type of validity is important for mental health assessments because it represents an assessment’s ability to inform a clinician about significant traits and tendencies, ranging from intelligence, to suicidal tendancies.

    2) Convergent evidence validity means that an assessment measures a construct in such a way that it correlates with theoretically similar constructs. For example, we would expect that an assessment targeting suicidal ideations would have some convergent evidence validity when compared to a depression inventory. Conversely, divergent evidence validity represents an assessment’s ability to distinguish a construct from a construct that should be distinct or contradictory, an obvious example is that a depression inventory should not predict optimism.

    3) I found it interesting how, at several points in the chapter it was suggested that communicating results should not be too aggressive in disrupting the client’s self image, even if test results indicate a discrepancy. I noticed this in the Finn (2007) findings about introducing the client to information in four levels defined by how well the findings reflected the clients self image, but I also noticed how it was recommended that test results be communicated “tentatively.” It sounds like it’s important not to present information in a way that is absolute, or in other ways that might disrupt the client’s perception of themselves, if the results are contradictory. I wonder if a more conclusive framing would be helpful if it matches the client’s self image? Or if it is always a good idea to be tentative?

    4) For one thing, communicating assessment results is a moment where the relationship dynamic between counselor and client can manifest in various ways, some helpful, some not. The way we conduct and communicate assessments with clients can indicate knowledge and competence, or it can make a client feel labeled and totalized. Communicating results properly will establish a collaborative relationship in which the client appreciates the expertise that you provide, without feeling that you are trying to impose a restrictive definition on their identity and experience.


    • Rachel Marsh
      Jun 10, 2022 @ 17:26:49

      Hey Jonas,

      I appreciate the tips and findings you discussed from the chapter about communicating results to clients. When communicating results to clients, counselors definitely should be aware of the impact that they have on their client’s in the way they report their results. Clients often internalize their assessment results, thus reporting the results in a tentative way rather than a conclusive way is a way to report the results in a more gentle manner. If a client’s assessment results directly opposed their self-image, than this may be confusing for them, but is something that the counselor can use as an opportunity to build therapeutic rapport and work through with the client. Overall, you made some insightful points! Greta post!


    • Amanda Bara
      Jun 11, 2022 @ 14:15:42


      You did a great job defining the terms in your post and I like how you elaborated the meaning of them in context to counseling. I like how you talked about the point in the text that a counselor should be careful how they communicate results so that the clients self image is not harmed. I also talked about this in my post as certain assessments can put a “label” on clients that may change their view on themselves. As a counselor it is crucial that results are presented in an objective way however they should be communicated with caution. Nice post!


  13. Sarah Kendrick
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 21:29:34

    Criterion-related validity refers to the extent in which a measure is related to a specific criterion and whether the measure is a good predictor of this criterion. In applying to a job or school program, the reviewers evaluate specific criteria that could predict if the individual would be an ideal fit for the position or program. If an individual has good time management skills, generally gets along well with others, can delegate tasks/work with a team, and is open to learning and change, these criteria may indicate that this individual is ideal for a job position in which these skills are required. For mental health assessments specifically, this particular type of validity is common and important as it informs the assessor of certain traits that individuals possess that may indicate risks. Assuming an assessment of anxiety contains items that accurately measure traits of anxiety, an individual soring high on the assessment is predicted to perhaps be diagnosed with anxiety.

    Convergent evidence validity refers to an instrument that is positively related to another instrument that measures the same variable(s). Discriminant evidence validity refers to when an instrument does not relate to another instrument that does not measure the same variable(s). If evaluating for convergent evidence, the assessor would test the correlation between two instruments that measure the same variable, such as depression (hopefully finding a positive correlation). If evaluating for discriminant evidence, the assessor would test the correlation between two instruments with different variables, such as depression and happiness (hopefully finding that these instruments are not correlated).

    For communicating results to clients (or parents), a couple points stuck out to me. Developing multiple methods of explaining results seems very relevant as individuals learn in different ways. One individual may understand how you explain results one way but another individual may not understand that way (perhaps the first individual is very intelligent and understands statistics while the other individual does not and requires more visual representations). I also found that discussing the results in context with other client information to be very relevant/useful. You can explain what an individual’s score means, but it’s more beneficial to further provide an explanation of what their score means in the context of other pertinent information. You can inform an individual that they are generally anxious, but to better understand what this means for the individual, it’s more beneficial to acknowledge that this may explain why they have difficulty turning their thoughts off at night before bed or why they experience intense physical symptoms such as increased heart rate and rapid/shallow breathing, etc. Providing examples of how their information and experience relates to their assessment can provide a much better understanding for the individual and fill in some of the blanks.

    It is so important in what and how one communicates mental health results to clients so that the client may have the most comprehensive understanding of their assessment. When communicating individuals’ results one is informing the individuals of their results/scores of the assessment. If measuring for depression and an individual is told that their score is high or If they’re given a total number, they likely will not know what this means. While they may have an idea or were informed that they were being assessed for depression, they may not know what a high or “15” indicates. It is important for individuals to be informed that they scored a 15 out of 20, indicating a high or severe score for depression. How this is further communicated to the client is also important as it needs to be explained less scientifically or statistically and more “normal.” Not only does the individual need to understand what a high score is and what it means to have severe depression, but it needs to be communicated in a respectful manner. It wouldn’t be beneficial to tell an individual, “you scored a 15, you’re severely depressed.” It would be more beneficial to carefully explain in a less “sciency” way to the individual what the different levels of scoring are (in this example perhaps low, moderate, high), what their score indicates, and then discuss implications for treatment.


    • Rachel Marsh
      Jun 10, 2022 @ 17:19:36

      Hey Sarah,

      I like the points you brought up in talking about how to communicate results. You make a great point when you mention that counselor’s need to report their client’s results in a respectful way where they understand it, but not using overly scientific terms. Overall, it comes down to communicating results honestly but also with empathy. Great post!


    • Jonas Horan
      Jun 11, 2022 @ 15:18:15

      The fact that some people might respond well to different ways of communicating assessment results occurred to me as well! I think that there are good general principles to start with, but it is always a good idea to adapt your presentation to the individual you’re working with.


  14. Amanda Bara
    Jun 11, 2022 @ 14:11:17

    Your explanations were clear and concise. I like how you included examples in your definitions to further explain your knowledge of these items. I agree that it is important that when communicating results to the client you include the context (or meaning) of the scores. Explaining the results in context and the meaning of their scores have implications for their treatment process therefore it is crucial that they understand how it pertains to their therapy. I also liked your inclusion of clients needing to “comprehend” the results of their scores and I think that is an important point to make. A client may know what their scores are on assessment but in order to comprehend it takes deeper understanding that is ultimately up to the counselor to provide. Nice post!


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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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