Therapy often begins without use of psychological testing. Most therapists cite the lack of time as the chief reason for not using psychological tests.
However, in the last several years, a model of treatment has emerged in which psychological testing plays a very strong role in the counseling process. This model is referred to as therapeutic assessment. As a skilled interpreter of psychological tests, Dr. Griffith uses psychological testing, which provides a deeper understanding of each client’s issues. This understanding comes from the test scores and is also provided during therapeutic feedback visits. In the therapeutic assessment model, the therapist and client are collaborators. Dr. Stephen Finn refers to psychological tests as “empathy magnifiers” which facilitate the client’s understanding of their particular challenges as well as their strengths. In Dr. Griffith’s experience, the therapeutic feedback model helps clients obtain a coherent and user-friendly picture of their initial concerns in addition to organizing and effectively carrying out solutions regarding those concerns.
A client and therapist can reach an impasse even in the best therapeutic relationships. Consider a consultation for psychological testing. We use the therapeutic feedback model, in which a client and/or a therapist participate in setting some goals regarding self-discovery or insight into their current difficulties. The therapeutic assessment model, sometimes referred to as collaborative assessment, is a well-established practice model for use with adults, adolescents and children. Only standardized psychological testing procedures are used and feedback is provided to the client to enhance the overall effectiveness of the procedures. A report is completed and sent to the therapist, and consultation by phone is available as needed. The overall goal of this type of assessment is therapeutic movement in sessions.
A very helpful book in this area is by Dr. Stephen Finn, a leading authority in the area of therapeutic assessment, In Our Clients’ Shoes: Theory and Techniques of Therapeutic Assessment.