Understanding the assessment intervention phase of therapeutic assessment
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Finn (2007) developed a procedure that uses psychological assessment tools towards therapeutic ends known as Therapeutic Assessment (TA). The Assessment Intervention session was later developed as part of the TA as an improved method of preparing clients for feedback. The dynamics and effectiveness of this stage of TA have not been studied to date. The current study used a time-series design to follow two clients as they took part in a TA intervention. Participants were involved in ongoing therapy at the time of the study. Participants completed brief, daily measures related to their reported symptoms and presenting concerns before, during, and after the TA. In addition, clients completed longer, standardized measures of psychological symptomatology and therapy progress. Clients and the assessor (Dr. Stephen Finn) were interviewed about their experiences of the Assessment Intervention session and the resulting text was coded and interpreted according to a modified Grounded Theory Method. A time-series analysis revealed that neither client reported improvement on any of the daily measures of symptoms when comparing baseline and post-TA intervention periods. However, one client saw improvements during the TA period only and both clients saw global improvements in the scores reported on the standardized measures. In addition, clients reported satisfaction with the TA and, while therapists reported positive results regarding therapy progress, clients’ reports were mixed. Finally, qualitative feedback from participants revealed that clients and assessor experienced the Assessment Intervention as evoking something familiar but also new for the clients. The integration of the new and the familiar had to be carefully balanced for the clients to be able to experience the Assessment Intervention as beneficial. The context of narrative, a supportive relationship with the assessor, and strong, memory-linking feelings and insights were important for the positive integration of the new experiences.
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