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Approaching Clinical Work...


Psychological Assessment

What is being assessed, what is the question that is being asked?  The first step of any good assessment, is to clarify what is called the "referral question" so that everyone knows what the purpose of the assessment actually is...  The average person would be surprised at how often a client comes in for an assessment, and when asked "Why are you here?" - they don't know. 

So, this needs to be addressed right up front, and here at Aspen Practice, P.C. we will type up your referral question, print it out and present it to you to read, and assure that we have a clear question to answer that is understandable to you. Also, this print out will list the initial instruments that will be used as well.

Thorough assessments are key to any therapeutic work, because if you don't have clear conceptualization of the case; well, you'll likely be working on the wrong issue or missing the mark therapeutically.  The majority of assessment reports completed at Aspen Practice, P.C. are about ten pages in length, and are shorter or longer depending on the complexity of the case.  Each assessment includes, at minimum, the following elements, dependent on the referral question.

  • Referral Question
  • Instruments Administered
  • Collateral Data
  • Current Medications
  • Social History

    Medical History

    Psychiatric or Psychological History

  • Intellectual, Cognitive and Academic Abilities

  • Personality Assessment

  • Substance Abuse Assessment

  • Mental Status Interview

  • Diagnostic Impressions

  • Recommendations

Assessments may include subsections on Adaptive Behavior, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or Substance Abuse, etc. to more clearly target certain issues in the referral question.  And, all assessment will provide a diagnosis or no diagnosis, a rationale and recommendations.  All clients are also offered a Results Session to assure that they understand the findings, and the rationale for findings as well as handle any questions associated with the assessment.

Therapy

Compassion and empathy have long proven to be the most important therapeutic tools available to an evaluator or a therapist.  And, it is through this window that services are offered at Aspen Practice, P.C.  While of late there has been a great deal of emphasis on what are called Evidence Based Practices, these threads have held regardless of the modality of service. 

The model here at Aspen Practice, P.C. is what is not too often referred to as 'clinical common sense,' and best described through the studies made by Consumer Reports on effectiveness of psychotherapy (November, 1995).  Essentially, this study supported other large studies (called meta-analytic studies) that state that if a recognized model for providing psychotherapy is used most therapies are equally effective and clients generally get considerably better.

All therapeutic services are initiated by an intake or assessment process, where a conceptualization of the presenting problem is offered after a through review of the client's Social History and Mental Status.  Recommendations are then provided for services, and if agreeable, a Service Plan is drafted with the client that outlines the kind of services they will be receiving, the length of service, goals and objectives as well as discharge criteria.  At times, when the client cannot be seen through Aspen Practice, P.C. at least three referrals to reputable well-trained professionals in the community will be offered.


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Last modified: 02/20/10.