Aspen Practice, P.C., dba as Michael R. Bütz, Ph.D.


Approach to Assessments and Consultations...

There Needs to be Questions!

Effective assessment or consultation starts with questions, clarifying questionss, not answers. Before jumping headlong into these services, there are several questions that need to be asked to understand the functions, needs and wishes of those seeking services.

  • What is the nature of the service requested should be the first question when it comes to this kind of work.  Stated another way, what is the outcome being sought?
  • What is envisioned at the end of this process, is this a one time involvement, or, is the assessment or consultation seen as part of an ongoing effort set of services?
  • What degree of support does the assessment or consultation have and from whom?
  • What degree of resources will be committed to the assessment or consultation; both initially and in an ongoing fashion once the services are underway?

Informed Consent

Each recipient of an assessment or consultation service should know what to expect from the process, a time-line for how long the service is estimated to last and what the potential results will be - good, bad or otherwise. Informed consent outlines a variety of matters, but in essence it lays out the plan for services that all involved agree to at the outset. In our experience, however, there is always the risk of unexpected changes, changes within the larger environment, developments in the case, changes in the parties involved, leadership, or support that may compromise or complicate the assessment or consultation. In other words, factors that lay outside the consultant or evaluator’s control, but may impact the work being done.

Psychological Assessments and Consultations

What is being assessed or consulted upon, what is the question that is being asked? The first step of any good assessment or consultation, is to clarify what is called the "referral question" so that everyone knows what the purpose of the assessment or consultation actually is...  The average person would be surprised at how often a client comes in for one of these services, 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. will be clarified at the very beginning of the assessment or consultation process as part of the informed consent process.

While consultations are often a starting place that provides direction or ongoing interacitons, thorough assessments as events are key to any events that may follow, a vareity of forensic dispositions, therapuetic work, hiring or an individual's work future. It follows that if there is not a clear conceptualization of the case; the case will be centered on the wrong issues or missing the mark. 

Consultations are a starting place or part of an ongoing process, and so the length and detail of these may vary. On the other hand, the majority of assessment reports completed at Aspen Practice, P.C. are about fifteen 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 and Psychiatry/Psychological History)
  • Intellectual, Cognitive and Academic Abilities
  • Personality Assessment
  • Substance Abuse Assessment
  • Mental Status Interview
  • Diagnostic Impressions
  • Recommendations

All assessment will provide a diagnosis or no diagnosis, a rationale and recommendations.  All clients are also offered a Results Session based on who holds priviledge to assure that they understand the findings, and the rationale for findings as well as handle any questions associated with the assessment.