Frequently Asked Questions

How is a Therapeutic Assessment different from a traditional psychological evaluation?

In this model, psychological testing is seen as a potential therapeutic intervention, as well as a way of gathering data to further understand a client. By adopting a collaborative stance, clients and referring parties are integral to the process of constructing questions to be answered and making sense of the test results. Clients are always provided feedback about their assessment results, both verbally and in written communication. Last, this approach tends to be more time-intensive, with testing occurring over the course of a few weeks, rather than a single day of multiple tests.

Who might be a good candidate for a Therapeutic Assessment?

Many people receiving mental health services could benefit from a Therapeutic Assessment (TA). Often, this approach is a good way to start therapy, as a thorough evaluation can help determine what type of treatment interventions might work best. Furthermore, this approach can be beneficial for individuals who have been in therapy for some time and feel stuck or like their growth has plateaued. As a TA can be emotionally intense, individuals who are in acute crisis are not good candidates. Additionally, clients who need a traditional psychological report so some entity, such as the legal system, can make a decision are often best served by a traditional approach to psychological assessment.

I already have a therapist. What is their role in this process and should I keep seeing them?

Before you begin a TA, you should let your therapist or other mental health professionals with whom you are working know you are considering this option. They can help you decide if this might be a good option for you. Often, I coordinate with therapists before, during and after a TA. In fact, most feedback discussions occur with the therapist present at their office. Clients who are undergoing a TA are strongly encouraged to continue seeing their therapist during the process, as therapy is another place where they can discuss what they are learning during the TA and receive emotional support.

Why does it take so long to complete?

In contrast to a typical psychological evaluation in which the interviewing and testing is completed in 1-2 days, a TA can often involve 6-10 sessions, depending on the questions asked and the number of tests administered. During a TA I hold a goal of deeply understanding the person and how his/her difficulties intersect with their life situation. In order to understand you and your life, time needs to be spent connecting and exploring the test results. It is possible to conduct a brief TA, which may be more financially viable for some clients. A brief TA can also lead to positive outcomes but may result in a less comprehensive understanding of you and your difficulties.