Information for Referring Professionals
The following information may be useful to professionals who are considering referring clients to the Minnesota Center for Collaborative/Therapeutic Assessment. Those wishing to consult about the approach or whether a client is a good fit are encouraged to contact Dr. David. Additionally, Dr. David is willing to come to practices or clinics to explain the model and the benefits to clinicians and clients.
Therapeutic Assessment (TA) was developed by Stephen Finn, Ph.D. and his colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin and the Center for Therapeutic Assessment. This semi-structured approach combines the use of psychological tests and therapeutic interventions, under the umbrella of a collaborative stance. TA follows a protocol outlined by Finn and includes the following: engaging the client in formulating questions and getting curious about themselves; administering standardized tests in a professional manner; using those test results to design therapeutic interventions that address the case conceptualization; conducting a feedback/discussion session during which the client’s questions are answered; and, providing a detailed, personalized letter to the client that summarizes the results of this intervention.*
There are now over 30 peer reviewed articles demonstrating the efficacy of TAs. A 2010 meta-analysis indicated that this approach may “have positive, clinically meaningful effects on treatment, especially regarding treatment processes.” Clients participating in a TA often experience a decrease in symptomology that is sustained over time. More specifically, a TA can have a positive impact on a client’s level of distress and self-esteem while producing an increased sense of well-being. Even clients who have had difficulty benefitting from treatment have had improved outcomes after completing a TA. Finally, TAs are beneficial in enhancing the client’s relationship with their therapist, and therapists often find that the approach deepens their work.*
*References available upon request.
What can I expect from you, the psychologist?
Depending on your preference, I will collaborate with you and the client to develop questions, and then directly address those questions verbally and in writing. I will also let you know beforehand if it is unlikely a question can be answered. During the TA, I will be in contact about relevant findings. Follow-up sessions are also offered to the client as a means of further helping them internalize the information presented.
What is expected of the referring professional?
Ideally, you will have some conversations with your client about this approach and can encourage him/her to start thinking about questions they might like to get answered. Early in the process, some contact is often helpful to get background information. While the assessment is taking place, your client may need support as this procedure can produce strong emotions; therefore, clients are encouraged to continue to see their primary therapist on a regular basis. If you recognize that your client is struggling with the assessment, do let me know so I can provide the appropriate support. If possible, and the client consents, the referring professional may attend the feedback session during which the results will be presented to the client. For referring professionals who have been providing individual therapy, typically this conversation occurs in your office, as your client is likely to feel most comfortable in that setting.