Chapter 3: Basic Features of a Clinical Assessment
What is a clinical assessment?
- Cognition, effect, behaviour and interpersonal style.
- Appropriate to the referral question.
- Requiring the collection of specific information.
- Evaluation, interpretation and integration.
- The purpose of the assessment is to answer the “referral question.”
What is the difference between a test and a clinical assessment?
- The assessment is a process (complex).
- The test is a tool (simple).
- Both are nomothetic (the test is more so standardized) and idiographic (the individual’s
response is natural… but the test results can be evaluated for accuracy.
What are the stages involved in a psychological assessment?
- There are five stages:
o Stage 1:
Clarify the referral question.
o Stage 2:
Plan data collection: what, why and when.
o Stage 3:
Collect the data.
o Stage 4:
Process the data: interpret, evaluate and integrate human error.
o Stage 5:
Communicate the results: written and oral feedback.
Why do you form the referral questions in stage 1? And how?
- Referral questions are used to clarify the goal and direct the process.
- The assessor has to consider the:
o Source: Who is asking what and why?
o Goal: what research affects question (able)?
o Client variables: What tests are appropriate?
What are the general goals of an assessment and their importance?
o Most often to direct treatment planning, accommodation and screening.
- Treatment Planning:
o Usually is based on an information assignment vs. team testing.
o Prognosis: prepare Px.
o Performance: Monitors effectiveness.
o Dangerousness: forensics.
What are the most common data-collection tools (Stage 2)?
- Interviews (different types, intake, personal history and collateral interviews).
- Observation (different times, different places observe type of behaviour and consistency: look
for triggers, role, and deception).
- Tests: standardized instruments.
- Context/history: case files, police files, school and records.
What are important considerations when planning data-collection (Stage 2)?
- Multiple sources exist: seeking convergence.
- Psychometric properties of tests:
o Reliability: consistency.
Accuracy (true): different kinds.
o Bandwidth: breadth of issues examined.
o Fidelity: depth in which issues are examined.
- Testing conditions:
o Influence responses validity (reliability).
What are other important considerations when planning data-collection (Stage What are other important considerations when planning data-collection (Stage
o Is cash money available?!
o Tests cost cash money.
- Client variables:
o Emotional state (fear, resent, forced).
o Intelligence, age attributes.
o Socioeconomic class, ethnic and cultural issues.
- Ultimate goal is: referral question.
What is the most important factor in data collection (Stage 3)?
- Accuracy: standardization.
- Administration is part of standardization.
- All four tools/techniques have standards in the administration.
Prep, place, manner.
o Observations: record, unbiased.
o Collection history (Px): Appropriate detachment (more information on page 76 of
What are some basic requirements for processing data (Stage 4)?