Defining a problem
Specifying a hypothesis
Choosing and implementing a research method
Analyzing the data, drawing appropriate conclusion findings
Assessment vs. Diagnosis
• Assessment - process of gathering info about an individual's symptoms & factors that may aid in
development & maintenance of the symptoms
• Diagnosis - label given to a set of symptoms that tend to co-occur with one another
Case formulation- is a theoretically based explanation or conceptualization of the information obtained
from a clinical assessment. It offers a hypothesis about the cause and nature of the presenting problems
and is considered an alternative approach to the more categorical approach of psychiatric diagnosis.
Unstructured (not going in with set questions, more like a conversation), semi-structured, or
structured (written down question)
Who is the client?
Current coping (risk and protective factors)?
Recent precipitating events? (why did you decide to come now?)
History of problem?
Family psychiatric history?
Sociocultural background? Are they having difficulty adjusting to Canada?
Level of acculturation?
Observation & Mental Status
Incorporated in with clinical interview
Appearance, hygiene, dress
Conversational ability, eye contact
Relationship between verbal and nonverbal behaviours
Thought content, mood, perception, judgment, attention, memory, orientation
Insight into problems
May use Mini Mental State Examination – cognitive examination
Self- Report Scale –paper/pencil measures, commonly used
Questionnaire about thoughts, feelings, behaviours, etc.
Standardized so that the person’s responses can be compared to norms
Great normative data, do not take knowledge
Complex skillset -> in order to interpret their results
Specific how to administrate the test
Assess general intelligence, which is the global capacity to solve problems, as well as
specific abilities (e.g., vocabulary, abstract reasoning, similarities, )
Does not test social skills ->
E.g., Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Stanford-Binet
Mean = 100 average intelligence Neuropsychological – cognitive, sensor, motor and conceptual, perceptual, brain abnormalities,
Assess the cognitive, sensorimotor, and perceptual consequences of brain abnormality (e.g., tumor or
One single test cannot diagnose abnormal brain function
Profiles and patterns of response on multiple tests are used for diagnostic purposes, in addition to clinical
interview and behavioural observations
Brain Imaging Technology
Used to identify specific deficits and possible brain abnormalities (e.g., brain injury, tumor,
biochemicals, brain activity)
CT – Assesses brain structure
PET – Assesses brain activity –inject isotope in the veins and brain lights up where there is high
MRI – Assesses brain structure and activity (best one, however expensive) high magnetic
Personality – all assumes that a person responses differently in different situations
Projective – obvious
Assume that if people are presented with ambiguous stimuli, they project their
conflicts, wishes, feelings, and motives onto the stimuli
The hope is that the tests have the ability to get past peoples’ defense
mechanisms so they cannot present themselves in a guarded way
Rorschach Inkblot Test—view bilaterally symmetrical cards and describe what they see,
after the person answers, they examine which part they were looking, which colour
they were looking at. How common the response is?
The sign approach ^ if people would see eyes they have paranoia, very subjective , lacks
Thematic Apperception Test—view a picture and tell a story about the card who are
main characters, how does it get resolved, not high validity
Word Association Test – say mother or father, they will say the first thing that
pops into their mind.
Sentence Completion Test
Objective – not obvious how you should behave, get past persons ego/defense
Rate the extent to which items are characteristic of themselves
Available for both normal and abnormal personality and behaviours
Normal – NEO-PI -> rates on a continuum
Abnormal – MMPI, MCMI