Adolescent Competencies



Competencies Required for Certification in Adolescent Therapeutic Assessment

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Prerequisite

•    Licensed for the independent practice of psychology in at least one jurisdiction
•    Previous training in family intervention resulting in the ability to think systemically about adolescent/family dynamics


1.    Competency in psychological testing
1a.  Skilled with at least one valid, broad self-­report personality inventory for adolescents (e.g., MMPI-­A, BASC-­2, YSR, MACI)
1b. Skilled with at least one valid performance-­based personality test for adolescents (e.g., Rorschach [CS or R-PAS], AAP, TAT-­SCORS, Wartegg [CWS])
1c. Skilled with at least one valid, broad other-­report inventory for adolescents (e.g., BASC-­2, CBCL, PSI, PIC-­2)
1d. Skilled with at least one current broad adolescent cognitive measure (e.g., WISC V, Woodcock-­Johnson IV, DAS-­II) and broad achievement measure (e.g., WIAT-­III, WRAT-­4)
1e. Skilled with at least one valid, broad self-­report personality inventory for adults (e.g., MMPI-­2, MMPI-­2-­RF, PAI, MCMI-­IV, 16PF), to be interpreted in relation to parenting style
1f. Skilled at integrating different types of tests with background information and interview data to make a coherent, systemic, and developmentally appropriate case formulation


2.    Initial sessions
2a. Skilled at maintaining a balanced relationship with adolescent and parents in which each feels respected and that acknowledges appropriate hierarchical boundaries
2b. Skilled at discussing/negotiating issues of confidentiality for the adolescent
2c. Skilled at managing the system during sessions (e.g., handling conflicts that break out, keeping one person from dominating the session)
2d. Skilled at helping parents formulate assessment questions
2e. Skilled at helping adolescents formulate assessment questions
2f. Skilled at building a secure relationship with the adolescent and parents through emotional attunement, collaborative communication, and repair of disruptions
2g. Clarifies the contract for the assessment with the adolescent and parents
2h. Skilled at gathering background information in a way that begins to contextualize the adolescent’s and family’s problems in living and enlist the clients’ curiosity
 

3.    Early assessment sessions
3a. Skilled at selecting tests that will address the assessment questions
3b. Introduces tests to the adolescent client as relevant to the assessment questions
3c. Administers tests in a standardized and collaborative manner
3d. When appropriate, makes use of extended inquiry procedures for spontaneous assessment interventions
3e. Supports the adolescent client’s affective reactions during the testing sessions
3f. If appropriate, collects information from collateral professionals, involving the adolescent client and parents when possible
3g. Makes use of mid-­assessment meetings with parents to collect relevant background information and assess their ability to shift their story about the adolescents
3h. If appropriate, uses testing of the parents and feedback about such testing to help parents begin to see their contribution to the family problems


4.    Adolescent individual assessment intervention sessions
4a. Skilled at using assessment data to plan an assessment intervention with the adolescent or know when one is not appropriate
4b. Frames the intervention session for the adolescent in terms of the assessment questions
4c. Demonstrates flexibility in changing plans when the intervention is unproductive
4d. Balances support and firmness in dealing with the adolescent client’s coping strategies during the intervention
4e. Contains potential insights and helps the adolescent formulate own insights
4f. Supports the adolescent client emotionally and intervenes if the client becomes emotionally overwhelmed during the intervention


5.    Family assessment intervention sessions
5a. Skilled at using assessment data to plan a family assessment intervention or know when one is not appropriate
5b. Frames the family intervention session for the clients in terms of the assessment questions
5c. Demonstrates flexibility in changing plans if the intervention is unproductive
5d. Balances support and firmness in dealing with the parents’ and adolescent’s defenses during the family intervention
5e. Contains potential insights and helps the clients formulate their own insights
5f. Helps clients see systemic aspects of their family interactions and problems in living
5g. Supports the adolescent client and each parent emotionally and intervenes if the clients become emotionally overwhelmed during session
 

5.    Summary/discussion sessions
With adolescent alone
5a. Effectively plans the summary/discussion session for the adolescent, taking in consideration “levels” of feedback
5b. Demonstrates flexibility in changing plans if the session does not go as anticipated
5c. Actively involves the adolescent client in confirming and modifying findings
5d. Responds to the adolescent client’s disagreements in a therapeutic manner
5e. Helps the adolescent client tie assessment findings to daily life
5f. Is able to recognize and intervene if the adolescent becomes overwhelmed
5g. Suggestions for next steps for the adolescent are derived from the assessment findings and these links are made clear for the client
5h. Suggestions for next steps go beyond recommendations for (more) psychotherapy and include things the client can work on alone
5i. Elicits and is open to the adolescent’s input when discussing next steps
5j. Offers to help the adolescent implement next steps
5k. Helps the adolescent client to meta-­process the assessment experience
5l. Acknowledges the ending of the assessment with the adolescent client

With parents
5m. Effectively plans the summary/discussion session for the parents taking in consideration “levels” of feedback
5n. Demonstrates flexibility in changing plans if the session does not go as anticipated
5n. Actively involves the parents in confirming and modifying findings
5o. Responds to the parents’ disagreements in a therapeutic manner
5p. Helps the parents tie assessment findings to daily life
5q. Is attuned to the parents’ state of overwhelm
5r. Suggestions for next steps as relayed to the parents are tied to the assessment findings and go beyond recommendations for (more) psychotherapy
5s. Collaboratively discusses suggestions for next steps with the parents
5t. Offers to help the parents implement next steps
5u. Helps the parents to meta-­process the assessment experience
5v. Acknowledges the ending of the assessment with the parents


6.    Written feedback to adolescent and parents
6a. Written feedback to adolescent client is free of jargon and appropriate for client’s cognitive level and personality
6b. The document reflects the adolescent client’s input during the assessment
6c. The document is both professional and personal
6d. The document shows vitality and creativity
6e. The suggestions for next steps reflect the collaboration with the adolescent client
6f. Written feedback to parents is free of jargon and appropriate for their cognitive level and personality
6g. The document reflects the parents’ and adolescent’s input during the assessment
6h. The document is both professional and personal
6i. The document shows vitality and creativity
6j. The suggestions for next steps reflect the collaboration with the parents


7.    Follow-­up session
7a. Helps to structure the follow-­up session so as to meet the major goals
7b. Notices and comments on positive changes/strivings
7c. Helps the adolescent client and parents meta-­process the assessment experience, together and/or separately
7d. Effectively acknowledges the ending of the assessment with the adolescent and the parents


8.    Relationship with the referring professional (if applicable)
8a. Avoids going “one-­up” or “one down” with the referring professional
8b. Helps the referring professional frame useful questions for the assessment
8c. Maintains contact with the referring professional during the assessment
8d. Is attentive to the possibility of unhelpful triangulations with the adolescent client, parents and referring professional


9.    Use of consultation
9a. Is aware of own strengths and weaknesses
9b. Seeks consultation and collaboration when appropriate
9c. Is open to feedback, while taking own authority
9d. Is aware of own reactions to the adolescent client and parent and uses these therapeutically