Child Competencies

Updated 8/29/22
Competencies Required for Certification in Child Therapeutic Assessment
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Competencies Required for Certification
in Child Therapeutic Assessment
• 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 child/family dynamics
1. Competency in psychological testing
1a. Skilled with at least one valid, broad self-report and other-report (e.g., parent/caregiver/teacher) inventory system (e.g., BASC-3, CBCL, M-PACI)
1b. Skilled with at least one valid scored performance-based personality test appropriate for use with children (e.g., Rorschach [CS or R-PAS], Roberts Apperception Test [scored], Attachment Doll Play, Wartegg [CWS])
1c. Skilled with at least one broad child cognitive measure (e.g., WISC-V, Woodcock-Johnson Cognitive) and one broad achievement measure (e.g., WIAT, WJ-IV Achievement)
1d. Skilled at integrating different types of tests with background information, interview data and behavioral/test-taking observations to make a coherent and developmentally appropriate individual and systemic case formulation
1e. Skilled at using play, drawing, or collaborative storytelling techniques as an assessment method
1f. Skilled with at least one valid, broad self-report inventory for adults (e.g., MMPI-2, MMPI-2-RF, MMPI-3, PAI, 16PF), to be interpreted in relation to parenting style
2. Initial Sessions
2a. Skilled at helping caregivers and children (if appropriate) formulate relevant and useful Assessment Questions
2b. Skilled at building a secure relationship with the caregivers through emotional attunement, collaborative communication, and repair of disruptions
2c. Skilled at clarifying the contract for the assessment with the caregivers
2d. Skilled at gathering background information in a way that helps the family begin to contextualize the child’s and family’s problems in living
2e. The session is client-centered and the assessor connects all non-obvious questions to the client’s agenda for the assessment.
2f. Skilled at engaging each family member and responding to her/his readiness to change
3. Early testing sessions
3a. Skilled at building a secure relationship with the child through emotional attunement, collaborative communication, and repair of disruptions
3b. Skilled at selecting tests that will address the assessment questions
3c. Introduces tests to the child and caregivers as relevant to the Assessment Questions
3d. Administers tests in a standardized manner
3e. Skilled at extended inquiries of standardized tests and other child assessment techniques (projective drawings, Fantasy Animal, individualized Sentence Completions)
3f. Supports the child’s and caregivers’ affective reactions during the testing sessions and makes ongoing decisions about whether caregivers should observe child testing sessions
3g. Collects information from collateral professionals and other important figures in the child’s life when appropriate, involving the caregivers when possible
3h. Supports observing caregivers’ development of a “new story” about their child
4. Case conceptualization
4a. Able to integrate test results, observations, and client background to form a coherent case conceptualization
4b. Can consider different theories in integrating the assessment findings
4c. The case conceptualization is grounded in the data, explains the clients’ and family’s dilemma of change, recognizes the clients’ strengths, and hypothesizes about what the parents and child would need to address current struggles
5. Family Intervention Sessions
5a. Skilled at using the case conceptualization 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. Assessor contains their own 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
6. Summary/Discussion Sessions
6. Effectively plans the Summary/Discussion Session for the caregivers, taking into consideration “levels” of feedback and each family member’s motivation and readiness for change
6b. Adapts the plan during the sessions according to the caregivers’ receptivity/reactions
6c. Actively involves the caregivers in confirming and modifying findings, attending to the different experiences of each family member involved
6d. Responds to the caregivers’ disagreements in a therapeutic manner
6e. Helps the caregivers tie assessment findings to the daily life of their child and family
6f. Plans and collaboratively discusses results from caregivers’ own testing in relation to their parenting, if it was part of the TA; recognizes and appreciates the way in which caregivers’ personality/psychopathology influence their parenting
6g. Is attuned to the caregivers’ state of overwhelm, and the different experiences of multiple caregivers
6h. Ties suggestions for next steps to the assessment questions and findings and goes beyond recommendations for (more) psychotherapy; takes caregivers’ personality/psychopathology /readiness into account when suggesting next steps
6i. Collaboratively discusses suggestions for next steps with the caregivers
6j. Offers to help the caregivers implement next steps
6k. Helps the caregivers to meta-process their experience of their child’s assessment
6l. Acknowledges the ending of the assessment
7. Oral/written feedback to child
7a. Skilled at developing feedback for the child (often a story or fable) that resonates with the child and aims to move the child and family forward
7b. Involves the parents in discussing the feedback that will be given to the child
7c. Skilled at delivering the child feedback to the child and responding to the child’s reaction, input, and affective state, as well as to those of the caregivers
7d. Invites the child to modify and/or illustrate the fable (if one is used)
8. Written feedback to caregivers
8a. Written feedback to caregivers is free of jargon and appropriate for caregivers’ cognitive level and personality
8b. Document reflects the child’s and caregivers’ input during feedback sessions
8c. Document is both professional and personal
8d. Document shows vitality and creativity; it does not feel “rote” or “boilerplate”
8e. Suggestions for next steps reflect the collaboration of the child and caregivers
9. Follow-up Sessions
9a. Collaborates with the caregivers to set the goals for the session
9b. Inquires about the clients’ reaction to the written feedback
9c. Notices and comments on positive changes/strivings
9d. Helps the caregivers meta-process the assessment experience
9e. Effectively acknowledges the ending of the assessment with both the caregivers
10. Relationship with the referring professional (if applicable)
10a. Maintains a collaborative relationship with the referring professional, avoiding
a “one-up” or “one-down” position
10b. Helps the referring professional frame useful questions for the assessment
10c. Stays in contact with the referring professional during the assessment
10d. Is attentive to the possibility of unhelpful triangulations with the caregivers and referring professional
10e. Facilitates the transition of the child and family back to the referring professional after the TA
11. Use of consultation
11a. Is aware of own strengths and weaknesses
11b. Seeks consultation and collaboration when appropriate
11c. Is open to feedback, while taking own authority
11d. Is aware of own reactions to the child and caregivers and uses these therapeutically