Child Competencies

Competencies Required for Certification in Child Therapeutic Assessment
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•    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-2, 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, PAI, 16PF), to be interpreted in relation to parenting style

2.    Initial Sessions
2a. Skilled at helping caregivers and children formulate assessment questions
2b. Skilled at building a secure relationship with the child and 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. Skilled at tracking each family member’s motivation and readiness to change

3.    Early Testing Sessions
3a. Selects tests that will address the assessment questions
3b. Introduces tests to the child and caregivers as relevant to the assessment questions
3c. Administers tests in a standardized but collaborative manner
3d. Makes use of extended inquiry procedures for spontaneous assessment interventions, when appropriate
3e. Supports the child’s and caregivers’ affective reactions during the testing sessions and makes ongoing decisions about whether caregivers should observe child testing sessions
3f. Collects information from collateral professionals and other important figures in the child’s life when appropriate, involving the caregivers when possible
3g. Supports observing caregivers’ development of a “new story” about their child
4.    Family Intervention Sessions
4a. Skillfully uses assessment data to plan a family intervention
4b. Frames the session for the child and caregivers in terms of the assessment questions
4c. Demonstrates the ability to adapt to the family’s responses and to shift the plan midstream when appropriate
4d. Balances support and firmness in dealing with the child’s and the caregivers’ coping strategies, appreciating and adjusting for variability between caregivers
4e. Contains potential insights and works to draw them from the child and the caregivers
4f. Supports the child and caregivers emotionally and intervenes if the child or caregivers become emotionally overwhelmed during the intervention

5.    Summary/discussion Sessions
5a. 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
5b. Adapts the plan during the sessions according to the caregivers’ receptivity/reactions
5c. Actively involves the caregivers in confirming and modifying findings, attending to the different experiences of each family member involved
5d. Responds to the caregivers’ disagreements in a therapeutic manner
5e. Helps the caregivers tie assessment findings to the daily life of their child and family
5f. 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
5g. Is attuned to the caregivers’ state of overwhelm, and the different experiences of multiple caregivers
5h. 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
5i. Collaboratively discusses suggestions for next steps with the caregivers
5j. Offers to help the caregivers implement next steps
5k. Helps the caregivers to meta-process their experience of their child’s assessment
5l. Acknowledges the ending of the assessment

6.    Oral/written Feedback to Child Sessions
6a. 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 (possibly developed in collaboration with the caregivers)
6b. 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

7.    Written Feedback to Caregivers
7a. Written feedback to caregivers is free of jargon and appropriate for caregivers’ cognitive level and personality
7b. Document reflects the child’s and caregivers’ input during feedback sessions
7c. Document is both professional and personalized
7d Document shows vitality and creativity; it does not feel “rote” or “boilerplate”
7e. Suggestions for next steps reflect the collaboration of the child and caregivers

8.    Follow-up Sessions
8a. Helps to structure the follow-up session so as to meet the major goals
8b. Notices and comments on positive changes/strivings
8c. Helps the caregivers and child meta-process the assessment experience
8d. Effectively acknowledges the ending of the assessment with both the caregivers and the child

9.    Relationship with the Referring Professional (if applicable)
9a. Avoids going “one-up” or “one down” with the referring professional
9b. Helps the referring professional frame useful questions for the assessment
9c. Maintains contact with the referring professional during the assessment
9d. Attends to the possibility of unhelpful triangulations with the caregivers and referring professional
9e. Facilitates the transition of the child and family back to the referring professional after the TA

10.    Use of Consultation
10a. Is aware of own strengths and weaknesses
10b. Seeks consultation and collaboration when appropriate
10c. Is open to feedback, while taking own authority
10d. Is aware of own reactions to the child and caregivers and uses these therapeutically