What is Therapeutic Assessment?
Therapeutic Assessment (TA) is a brief intervention using psychological tests to give clients a better understanding of their unique concerns. People come for a TA when they need help with a particular problem, want to understand themselves or their child better, or are facing a major decision they want input about. In TA, clients and clinicians talk about the findings of psychological tests to reach deep understandings about you and your concerns and explore next steps. This method is used with adults, teens, children, families, and couples. The clinicians who practice TA are guided by the values of collaboration, curiosity, compassion, humility, openness, and respect.
How do I know Therapeutic Assessment will help me?
Rigorous research shows that TA can help people with a variety of questions, problems, and issues. The data has shown that it helps people feel better about themselves, feel less distressed, and more capable of coping with the challenges they encounter in life. Various studies demonstrate how TA can help individuals take important steps to overcome difficulties. Also, research shows that children and adolescents benefit from TA. They have fewer problem behaviors,feel less distressed, and feel more hopeful about their future. In addition, parents of children or teens who are assessed feel better about themselves as parents and become more capable of managing their children’s problems and feelings. Quite often, when people participate in a TA, they experience the benefits that psychotherapy can take years to attain in far less time. [See the Impact section for detailed information about research on TA].
How does a Therapeutic Assessment work?
TA begins with the client and clinician discussing areas of life that are puzzling or troubling to the client(s). These areas can be specific to the client, an issue a couple is experiencing, or an issue parents are having with a child or teen. The clinician helps clients form unique questions to be addressed by the TA. For example, “Why do I let people hurt me and am not able to protect myself?”; “Why do other people keep saying that I seem so angry?"; "What can we do to improve our communication?"; "Does my child have a learning disability?”; "How can we manage our daughter’s meltdowns?"; "Am I smart enough to go to law school?”; or “How can I make my parents trust me more?”.
A central and important value of TA is collaboration. The client and the clinician work together to find complete and satisfying answers to the questions posed. Based on the client’s questions, the clinician chooses tests that can best help answer them. Then the client and the clinician meet and complete a number of tests. The reactions and thoughts of the client during the testing are important guides that influence the clinician. TA is a journey, taken together, with both experts (the client and the clinician) contributing to the process.
When parents are seeking help for their children, they are important contributors in the process as well. The clinician collaborates with the parents and discusses what emerges throughout the testing process.
At the end of a TA, the clinician and the client discuss the results of the testing and answer the clients’ initial questions in away that fits with the clients’ life history and circumstances. The goal is to help client’s arrive at ways of understanding themselves and their lives in a manner that is more accurate, useful, coherent, and compassionate.
What do people say after a TA?
At the end of a TA people have expressed appreciation with the process. For example, after participating in a TA, clients stated such things as:
“The therapist took the time to listen to my emotions and helped me gain deeper insight into why I felt what I felt…. It was not that emotion is wrong! You have to learn to deal with it.”
“I became aware that I could face my problems.”
“The therapist gave me a narrative that fit me completely. I had no more questions about myself.”
“The tests indicated things about both certain aspects of vulnerability, and also certain aspects of personal strengths. I liked the collaborative discussion of the test findings, and whether or not these fit according to me.”
“I was asked more about myself, about my personal experiences and ... yes, how I, myself, really perceived things, in contrast to what I have experienced in treatment before sometimes, that when you give a sketch of your biography you become immediately labeled in one way or another.”
“I understand my child so much better now. I get that he really is in pain.”
How much does a Therapeutic Assessment cost?
The cost of a TA depends on how many questions are posed and how many tests will be necessary to answer these questions. Also, the cost of a TA may depend on the specific fees applied by clinicians in different parts of the world. For a list of the clinicians certified in TA in different countries and their contact information see the Finding an Assessor page.
 Clients’ statements quoted from De Saeger H., Bartak A., Eder E.E. & Kamphuis, J.H. (2016). Memorable Experiences in Therapeutic Assessment: Inviting the Patient's Perspective Following a Pretreatment Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Personality Assessment, 98:5, 472-479, DOI: 10.1080/00223891.2015.1136314