Overview of Therapeutic Assessment

How does Therapeutic Assessment produce therapeutic change?

    Finn and Tonsager (1997) theorized that Therapeutic Assessment helps clients by 1) confirming certain views they have of themselves, 2) giving them new information about themselves and a greater sense of self-efficacy, and 3) helping clients feel understood and accepted. Finn (2008) emphasized recent evidence that all humans have a basic need to be seen, understood, and accepted, and hypothesized that Therapeutic Assessment is healing because it meets these needs. Finn (2007) posited that Therapeutic Assessment helps clients develop more coherent, accurate, compassionate, and useful “stories” about themselves and the world, and that these new ways of “viewing” help clients explore new ways of “doing.” Similarly, Tharinger, Finn, Hersh, Wilkinson, Christopher, and Tran (2008) noted that many parents come for assessments with incomplete or inaccurate understandings of their children. Clinicians can use Therapeutic Assessment, and especially insights from psychological tests, to help parents develop more empathy and understanding of their children. Ongoing research is testing these and other hypotheses about how and why Therapeutic Assessment produces positive changes in clients.