Assessment in Psychotherapy. Identifying core components in the assessment process

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Carey, Vincent
Issue Date
BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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The concept of assessment in central to psychotherapy. While the majority of therapeutic practitioners are in agreement regarding the importance of the assessment process, a great divide exists in relation to the form which the assessment process must take. While many advocates of the art of assessment may argue in favour of uniqueness over formula, those in favour of the science of assessment question the efficacy of particular methods. This study explores the role of assessment in psychotherapy by attempting to identify core concepts which are found in the assessment process of individual practitioners. This study has a thematic design, using a qualitative interview including scaling questions. It incorporates subjective feedback from each participant in relation to a uniformed set of questions which are interwoven into a semi-structured interview. The study explores each participants philosophy regarding the use of assessment within their own therapeutic work in order to identify common themes. This small-scale study has managed to identify four main components which individual participants highlight within their own assessment process, without claiming to have discovered a secret formula which may be adopted by all .concerned. The issues that arise around the assessment process in psychotherapy are complex and often unique to individual situations, however parallels do exist. While continued reflection on this subject which is so central to our work as therapists' is required for further knowledge, large-scale research may also offer some clarity in this area which is filled with ambiguity. Nevertheless, we must never forget the uniqueness of each individual participant in the assessment process; the client, the therapist and perhaps, the separate assessor.