Child and Family Assessment: Clinical Guidelines for Practitioners

Child and Family Assessment: Clinical Guidelines for Practitioners

Child and Family Assessment: Clinical Guidelines for Practitioners

Child and Family Assessment: Clinical Guidelines for Practitioners


Child and Family Assessment provides a practical, thoughtful and systematic guide to the theory and practice of family assessment. It combines a clear summary of current knowledge with detailed and adaptable procedures for practitioners to use, such as a script for a family interview. Not only does it contain clear and specific guidance for practice, but the materials are discussed within a broad theoretical context.


Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism (1711)

This book stems from twenty years' experience as an applied psychologist fulfilling a variety of roles. Mostly this has been in clinical practice, but it has also included experience of teaching and training with my own and other professions, supervision, consultation, professional representation and developing teamwork in multi-disciplinary teams. Looking back, my initial reaction to child work in the British National Health Service was one of abject dismay, if not horror, at the general disorganization and chaos-the lack of attempts to develop a systematic understanding of problems, and practices which seemed to be more defined by personal preferences of the therapist than patient need. This book is the result of what I have learned in my struggle to find a different path.

I clearly remember the anxiety when I first started working with families together, and how confused I felt; the confusion of trying to listen to five people at once and then the confusion of trying to work out who everyone was in a large case conference. After a while I began to have a sneaky feeling I was not alone in my confusion.

My initial efforts to remedy this were somewhat naïve, in that I assumed that the solutions lay in methods and the practical application of good psychometric principles. But I began by observing the practice of others and trying to define what seemed good practice, and studying what others had written. It soon seemed clear to me that there was something ethically odd about intervening in families without assessment-rather like a tradesman who is asked for an estimate and instantly starts to knock holes out of the wall. Many parents insisted: 'We really just want to know what the problem is'. I began to be interested in process, negotiation, the patient's view, contract, and empowerment by giving the assessment back to the patient and family in a careful and respectful manner. Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread. On the other hand, I can appreciate that to some it may seem equally foolish to try to assess something as complex as a person and their family context, so perhaps I have been the one who rushed in…

The experience during this work has taught me a lot. My views about the general disorganization of children's services have not changed, but

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