Psychological Assessment in Clinical Practice: A Pragmatic Guide

Psychological Assessment in Clinical Practice: A Pragmatic Guide

Psychological Assessment in Clinical Practice: A Pragmatic Guide

Psychological Assessment in Clinical Practice: A Pragmatic Guide


There have been numerous books published that have dealt with psychological assessment. These books have ranged from the theoretical to the clinical. However, most of the pragmatics involved in the day-to-day activities of the psychological assessor often have been neglected in the press.

In light of the above, the primary objective of Psychological Assessment in Clinical Practice is to provide the reader(students and practitioners alike) with the realities of conducting psychological assessment in clinical settings where there is not the availability of a plethora of research assistants and staff. Indeed, most individuals end up being solo practitioners or at best work in settings where they must conduct assessment themselves. This multi-authored book, then, details the specifics as to how this is done.



Pragmatic Issues of Assessment in Clinical Practice

Sydney Ey
Michel Hersen

On the first day of a graduate psychology class in diagnostic interviewing, students are asked to describe what it takes to be a great detective. Keen observation, curiosity, strategic questions, perseverance, and deductive reasoning are some of the many qualities attributed to Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Colombo, and Inspector Morse. The instructor then asks the class to consider how these same qualities might be applied in clinical practice-especially in relation to assessment and case conceptualization. Many parallels are drawn, as being a good clinician often calls for similar skills and experiences as a detective. In fact, some cognitive behavioral therapists even describe therapy to their clients as a collaborative investigation of the problem and search for possible solutions as in the case of detectives or scientists (e.g., Beck, 1995).

Regardless of clinicians' orientation, the ability to carry out a thorough investigation of a client's presenting problem is key to psychotherapy (e.g., Morrison, 1995). Clinicians use assessment to understand what brings the client to therapy, what types of treatment might be appropriate, and monitor whether interventions are helpful. In particular, there is a growing emphasis on the benefits of one aspect of assessment in clinical practice-ongoing evaluation of client progress in therapy or formal treatment outcome assessments (e.g., Lambert et al., 2001; Truax, 2002). Yet there are many challenges in clinical practice

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