Assessments in Addiction Counseling

Assessment are the development of gathering data through multiple facets. Assessment allow the clinician to gain critical information of their clients. Often this information is personal in nature, but provides the base for allowing a diagnosis to be determined. Assessment can lead to the determination, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, addiction, bipolar, or personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder. Through these assessment a determination of our client’s condition can be determined thus allowing the proper therapy and medication to begin. The results of assessment are determined not by pass or fail, or rated score in particular, but rather a range where the client stands on what might be considered the social norms. If we use a measuring stick as an example of what range our client could fall into when it comes to determining their disorder, we can see that there is no accurate single marker but a full measurement of potential landing spot of any disorders. It is important into day’s informational age that clients take no needed steps in determining their own mental status or prepare for their own assessment. A client that attempts to preview potential test or assessment question my incidentally allow for an improper diagnosis to occur. This would harm the client from receiving the proper therapies or medication they may need, it may also bare that the client has more issues than there actually are, or in the worst case it may appear that the client has not condition thus not receiving the needed help (“Website,” n.d.).

There are various types of assessments: Norm Referenced Test, Interviews, Observations, Formal or Informal Assessments and Test. Norm Referenced Test are test that are developed to specific targeted groups. Each question on this type of test is the same question given to any geographic area, age bracket, school setting etc. the same four year old residing in Tacoma Washington would be asked the same question as a four year old living in Melbourne Florida. The purpose of this test is to establish a baseline of appropriate answers that would fall into the normal range hence the term Norm-Referenced Test. It is important that a range of normalace is established in an effort to determine trends that reside outside of this range. This allows for the clinician to determine if a disorder exists (Framingham, 2016). Interviews are another method of assessments. Interviews present a dialog between the psychologist and the client were the exchange of information mostly history can be determined. It is important during the interview that a rapport is established this allows the short questioning process flow easier for both the client and the psychologist. By allowing the client to feel more comfortable they are able to open up with their guard down and communicate more effectively the on goings of their situation and family history. The intent of an interview assessment is to establish what the primary complaint is about. Gather historical information about the problem the client is facing (pass and currents). We will also want to gain information in regards to precipitating factors such as any psychiatric problems with any relevant treatment and responses. We will want to learn about developmental and social history. During the interview we will conduct a discovery into psychiatric and social family history. We should identify any history of cognitive impairment. Substance abuse is another factory that should be identified during the interview. Lastly, we should look at social and role functioning changes (“[No title],” n.d.-a).

Observation is another method in conducting assessments. Observations are used to make visual identification to how one interacts with their environment depending on the circumstances. There are a few routes in conducting observation assessments. Time sampling is one form of observation, it allows for observation at given times with the goal of establishing a generalization of behavior or specific noted issue as expressed by the client. Situational sampling is done by studying a client in various location under different conditions and circumstances. Naturalistic Observation is the concept where an individual is observed without interruption within a specified setting (“Behavioral Observation Methods – Personality Assessment – IResearchNet,” n.d.).

Each assessment offer some form of insight and each is effective in their own way. When looking at the various options of assessments and their sub-methods of implications it can be determined that though they can be done by themselves they work best when done as a combination. In my opinion I would say that an interview by survey would work best. This allows for the psychologist to collect a wide variety selection of data. Though this method we can look at family history (mental & physical conditions,), financial information, life style, and environmental surroundings. We can also gauge intellectual reasoning, self-esteem, and self-image. In addition I would say Norm Referenced Test provides an appropriate level of what the social norms and thinking are. Without this test it is more difficult to determine if the client is functioning outside the norms of society or on the same level as their peers. Each of these assessments offer some advantages over others.

Rigid assessment tools can take away the intuitions of human from the process of deliberating a plausible determination of a mental disorder. The Norm Referenced Test demonstrates such cognition. The Norm Referenced test has many downfalls in establishing mental Norms of school children and various age brackets. Norm Reference is base on specific subjects that are generally taught in school they fail to cover a broader level intellectual knowledge, poor test takers, or abstract learners. Tests with multiple answers fail to guarantee that the test taker actually knows the information. In addition this style test fails to determine test takers knowledge of political climate, utilized learned knowledge for practical real world situations (“[No title],” n.d.-b).

Most Reliable and Useful Assessments

The interview process seems to be the most encompassing standalone assessment of each discusses. The interview process provides a psychologist an opportunity to ask a wide variety of questions in regards to a client’s mental condition, self-image, self-esteem, history, and environmental factors. The interview also allows for the discussion of symptoms and frequency in which they occur. Often a client can be asked about the longevity of their issue at hand. How has it affected their life and functionality. A discussion of when did the first signs of trouble occur was it associated with an event such as trauma or illness. Another important thing that can be consider a benefit is determining if a patient has dual diagnosis such as a mental disorder and substance abuse, which often go hand in hand. In addition during the interview process we can discuss relationship discoveries. We can cover childhood, family dynamics, educational setting, friendships, and romantic relationships. Each of these can be conducted in various ways through the interview process (“How Clinical Interviews Help Diagnose Mental Illness,” n.d.).

Least Preferred Method of Assessment

Each assessment method carries equal weight in determining the ability of an individual. If I had to choose a method that would least be used it may be the Norm Referenced Test. I base this solely off the way the test is constructed. The test is used to establish a median rate of educational level of information that should be learned by a particular point or age. Often these subjects include things such as vocabulary, mathematics, science. Likewise an IQ test will cover many of the same things plus items such as memorization and patterns. Though these are good subjects to focus on they do not take into account the full spectrum of learned knowledge. There are numerous things we learned outside of the realm of school that are not included in each of these tests, many of which are socially related, reasoning skills, and life skills.


Behavioral Observation Methods – Personality Assessment – IResearchNet. (n.d.). Retrieved September 8, 2019, from

Framingham, J. (2016, May 17). What is Psychological Assessment? Retrieved September 8, 2019, from Psych Central website:

How Clinical Interviews Help Diagnose Mental Illness. (n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2019, from Verywell Mind website:

[No title]. (n.d.-a). Retrieved September 8, 2019, from

[No title]. (n.d.-b). Retrieved September 8, 2019, from

Website. (n.d.). Retrieved September 8, 2019, from

Published by stmd1980

Hi, and thank you for joining me on my new site. Here I want to take time to discuss different aspects of Mental Health that I have observed over the last 17 years. I wanted to use this blog as an opportunity to discuss research, personal experience, and though the comment section have you the reader share your personal experience with mental health either yours or in a support role for your loved ones. Here on this form I will be targeting topic such as personality disorders, Autism, addiction, and other such aspect that effect many of us throughout the course of our lives. It is my hope through sharing information we can learn from each other.

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