The Role of Assessment in Counseling

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The Role of Assessment in Counseling
OBJECTIVES After reading this chapter, you will be able to: 1. Understand the importance and role of assessment in counseling. 2. Identify psychological constructs and associated operational definitions. 3. Distinguish between standardized and nonstandardized assessments. 4. Identify relevant historical issues of assessment and the implications for assessment today. 5. Recognize the role and importance of professional organizations with respect to the practice of assessment. 6. Identify competencies related to assessment practices. 7. Identify ethical and legal codes affecting assessment.

The practice of assessment entails the collection of information in order to identify, analyze, evaluate, and address the problems, issues, and circumstances of clients in the counseling relationship. Assessment is used as a basis for identifying problems, planning interventions, evaluating and/or diagnosing clients, and informing clients and stakeholders. Many novice counselors may make the mistake of identifying assessment as a means to an end, such as providing a label or diagnosis to a client. In this text, assessment will be viewed as a process essential to all elements of counseling. Whether practicing in a school, private practice, agency, or other health care setting, assessment plays an integral role. Assessment moves beyond the administration of measures. Assessment involves identifying statements, actions, and procedures to help individuals, groups, couples, and families make progress in the counseling environment. Although counselors have the opportunity to limit their scope of practice with respect to modalities, theories, and types of clients, a counselor cannot function without an understanding of the processes and procedures of assessment in counseling.

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