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Chapter 5 Assessment Methods and Techniques
Terms in this set (47)
Determine the problem targeted for intervention. Determine the issue in exact definable terms, when it occurs, and its magnitude. The problem should always be considered within the person-in-environment perspective and using a strengths-based approach. it should not blame a client and/or client system for its existence.
Macro Practice Problem Identification
Need group consensus about agreement on nature of the problem, its occurrence, and magnitude.
Throughout the Problem Solving Process
Social workers must view clients as experts in their lives.
Involving clients in problem identification
Clients should be asked what they want to see changed in their lives. Clients' definitions or problems should be accepted. Clients should be asked about what will be different in their lives when their problems are solved.
Family, Friends, Other Agencies, Physicians, and others who can be informants when collecting information to treat clients. They provide vital information because other professionals or agencies may have treated clients in the past. Family members and friends may provide important information about the length or severity of issues or problems. Informed consent from client must be obtained prior to seeking collateral sources.
Using multiple information sources to have accurate accounts on which to make assessments or base interventions.
Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)
21 item test, presented in multiple choice format, that assesses the presence and degree of depression in adolescents and adults.
The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
An objective verbal inventory designed as a personality test for the assessment of psychopathology consisting of 550 statements, 16 of which are repeated.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
A forced-choice, self-report inventory that attempts to classify individuals along four theoretically independent dimensions. First dimension: general attitude toward the world, either extraverted (E) or introverted (I). Second dimension: perception, divided between sensation (S) and intuition (N). Third dimension: processing. Received information is processed in either a thinking (T) or feeling (F) style. Fourth dimension: judging (J) versus perceiving (P).
Rorschach Inkblot Test
Client responses to inkblots are used to assess perceptual reactions and other psychological functioning. It is one of the most widely used projective tests.
Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale
Designed for testing cognitive abilities. Provides verbal, performance, and full scale scores for children and adults.
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
Consists of a series of pictures of ambiguous scenes. Clients are asked to make up stories or fantasies concerning what is happening, has happened, and is going to happen in the scenes, along with a description of their thoughts and feelings. Provides information on a client's perceptions and imagination for use in the understanding of a client's current needs, motives, emotions, and conflicts, both conscious and unconscious. In clinical assessment, generally part of a larger battery of tests and interview data.
Wechsler Intelligence Scale (WISC)
Designed as a measure of a child's intellectual and cognitive ability. It has four index scales and a full scale score.
Instruments used to measure an assortment of mental abilities and characteristics, such as personality, achievement, intelligence, and neurological functioning. Often questionnaires. May be written, verbal, or pictorial tests. May also be referred to as scales, surveys, screens, checklists, assessments, measures, inventories, etc.
Measure cognitive (thinking) abilities and academic achievement. Provide a profile of strengths and weaknesses that accurately identify areas for academic remediation and provide details into the learning process that give insight into the best learning strategies. Provide the necessary documentation for legal purposes of establishing the presence of disabilities, but do not guarantee that their findings will be accepted by schools and/or accommodations provided.
Social Work Assessment
More comprehensive process that may utilize results from educational and psychological tests, but can also involve interviewing a client and/or family, reviewing a client's history, checking existing records, and consulting with previous or concurrent providers.
Typically used in education to measure how much clients know (have achieved) in a certain subject or subjects, or have ability (aptitude) to learn.
Measure intelligence (IQ)
Match interests with careers.
Measure basic personality traits/characteristics.
Assess and measure cognitive functioning.
Specialized Clinical Tests
Investigates areas of clinical interest, such as anxiety, depression, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, etc.
To assess risks of clients to themselves and others. Not easy, because there are no indicators that definitively predict whether a client will act on his or her feelings or desires to hurt himself or herself. SW must review all assessment data in order to determine the appropriate level of care and a treatment plan. Must include examining risk and protective factors, and presence of behavioral warning signs.
Client is seen to be a danger to self or others
SW may limit a client's right to self-determination and seek involuntary treatment. If a client is deemed to be a danger to an identifiable third party, SW should consider this as a "duty to warn" situation (under the Tarasoff decision), as well as the party in danger.
Suicide Risk Factors
History of suicide attempt. Lives alone; lack of social supports. Presence of psychiatric disorder—depression (feeling hopeless), anxiety disorder, personality disorder (Client is at greater risk after being discharged from the hospital or after being started on antidepressants as they may now have the energy to implement a suicide plan.) Substance abuse. Family history of suicide. Exposure to suicidal behavior of others through media or peers. Losses—relationship, job, financial, social. Presence of firearm or easy access to other lethal methods.
Suicide Protective Factors
Effective and appropriate clinical care for mental, physical, and substance use disorders. Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support. Restricted access to highly lethal methods. Family and community support. Learned coping and stress reduction skills. Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support self-preservation.
Suicide Behavioral Warning Signs
Change in eating and sleeping habits. Drug and alcohol use. Unusual neglect of personal appearance. Marked personality change. Loss of interest in pleasurable activities. Not tolerating praise or rewards. Giving away belongings. Isolation from others. Taking care of legal and other issues. Dramatic increase in mood (might indicate a client has made
a decision to end his or her life). Verbalizes threats to commit suicide or feelings of despair and hopelessness: "I'm going to kill myself." "I wish I were dead." "My family would be better off without me."
Violence Against Others Risk Factors
Youth who become violent before age 13 generally commit more crimes, and more serious crimes, for a longer time; these youth exhibit a pattern of escalating violence throughout childhood, sometimes continuing into adulthood. Most highly aggressive children or children with behavioral disorders do not become serious violent offenders. Serious violence is associated with drugs, guns, and other risky behaviors. Involvement with delinquent peers and gang membership are two of the most powerful predictors of violence.
Violence Against Others Protective Factors
Effective programs combine components that address both individual risks and environmental conditions; building individual skills and competencies; changes in peer groups. Interventions that target change in social context appear to be more effective, on average, than those that attempt to change individual attitudes, skills, and risk behaviors. Effective and appropriate clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders. Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support. Restricted access to highly lethal methods. Family and community support. Learned coping and stress reduction skills.
Violence Against Others Behavioral Warning Signs
Drug and alcohol use. Marked personality changes. Angry outbursts, Preoccupation with killing, war, violence, weapons, etc. Isolation from others. Obtaining guns or other lethal methods.
Methods to identify client strengths, resources, and challenges
Seeking exceptions—determining when the problem does not exist or occur (locations, times, contexts); Scaling the problem—identifying the severity of the problem on a scale from 1 to 10 according to the client; Scaling motivation—estimating the degree to which client feels
hopeful about resolution; Miracle question—having client determine what would be different if problem did not exist.
Client strengths which may be overlooked
Facing problems by seeking help—rather than denying them; Taking risks by sharing problems with SW; Persevering under difficult situations; Being resourceful; Meeting family and financial obligations; Seeking to understand the actions of others; Functioning in stressful situations; Considering alternative courses of action.
Examples of Community Strengths
Organizations, people, partnerships, facilities, funding, policies, regulations, and culture.
Methods for data collection to assess community strengths and challenges
Interviews, observation, and surveys. Ensuring that the data collection procedures are robust is essential in conducting a complete and accurate community assessment.
Precontemplation (Stages of Change)
A client is unaware, unable, and/or unwilling to change. Greatest resistance and lack of motivation, which can be characterized by arguing, interrupting, denial, ignoring the problem, and/or avoiding talking or thinking about it.
Contemplation (Stages of Change)
A client is ambivalent or uncertain regarding behavior change; thus, their behaviors are unpredictable. A client may be willing to look at the pros and cons of behavior change, but is not committed to working toward it.
Precontemplation - dealing with lack of motivation and resistance
Establish rapport, acknowledge resistance or ambivalence, keep conversation informal, try to engage a client, and recognize a client's thoughts, feelings, fears, and concerns.
Contemplation - dealing with lack of motivation and resistance
Emphasize a client's free choice and responsibility, discuss the pros and cons of changing, discuss how change will assist a client in achieving their goals in life. Reduce fear by giving examples of change and clarifying what change is and is not.
Assess clients' communication skills
Understand how traumatic experiences may impact clients' communication styles and patterns. Understand communication in cultural context of clients' backgrounds and experiences.
Silence is a form of communication that should be considered. Understand how to communicate with clients who are upset and angry, and how some word choices and tones can upset clients based on their ethnic backgrounds and/or past experiences, such as victimization.
Assess client's/client system's coping abilities
Ask about the extent to which clients: Turn to work or other substitute activities to take their minds off things. Get upset and let their emotions out. Get advice from others about what to do. Concentrate on doing something about their problems. Put their trust in high beings. Laugh about their situations. Discuss their feelings with others. Use alcohol or drugs to make themselves feel better. Pretend that their problems do not exist. Seek out others who have similar experiences.
Cognitive and appraisal skills
Intellectual/cognitive ability; Creativity and curiosity; Initiative, perseverance, and patience; Common sense; Ability to anticipate problems; Realistic appraisal of demands and capacities; Ability to use feedback.
Defenses and coping mechanisms
Ability to regulate impulses and affect; Self-soothing; Flexible, can handle stressors.
Temperamental and dispositional factors
Belief in trustworthiness of others; Belief in justice; Self-esteem and self-worth; Sense of mastery, confidence, and optimism; Ability to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty; Ability to make sense of negative events; Sense of humor; Lack of hostility, anger, and anxiety; Optimistic and open; Ability to grieve; Lack of helplessness; Responsibility for decisions; Sense of direction, mission, and purpose.
Interpersonal skills and supports
Ability to develop/maintain good relationships; Ability to confide in others; Problem-solving skills; Capacity for empathy; Presence of an intimate relationship; Sense of security.
Other strength factors
Supportive social institutions, such as church; Good physical health; Adequate income; Supportive family and friends.
Indicators of positive ego strength in clients
Acknowledging their feelings; Not getting overwhelmed by their moods; Pushing forward after loss and not being paralyzed by self-pity or resentment; Using painful events to strengthen themselves; Knowing that painful feelings will eventually fade; Empathizing with others without trying to reduce or eliminate their pain; Being self-disciplined and fighting addictive urges; Taking responsibility for actions; Holding themselves accountable; Not blaming others; Accepting themselves with their limitations; Setting firm limits even if it means disappointing others or risking rejection; Avoiding people who drain them physically and/or emotionally.
effective continuum of care
Successful transfer of a client between levels of care. For example, levels of care for behavioral health services, vary from early intervention services/outpatient services to intensive outpatient/partial hospitalization to residential/inpatient services.
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