Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A brief psychosocial assessment

Assessment is a process, not a single event. Done well, this process begins with a base-line assessment to decide an initial approach and develops into a virtuous cycle of intervention, review and updating so that progress is built on and obstacles are addressed. The child assessment framework described here is not a comprehensive psychological or psychiatric assessment, but a brief, systematic process to acquire an accurate, thorough picture of a young person’s strengths and weaknesses, whilst acknowledging that any assessment is to some degree a product of, and dependent on, the environment in which the assessment occurs. The framework combines the “lived experience” of residential staff or foster carers working alongside the young person with psychologically and therapeutically guided observation and recording, professional judgement, clinical interviews, questionnaires and psychometric tools. Since outcomes are not only measured in changes in symptoms or problem behaviours, but also in an improved feeling of engagement, a greater capacity to seek, accept and provide support, and increased social activity, this assessment method takes account of the young person’s strengths and soft skills as well as their difficulties and reveals protective factors, deficits, needs and risks. The assessment can also point to empirically supported intervention strategies. Although every assessment is different, usually data are collected over the period of a month. Every effort is made to complete the analysis and write-up within another month, and a completed assessment report is usually submitted two months from starting

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