Therapeutic Assessment

At Learning Solutions, we view the assessment process as an opportunity for intervention, growth, and transformation. Our therapeutic assessments utilizing psychological tests to provide older adolescent and adult clients with a better understanding of their unique concerns. These types of assessments are appropriate for clients who need help with a particular problem, want to understand themselves or their adolescent child better, or are facing a major decision they want input about. These types of assessments can also be helpful for clients who have been in therapy and are feeling stuck. Our therapeutic assessment clinicians utilize a collaborative approach and employ values of curiosity, compassion, humility, openness and respect.

Therapeutic assessment differs from traditional psychological assessment, whose main goal is to diagnose disorders, plan treatments, and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions; Therapeutic assessment can serve all these purposes as well, but its primary goal is to facilitate positive changes in clients.

Is a therapeutic assessment right for me?

Research shows that the therapeutic assessment approach can help people with a variety of questions, problems, and issues. Data shows that it helps people feel better about themselves, feel less distressed, and more capable of coping with the challenges they encounter in life including taking important steps to overcome difficulties. In addition, parents who are assessed feel better about themselves as parents and become more capable of managing their children’s problems and feelings. At Learning Solutions we have found this approach is beneficial for some of the following types of situations:

  • Clients have a prior diagnosis and are interested in better understanding how their brain works and the areas in which they struggle. 
  • An individual has been in therapy and is feeling stuck on a particular issue, question, or problem.
  • Individuals who have self-diagnosed as autistic and not appropriate for traditional neuropsychological testing
  • Clients with complex trauma histories, particularly around attachment-based trauma and disruption
  • Parents with mental health concerns who would like to improve their relationship with their child(ren)

How does a therapeutic assessment differ from a traditional assessment?

Similar to a traditional assessment, a therapeutic assessment starts with a consultation to discuss the areas of life that are puzzling or troubling to the client. In this process, the clinician helps the client form unique questions to be addressed by the assessment, for example, “Why do I let other people hurt me and am not able to protect myself?”; “Why do I struggle with social interactions and relationships?”; “Why do I get overwhelmed in certain situations?”; “Why do I feel like there is something wrong with me?”; “Why do I never feel good enough?”; “Why do other people keep saying that I seem so angry?”; “Am I smart enough to go to medical school?”; “How can I better handle my emotions?”; or “How can I make my parents trust me more?”. 

A central and important part of the therapeutic assessment is collaboration. The client and clinician work together to find satisfying answers to the questions posed. Based on the client’s questions, the clinician chooses tests that can best help answer them. The client works with the clinician and/or psychometrician to complete the testing. The reactions and thoughts of the clients during testing are also important pieces of data that guide and influence the process. When the client is an adolescent and parents are involved, they are important contributors in the process as well. 

After the testing is completed, the clinician(s) and client discuss the results and aim to answer the client’s initial questions that fits within the client’s life story and circumstances. The goal is to help clients understand themselves and their lives with better accuracy, usefulness, coherence and compassion. Clients typically experience deeper insight into their feelings and experiences, increased self-awareness, a more holistic and strength-based narrative, increased self-acceptance, and more hope. 

As part of the therapeutic assessment process, clients are often invited to contribute to the writing of the final report, including their background history and personal life narrative, reasons for the assessment, integration of findings and summary. Whereas a traditional assessment may be more focused on diagnosis, the therapeutic assessment is focused on the process with the final report serving as a narrative of the experience to be utilized by the client with providers and loved ones, at their discretion. 

For more information about Therapeutic Assessment and up-to-date research, please visit the Therapeutic Assessment Institute:


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