Throughout my training, I noticed that many mental health practitioners identify themself as an “assessment person” or a “therapy person.” Although it is possible for one person to do both, it can be hard to blend the two skills when working with individual clients. This is why it is very common for therapists to refer you to someone else, when a psychological assessment is needed. This can be a bit confusing, but there are many reasons why this may be more effective. Here are a few reasons why therapists and clients can benefit from bringing in another person:
8 Reasons Why A Second Therapist Completes Psychological Assessment
#1 A Second Therapist Completes Psychological Assessment because It can be a collaborative partnership
It may be surprising, but therapists are human too! As human beings, we all need help and support at various times. It is impossible for a therapists to have all the answers for every person and problem they see. Good therapists are aware that they are not “all-knowing” and seek out support when they have questions about their work. This isn’t a bad thing-humility and recognizing our weaknesses is a major strength! Think about it as a “two for the price of one” situation-you now get two skilled clinicians with two different perspectives working together to help you!
#2 A Second Therapist Completes Psychological Assessment and It can illuminate concerns
Although you might already have very clear goals that you and your therapist are working towards, sometimes other “stuff” gradually creeps up. This “stuff” can go unnoticed, until it starts to impact multiple areas of our life. A metaphor I frequently use compares humans to houses-we both start out fresh and new, but eventually need some updates. As we “renovate” different parts, sometimes other problems emerge. Instead of letting this impact the work you are accomplishing, referring to someone else can help illuminate new or completely different concerns.
#3 A Second Therapist Completes Psychological Assessment and It can highlight strengths
Let’s be honest, most people start therapy because they notice some sort of problem in their life. This could be something they personally want to work on, or a concern they have about a loved one. In both cases, the focus is on the problem. When we are so focused on fixing a problem, we sometimes forget about our strengths. Therapists rely on clients to provide information about themselves. If we are not able to recognize own strengths, how can we give our therapist accurate information? An assessment can highlight the many strengths we are often not aware of. Once identified, you and your therapist can use strengths as resources in your work!
#4 A Second Therapist Completes Psychological Assessment so It can better refine goals
Think back to #2, as we work on different parts of our self, new or different problems can emerge. When this happens, revising or completely changing our therapy goals can be necessary. Although assessments illuminate concerns and highlight strengths, they also include various recommendations. You and your therapist can take this information, determine how to use it, then design or revamp goals that keep you motivated and on track.
#5 A Second Therapist Completes Psychological Assessment creates A second set of “fresh eyes”
Have you ever known someone too well? In close relationships, it can be hard to see things that outsiders identify immediately. The same thing can happen in a therapy relationship. This doesn’t mean your therapist is flawed or absent minded- they are just focusing on the initial goals and relationship you have built. When they ask for an assessment to be completed by someone else, both you and your therapist will learn new things about your strengths and weaknesses. The results might show that you have made tons of progress in one area (maybe the area you are already working on), but could benefit from another goal that targets something else.
#6 A Second Therapist Completes Psychological Assessment allows you or your child to relax and settle in with your primary therapist
The initial goal of therapy is to build a safe and comfortable relationship between the therapist, you and/or your child. Assessments can be intimidating and often push us to personal limits. In addition to unfamiliar hands-on activities, assessments include SO MANY QUESTIONS. The person facilitating the assessment will interview you and your child, and ask you to complete a variety of lengthy questionnaires. At times, this can feel like an interrogation! When a therapist asks another person to complete the assessment, they can avoid this intensive evaluation process. Instead, they are able to focus on developing a trusting and relaxed relationship with you and/or your child!
#7 A Second Therapist Completes Psychological Assessment can be a tool to determine the best approach to meet your child’s needs
When someone else completes an assessment, your primary therapist is able to focus on building a therapeutic relationship (the best predictor of therapy success). While focusing on you and/or your child, the pressure to conduct a thorough assessment is eliminated. Everyone can relax, knowing that critical details will be collected by someone else. The assessment report will include suggestions for goals and the best treatment approach to meet your child’s unique needs.
#8 A Second Therapist Completes Psychological Assessment because it can give you and your child answers
Therapy is a journey, not a sprint. Even though we want answers as soon as possible, it is more effective for your therapist to gradually guide you there. Assessment can provide some answers immediately, which can be a relief for people who what to know “what,” “why” and activate possible solutions quickly. This doesn’t mean the answers or recommendations will immediately help, but you can relax knowing the “what,” “why” and “how” your therapist plans to help you and/or your child succeed is clearly planned out.
Cool Photo by Tim Gouw
Insightful Words by
Colleen Conjerti, PsyD
Children, Adolescents, Young Adults, Assessment, Personal and Life Coaching
Colleen specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children as young as five years old, adolescents and families. She works with various conditions and life circumstances, including learning disabilities, executive functioning deficits, anxiety, depression, interpersonal problems, adjustment issues and loss Colleen also provides personal and life coaching services for adults questioning career decisions, education goals, finances, and relationships. She will guide you through honest and empowering conversations, as you develop goals and carry out plans for achieving your aspirations.
Warm and emphatic, Colleen uses a flexible, creative and collaborative approach to empower and inspire clients to maximize potential and improve their lives. Contact Colleen for more information about how she can help you experience success!
716.864.4938 | firstname.lastname@example.org