Clinical Psychological Assessment

Speaker Summary


            Dr. Lisa Henry was our guest speaker on April 18, 2000.  She has a background in clinical psychology dealing mostly with adolescents, teenagers and young adults and an orientation in Cognitive Behavior.  She started her lecture by introducing some behavioral assessment methods.  The methods include interviews, observation, self-monitoring inventories, and performance measures.  The method Dr. Henry thought was the most important was the interviews.  She touched on how interviewing the child as well as the parents can help in many ways.  Through the observational method one can observe a patient in any environment whether it be home, school, or hospital as well.  As for the self-observation method, the results depend upon the disorder.  If trying to over come an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or trying to quit smoking, this method would be the best.  Keeping a journal to record your last compulsive act or to record your smoking habits helps patients know that they just did what they presently want to do.  When having to assess a patient and quickly treat them, inventories and checklists are the best to use.  One scale that Dr. Henry likes best is the WAIS or Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.  She says that it is the one test that can show her a lot about what her and the patient are going to have to deal with.  Overall, Dr. Henry prefers to use checklists and inventories, but all depending upon the condition. 

            Regarding assessment of patients with disabilities, Dr. Henry touches upon the ways on which they are done.  To measure vocabulary without speaking, she will use pictures to assess their problem, which particularly works in high school and with patients with English as a second language.  When dealing with mental retardation she said she is usually aware of it and knows to look for the low IQ.   A question was brought up about neuropsychological assessments and she said that if she has a patient that has neuropsychological problems, she always sends them to someone else who specializes in that kind of assessment.  She strongly urges that fact that a patient should be matched with a specialist dealing with that certain disorder rather than a generalist. 

            Another question that was asked was regarding the faking of test questions.  The question was whether or not it happened.  It sometimes happens but Dr. Henry responded saying that there were to things to take into account if it were to happen.  First she said to pick a good instrument like the MMPI.  The MMPI is one of the best assessment tools in which one could tell from the results if the patients were faking their answers.  Secondly, the tester needs to use their clinical judgment.  They need to look at the person and the results and put them together.  If they do not add up, then the tester knows that there is a problem.

            Dr. Henry also touched on the subjects of School Psychologists.  School Psychologists are mostly used for disabilities and school functioning.  There is usually one psychologist for a set of schools and they give academic tests rather than socio-cultural tests.  They do not have too many instruments therefore most of the assessments are academic.

            Dr. Henry next answered a question about projective testing.  She herself thinks that projective testing is somewhat useful and can be interesting when thrown into the mix of all the tests.  But again she never relies on just one test.   

            Concluding Dr. Lisa Henry’s presentation, our whole class opened to a discussion about the differences between researchers and counselors.  We talked about how many advantages and disadvantages each one has and we speculated on the criticisms around both.  Dr. Henry herself continually attends conferences to keep up to date with the new findings and new information revolving her field and after listening to the open discussion I find these conferences to be a great idea.