Therapeutic assessment with a child as a family intervention: A clinical and research case study

Deborah J. Tharinger, Stephen E. Finn, Alison D. Wilkinson, Pamela Mcdonald Schaber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Psychological assessment has the potential to impact positively both those individuals being assessed and the systems in which they are embedded (e.g., families and schools). Therapeutic Assessment (TA) is a relatively new paradigm that uses collaborative psychological assessment to address consumers' questions of interest and promote positive change. TA with children aims to impact the parents, the child, and their relationship and to date has been used primarily in clinics and independent practices, with some auxiliary involvement of schools. This article draws from the first research project investigating the efficacy of TA with children and families. Clients were referred from the waiting list of a community mental health center, and TA was provided in a university clinic setting. First, excerpts from a TA "report" with a child are presented. Next, the theoretical underpinnings and research on TA are discussed, as well as the protocol for using TA with children and families. Finally, a detailed clinical case study is presented, with outcome measures indicating high acceptability and satisfaction, decreased child symptomatology, improved hope and self-esteem, and enhanced parental efficacy. Yet to be explored is the effectiveness of comprehensive TA in the schools, where the target of intervention could also include teachers, organizational aspects of schools, and parent-school collaboration. Until that time, suggestions are provided for implementing techniques of TA - as currently conceptualized - within schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-309
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology in the Schools
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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