Therapeutic Assessments

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Therapeutic Assessments


Dear Supervisees,


Typically, I blog considering most supervisees across the field; however, today, I am addressing specifically MFT supervisees, on the topic of conducting assessments and competencies accordingly. I have noticed, not a lot of MFTs talk about conducting assessments when conceptualizing their cases, and I have heard from some on-site supervisors that are not MFT credentialed, that MFT interns should receive more training on assessments to prepare for their internship. Unfortunately, the field of MFT has undergone some critique for not training students "enough" in assessments, diagnosing and treatment planning, apparently compared respectively to clinical mental health colleagues. However, I have not found any fair assessments in comparing apples to apples across programs in training students on assessment competencies. Like, the marriage and family therapy program, the mental health clinical counseling program, does not have several terms on assessments, diagnosing, and treatment planning. Also, quite frankly, some programs focus on certain competencies more than others, and that is after all, what sets one program apart from another; if not, there would be just one degree offered. With that said, MFTs cannot be discredited of not having "enough" training on assessments, diagnosing, and treatment planning. After all, these core competencies are gained, developed, and tuned, more so during the internship experience and even postgraduate, like many other professions. So, don't worry so much in what others in the field are saying, but instead continue deepening your knowledge and skills, as this profession requires proactive learners (seek further education and training).

There are, of course, many types of assessments and evaluations, some more formal than others and serve different purposes. The critics seem to be focusing on mental health diagnosing assessments, which MFTs do receive a course on, like any other program in the mental health industry. However, assessments are actually a core component to MFTs' work, as you are continuously assessing how the client is doing, concerning goals, emotions, problems, interactional cycles, relationships, and so forth, depending on what you are working towards, which is a reflection of your theoretical framework.

In summary, to develop your competency on assessments, you need to continue researching on identifying which assessments are appropriate for your case in accordance to their needs, symptoms, problems, and cultures; as well as seek supervision for consultation.

Keep growing and empowering

Dr. Arias Shah


Feel free to leave a comment below. Don't forget to check in weekly for more blogs. 

Melissa Arias Shah, Ph.D., LMFT, AAMFT Supervisor
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