How Can A Collaborative Assessment in West Chester, PA Help Me?

Image shows a young woman waving and looking at her phone, while her laptop, coffee and notebook sit on a table. Image could represent a college student who is overwhelmed and looking for therapy for young adults in Pennsylvania. A young adult therapist can help with coping skills.

As psychologists, we have access to powerful tools that help you to express yourself and experience emotions directly.  We’re trained in assessments that bring out unique qualities in each individual. For example, we can discover attachment dynamics, emotion regulation, and interpersonal relationships. Further, we can assess cognitive skills and a whole host of other areas. Most of this is done through what we call a collaborative assessment

What is a Collaborative Assessment?Image shows a person holding up their hands towards the sky where a photo of a brain and the greek letter psi are shown. This image could represent the hope felt by someone seeking a collaborative assessment in West Chester, PA after feeling stuck for so long.19803 | 19801 | 19802

Steve Finn, the developer of Therapeutic Assessment, found that tests like the Rorschach inkblots can help you discover more about yourself.  He called these assessment measures “empathy magnifiers”. Because these measures helped both you and your therapist get in touch with your feelings and experiences. Especially if any of those emotions were buried deep down.

In traditional therapy, assessments lead to a diagnosis but not an understanding of how the symptoms of the diagnosis might be adaptive. This means that the symptoms presented may stem from a different thing completely than what is shown on a regular assessment. In other words, the symptoms that contribute to the diagnosis might have been adaptive.

For example, I get a lot of patients with ADHD diagnoses who present with distraction. But, distraction also occurs if you’re struggling with preoccupied attachment and searching for the next threat. These clients do not have ADHD. Rather, they are scanning for threats based on growing up in environments characterized by failed protection. Clients are then misdiagnosed and mistreated… leading to them feeling stuck in their treatment. So, symptoms can be adaptations. And our method of assessment and collaboration leads to showing clients that there is an alternative to their suffering.

What to expect in the assessment process

In Collaborative Assessment, the first step is to develop questions.  These questions shape the assessment and guide the entire process.  Tapping into our curiosity fuels the process and helps move us along to discoveries.  Your therapist will return to them often in the assessment.

Based on these questions, your therapist will put together questions and measures that fit you! Then, your therapist will administer and score these according to standard protocols. Next, comes a series of assessment interventions in which you and your therapist will review the data and discuss change. Here, we talk about your experiences and discoveries. 

Finally, your therapist will write a letter to you to review all work done. This will also help provide answers for you and help guide you on how to move forward in your treatment goals. The illustration below shows the process graphically.

Image shows a graphic of the processes of collaborative assessment in West Chester, PA at Edward Jenny and Associates. His therapy approach uses these assessments to help those feeling stuck. 19380 | 19382 | 19383

Example of the assessment process

Let me give you a recent example, disguised for confidentiality and containing elements from several cases. 

An adolescent patient of mine was having a terrible time getting college work completed.  His parents worried about him and had tried everything they could think of to help. This included encouragement, consequences, pleading, and even arguing.  The patient, let’s call him John, went to many doctors who diagnosed him with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) and anxiety.

Further, they prescribed a stimulant to help him focus.  This helped a little, but did almost nothing to help John understand why he was having so much trouble.  John suspected it had something to do with his family relationships or his sense of who he was, but he couldn’t be sure.

Benefits of Collaborative Assessment in West Chester, PA

John still had so many questions. He wanted to know: (1) why he was the way he was; (2) did he have ADHD; (3) did his past have anything to with his current problems; and (4) what he could do about it. 

To help John find the answers, we administered a series of standard measures including the Rorschach inkblot test. In collaborative assessment, we often explore the test data with patients and together try to make sense of the patterns we see. We don’t take an expert role in interpreting the data. Rather, we invite and encourage insights from our client’s experience of the assessment. 

When John and I reviewed his Rorschach, I noticed several things almost immediately. Throughout the assessment, John was able to provide clear, logical answers. Additionally, his answers seemed to take him down what we called “rabbit holes”. These led to a variety of associations and elaborations.  He didn’t like leaving any thought unexpressed which led to a messy protocol that was hard to follow.  It wasn’t hard to see why John was having such a hard time staying focused.  His mental energy was being spent on overly elaborate perceptions of the world around him.

Next, we dug a little deeper into John’s “why” question. The assessment had shown that John’s mental energy focused on warding off uncomfortable feelings. These feelings included shame and inferiority, feelings that none of us want to have. Moving forward, I helped John get more comfortable with all his feelings. We also worked on expanding his “window of tolerance” for uncomfortable feelings.  We also worked on him being less self-critical.

A Collaborative Assessment Sparks ChangeA photo of a flower growing by itself. Image could represent the growth felt by someone feeling stuck in West Chester, PA. By completing a collaborative assessment with Dr. Jenny, you can start to uncover answers about yourself. | 19348 | 19335 | 19320

Collaborative Assessment is a powerful method for gaining rapid insight and stimulating change.  Working together we can unlock barriers to growth and more fully live our lives. I have also used Collaborative Assessment with couples. The assessments have worked to help them communicate and understand each other better. But, more about that in a later post.

Complete a Collaborative Assessment in Philadelphia, PA today!

If you are ready to start your journey towards deeper understanding, start getting answers, and feel more in touch with yourself, we are here for you. Our Kennett Square, PA-based therapy practice offers more than collaborative assessments. We also offer online therapy in Pennsylvania and Delaware, depression treatment, and more! Our therapists are ready to help you move forward with your life! Contact us today!

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