General Guidelines in the Communication of Results of the Assessment Process

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The communication of results to clients is an important part of the assessment process as the counselor can mislead the client if the information is not communicated accurately. Therefore, counselor can follow the general guidelines like interpreting results based on validation evidence, understand that specialized knowledge and competencies is crucial for the interpretation of assessment results, focusing on client’s questions and reactions instead of what the score means. In addition, counselor can also involve client in interpretation by encouraging client to ask questions, use descriptive terms and avoid conveying results involving probability information as infallible predictions. By following the guideline to communicate results to the clients, misinterpretation can be prevented and become beneficial in the following ways for the client.

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Firstly, when counselors find different ways of communicating the results to clients like using visual examples or explaining in descriptive terms, it ensures that clients can comprehend their results in easier terms. This is because some clients will not understand their results if it is communicated through psychometric or technical terms.

Secondly, counselor who have specialized knowledge and competencies can interpret assessment results to clients more therapeutically. Hilsenroth, M., Peters, E., & Ackerman, S. (2004) suggested that the clients of therapists who received specialized training regarding therapeutic assessment rated the therapeutic alliance higher in the initial sessions of psychotherapy than clients of therapists who did not receive training. Then, counselors who involve clients in the interpretation prevent confusion and improve the accuracy of the test because it provides an opportunity for the client to address questions about whether his or her results make sense. It also allows the counselor in understanding the test results correctly when the client is providing feedback on why he gave the answers for the test. For example, when client ticks a 5 on a 10-point scale, the counselor can clarify with the client how he or she make that decision. In addition, according to Finn & Tonsager (1992), when clients provide feedbacks, it increases their self-esteem and reduces levels of distress.

Lastly, when assessment results involve prediction information about the client and a counselor uses an approach of explaining the results in terms of probabilities with numerical descriptors like there is a 22% chance instead of certainties, individuals perceived these probable interpretations as being more helpful than interpretations that were more absolute according to Jones and Gelso (1988). Clients are also more inclined to see a counselor who used a tentative interpretation approach than other who uses an approach that is seen as absolute.

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