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Clinical/Counseling Assessment, Coursework Example

Pages: 3

Words: 878

Coursework

Clinical and Counseling fields of assessment are quite different from the conventional psychological assessment tools because they are mostly more specialized, and they include medicine-related issues, career or education-related aspects for assessment etc. These are not always disorder assessments, but the clinical assessment is more related to medical problems (going beyond the level of developmental stage), while counseling assessment is much milder and more general in its type, focusing on non-disturbed adults (Roscoe, 2003). The most common field in which counseling and clinical assessment tools are applied is the exploration of deviant members of society, including diagnostics of the roots of their deviant behavior as well as the outline of possible intervention programs (Roscoe, 2003).

One of typical and comparatively new clinical/counseling assessment tools is the Carlson Psychological Survey (CPS). It has been worked out by Carlson in 1982, and it is still under investigation and trial to make sure in its validity and reliability (Walters, 1992). Nonetheless, there are many proponents of its usage due to its comprehensive outreach and a set of opportunities for decision-making and intervention regarding the respondent it provides.

The aim of the new assessment tool generated by Carlson was to provide more useful and comprehensive information for counselors working in correctional institutions, since the largest utility of testing is observed with criminal populations who are much harder assessed with the help of standard personality testing tools (Walters, 1992). However, nowadays the application is much wider – the CPS is considered to be effective with not only criminals, but people charged with crimes, as well as other individuals who managed to get into the focus of attention of the criminal justice system or the social welfare system. People having problems with behavioral, alcohol and substance abuse are also subject to CPS assessment (Carlson Psychological Survey, 2010).

The present assessment tool is modeled specifically to reflect the unique situations of these individuals, and to identify the atypical reasons for referral they may have (Carlson Psychological Survey, 2010). It is obvious that deviant individuals, especially those whose inclination to the criminal way of life is proven, have an unusual way of reasoning, logic, and decision-making. Thus, the CPS inventory enables the counselors identify the criminal’s types and personality in order to make further decisions on their compatibility with other inmates and intervention procedures. It is also known that the CPS finds application in research and evaluation of intervention results – after its completion (Carlson Psychological Survey, 2010).

There are generally three standard sections of the CPS; the first one pertains to the scores of a respondent on all five CPS scales:

  • antisocial tendencies
  • chemical abuse
  • self-depreciation
  • thought disturbance
  • validity (CPS Extended Report, 2010).

The second section refers to the offender type the respondent represents, and the third section includes the critical items, validity estimates, profile of the respondent’s response pattern etc. (CPS Extended Report, 2010). The overall purpose of CPS application is for assessment of incarcerated inmates, though there are some cases in which it is applied to non-incarcerated deviant individuals who are on probation.

The assessment scale of CPS is standardized the following way: each of the five scores are presented in percentage from 0 to 100%, showing to which extent each dimension is present in every respondent. This way, the first scale (substance abuse) shows how strongly the respondent is addicted to drugs and alcohol, and how this substance abuse affects his/her deviant behavior. Thought disturbance involves the investigation of exposure to anxiety, hallucinations, and distorted perception. The antisocial tendencies scale is more likely to indicate the psychological features of deviant individuals leading to their criminal behavior. The self-depreciation measure is helpful in identifying the extent of depression and exposure to suicide individuals may have (CPS Extended Report, 2010).

There is a set of comparative advantages of CPS as a personality assessment tool for deviant individuals; first of all, it is a quite short test involving the 50-item questionnaire that takes from 15 to 30 minutes for completion (Walters, ; Carlson Psychological Survey, 2010). In addition, the test is specifically designed to help the respondents overcome the difficulties commonly associated with the standard tests for criminal offenders – it fits the minimal literacy demands, equaling grade 4 for literacy. The 5-category answer options are also quite positive for usage by offenders who often lack education and literacy – they eliminate a wide range of problems associated with true/false questions (Carlson Psychological Survey, 2010).

Nonetheless, there also are some drawbacks of CPS; first of all, its generalizability is often put into question by contemporary researchers. Since CPS is a comparatively new assessment tool, there is still much to be done to make it more readily trusted. More than that, there are some estimates of the possibility of faking the CPS, which is quite disturbing about the counseling testing tool for criminals. Therefore, despite the fact that CPS possesses many advantages and is widely used nowadays, it still needs improvement and consideration of certain reliability measures.

References

Carlson Psychological Survey (2010). SIGMA Assessment Systems. Retrieved February 3, 2011, from http://www.sigmaassessmentsystems.com/ assessments/cps.asp

Carlson Psychological Survey (CPS) Extended Report (2010). SIGMA Assessment Systems, Inc. Retrieved February 3, 2011, from http://www.career-lifeskills.com/pdf/sas-400-601samplereport.pdf

Roscoe, L.J. (2003). Roscoe Introduction to Clinical and Counseling Psychology. PSY 340. Retrieved February 3, 2011, from http://mccoy.lib.siu.edu/projects/psyc/roscoe/units/unit%201%20lecture%20notes.ppt

Walters, G.D. (1992). Foundations of Criminal Science: The use of knowledge. New York, NY: Greenwood Publishing Group.

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