Series: Comprehensive Clinical Psychology
In this chapter we will describe the current state of affairs with respect to assessment in clinical psychology and then we will attempt to show how clinical psychology got to that state, both in terms of positive influences on the directions that efforts in assessment have taken and in terms of missed opportunities for alternative developments that might have been more productive psychology. For one thing, we really do not think the history is particularly interesting in its own right. The account and views that we will give here are our own; we are not taking a neutral and innocuous position. Readers will not find a great deal of equivocation, not much in the way of a glass half-empty is, after all, half-full type of placation. By assessment in this chapter, we refer to formal assessment procedures, activities that can be named, described, delimited, and so on. We assume that all clinical psychologists are more or less continuously engaged in informal assessment of clients with whom they work. Informal assessment, however, does not follow any particular pattern, involves no rules for its conduct, and is not set off in any way from other clinical activities. We have in mind assessment procedures that would be readily defined as such, that can be studied systematically, and whose value can be quantified. We will not be taking account of neuro-psychological assessment nor of behavioral assessment, both of which are covered in other chapters in this volume. It will help, we think, if we begin by noting the limits within which our critique of clinical assessment is meant to apply. We, ourselves, are regularly engaged in assessment activities, including development of new measures, and we are clinicians, too.
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