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Using Collaborative Assessment as a Therapeutic Tool

by Robert (Uri) Heller, PhD

Psychological assessment can help you understand yourself better.

If you’ve ever asked, “Am I normal?” you’re in good company. As a psychologist, I spend my days helping people address this question. We talk about it, but we also use tests, questionnaires, and survey measures to help figure things out. This is what we call assessment.

Psychologists are unique in that we are able to use assessmentas a tool for helping our clients understand themselves. While coaches and counselors are able to provide therapy and support, only psychologists are trained in utilizing test measures. So if you’re interested in getting a more complete picture of yourself, a psychologist will help you do just that.

In most cases, you’ll complete a survey that asks questions about yourself, and then I score the survey. The results are compared to a population “norm,” which we can look at in terms of age, gender, and a variety of other categories to see how you stack up. I love this process; it’s fascinating to see how you fall along the spectrum of different qualities and characteristics, and it’s even more fascinating to see whether your self-perception is consistent with your results.

We can also give questionnaires to learn about how other people, like your parents, spouse, or others in your life experience you. I find the more “data points” we can collect, the more detailed of a picture we can get.

Over the years, I have helped countless clients using this collaborative model. I treat the client as the expert on himself, and as the therapist I am the expert in using the psychological techniques. The tests I use in therapy allow me to give you feedback that’s not just based on my opinions or observations of you, and that’s powerful feedback that you really cannot get elsewhere.

I have had the opportunity to develop psychological tests for the last 25 years. I recently developed a test called the Core Motivation Analysis that is very client centered and has made therapy even more successful. The test looks at your motivational style, or more specifically, what factors help facilitate change in you, and what barriers you face to making changes. When we see your results, we have a better idea of what you should be doing differently to overcome the struggles in your life. I believe that we can all move toward our goals, but the strategy we take to get there is different for everyone. If we can find the right strategy for you, we will be successful.

The Core Motivation Analysis also looks at what you need from other people in order to thrive. Your profile on this test will help me as the therapist to know the best way to communicate with you, and the best ways to help you process and understand new information. This is called your thinking style. Some people pay more attention to the external world, while others pay more attention to the internal world. Neither of these is better or worse than the other, but knowing which one you naturally use will help you learn more effectively.

The third component of this test looks at your behavior style,which is how you interact within your environment. We might find inconsistencies in your thinking style and behavior style, which again is not good nor bad, but rather useful information we can consider in helping you do the things you want to do in life. We look at areas where you have strengths, areas where you have difficulties, and how your motivation, thinking, and behavior styles are impacting your life overall.

You can learn more about the Core Motivation Analysis here.

If you’ve ever felt like you weren’t getting the results you really wanted, having a chance to use assessment as part of your therapy work can be the game-changer you need. My colleagues and I would be happy to help you get unstuck.


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