Brief Psychotherapy and Psychological Assessments: Entering a Relationship, Establishing a Focus, and Providing Feedback

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Abstract

Brief psychotherapy is aimed at facilitating change within a circumscribed time frame. To do this, therapists in this specialty actively engage clients, establish a focus to the treatment, and provide ongoing feedback throughout treatment. The authors show how using these features of brief psychotherapy in the assessment process can enhance the clinical usefulness of an assessment. By also incorporating an emphasis on respect for the client, in line with existential/client-centered principles, psychological assessments can be made more personally relevant and meaningful for the client. The approach outlined has been useful within a hospital-based, adult inpatient and outpatient mental health service in which assessments are conducted before starting psychotherapy or as clinical activities in themselves (e.g., psychodiagnosis).

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