John Danna

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2011


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Clinical Psychology


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Constance Fischer

Committee Member

Jessie Goicoechea

Committee Member

Roger Brooke


Assessment, Collaborative


Within the field of assessment psychology, only recently have efforts been made to study the potentially therapeutic benefits of increasing the involvement of client participation in the assessment process. Little attention has been paid to the experiential aspects of this style of assessment from both therapist and client perspectives during the assessment and discussion sessions. Gaining insight into these experiences in order to better inform and enhance the practice of a collaborative and therapeutic style of psychological assessment is the primary focus of this research project. This study's methodology draws from qualitative methods used previously to study the process of both assessment and psychotherapy. The analysis focused on the accounts provided by psychological assessors and assessment clients regarding their experiences during collaborative assessment. Nine individuals (five clients and four therapists) provided written descriptions of their assessment experience and participated in individual audio-taped interviews during which we watched video tape selections of their assessment and discussed those video segments along with segments from their written descriptions. These interviews were then transcribed and interpreted by means of qualitative methodology. The analysis yielded thematic experiences for both clients and therapists that were grouped into larger general experiential categories - three for clients and four for therapists. Clients and therapists share three of these general experiential categories: finding assessment experiences to be helpful or enjoyable, finding assessment experiences to be difficult or unpleasant, and descriptions of the assessment process. The additional experiential category for therapists explores the effect that the extent of one's practice conducting assessments can have on his or her experience of it. The dissertation provides insight into what it is like to experience a collaborative assessment as either a therapist or client, give suggestions for therapists regarding approaches they use during a collaborative assessment that can make it more fruitful and enjoyable for both participants, and make interesting comparisons to other research on this type of psychological assessment.