The modern world is characterized by the extremely high speed of various processes. Technologies and availability of data and methods of its sharing introduce the need for fast decision-making and responses. For this reason, to be successful, people should be ready to engage in these processes and do their best. It helps to be respected in society; however, it results in numerous psychological problems and mental health deterioration. It increases the topicality of psychological aid and counseling. Specialists working in this field can help to reduce stress levels and improve mental health. However, it is vital to collect information about a person and select an appropriate intervention. Under these conditions, choosing a correct psychological test to evaluate the state of a client acquires a top priority as the primary determinant of success.
Choosing an evaluation and assessment tool, a counselor might use various resources available at the moment. First of all, these include information and guidelines provided by assessment-related organizations such as American Counseling Association, American Psychological Association, American Evaluation Association (Neukrug, 2017). These guidelines offer specific criteria that can be considered when evaluating the state of a client and selecting the demanded intervention. Moreover, specialists should use existing case studies linked to mental health assessment and working with clients in different conditions (Neukrug, 2017). Finally, colleagues’ recommendations can also be considered as a potent tool helping to determine the needed test and use it correctly. These resources are critical for selecting the demanded psychological test.
At the same time, choosing the test, a specialist should consider vital diagnostic criteria determining the final success and ability to acquire relevant data. These are reliability, validity, the legal context, applicant reactions, and technology (Neukrug, 2017). Most researchers agree that by paying attention to these factors, a counselor can make an informed decision about the applicability of a specific intervention and its ability to collect information vital for selecting the demanded intervention (Hays, 2017; Neukrug, 2017). The disregard of these diagnostic criteria might result in the reduced effectiveness of the chosen assessment method and create the basis for the growing clients’ dissatisfaction.
As stated previously, reliability is one of the central issues that should be considered in the assessment process. Thus, it can be determined as the tests’ degree to which they are consistent across various occasions, editions, or rates (Lenz & Wester, 2017). In other words, the given diagnostic factor shows if the test can measure a specific phenomenon without errors or critical flaws (Lenz & Wester, 2017). This aspect becomes fundamental for counseling as using unreliable tests might create the basis for the emergence of the wrong diagnosis and poor treatment outcomes (Lenz & Wester, 2017). For this reason, it becomes critical to select tests from the pool or reliable and reviewed assessment tools that are available for specialists at the moment. It will ensure the increased credibility of data.
Validity is ta second important aspect that should be considered when selecting a test. It refers to the characteristic measured by the tool and its effectiveness in evaluating this very aspect (Neukrug, 2017). It means that a counselor should select assessment methods guaranteeing the most accurate and relevant investigation of the condition or mental state of a client by using valid scales and measures (Neukrug, 2017). The failure to do this task will result in the impossibility of acquiring the correct data about the patient and concluding about his/her real state (Neukrug, 2017). Under these conditions, specialists should be ready to determine the test validity and conclude whether it can be used.
The legal context of a planned intervention is another vital diagnosing criterion. It implies that a counselor can use methods and measures that do not contradict the existing regulations (Naugle, 2009). For instance, some tests might cause additional pressure on a patient and lead to a critical deterioration of his/her state (Naugle, 2009). Such interventions cannot be used as they cultivate numerous adverse effects and are illegal (Naugle, 2009). Furthermore, the mental state of a client should also be viewed as the factor influencing the choice of the test as, in some cases, a more comprehensive investigation might be needed. For this reason, this aspect is critical for selecting an appropriate test.
Technology is also a vital factor that should be considered when selecting the test. Today, counselors benefit from the availability of innovative methods to evaluate the current state of a person and conclude about his/her mental health (Hays, 2017). However, it is vital to remember that too sophisticated or complex tools might demonstrate reduced effectiveness. First, clients might fail to understand them and provide false data (Neukrug, 2017). Second, there is a high risk of poor data processing because of the increased complexity of technologies (Neukrug, 2017). Under these conditions, considering the technological aspect of testing is fundamental for counselors working with clients.
Finally, applicant reactions are a vital factor influencing the choice of tests. It can be defined as the set of attitudes toward a specific measure used by a counselor (Lenz & Wester, 2017). In other words, specialists should be ready to forecast clients’ reactions to using a specific testing method and their readiness to engage in the process (Neukrug, 2017). The lack of motivation will influence outcomes and guarantee that a specialist will acquire relevant and credible data. For this reason, applicant reactions should be viewed as another vital aspect impacting the choice of evaluation method and its usage in real-life conditions.
Finally, selecting an assessment tool and test, it is vital to consider the clients’ demographics to avoid cultural and ethical conflicts or misunderstandings. Thus, a counselor should check questions to ensure no triggers or potentially risky questions are present (Lenz & Wester, 2017). Second, all tests should be designed using neutral language free of stereotypes or biased attitudes (Lenz & Wester, 2017). Finally, the language and phenomena discussed in the test should be understandable for a person and be related to a social group he/she represents (Lenz & Wester, 2017). Otherwise, there is a high risk of failure and poor data collection. Considering the client’s background, it is possible to select the most practical intervention.
Altogether, the mental health of a person is a serious concern that should be addressed by counselors. For this reason, they might use various tests to assess the clients’ states and use necessary interventions. However, selecting the evaluation method, it is critical to consider the major criteria, such as validity, reliability, technology, legal issues, and applicant relations. Moreover, a specialist should be ready to work with representatives of various demographic groups as it impacts evaluation results and outcomes. Tests should be checked to avoid using inappropriate language or stereotypes that might influence relationships between a counselor and a client. In such a way, it becomes critical to select the appropriate test by using existing guidelines.
Hays, D. (2017). Assessment in counseling: Procedures and practices (6th ed.). American Counseling Association.
Lenz, S., & Wester, S. (2017). Development and evaluation of assessments for counseling professionals. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 50(4), 201-209. Web.
Naugle, K. (2009). Counseling and testing: What counselors need to know about state laws on assessment and testing. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 42(1), 31-45. Web.
Neukrug, E. (2017). Counseling theory and practice (2nd ed.). Cognella Academic Publishing.