Assessment is a practice that is utilized to determine diagnosis and treatment planning. Altman, Briggs, Frankel, Gensler, and Pantone (2002) connected the “relational assessment” practice to the diagnosis and treatment planning. The above authors agreed that for effective therapy and appropriate diagnosis to happen, the treatment plan must be appropriate and relational; so that modifications and adaptations can be adjusted as needed.
The goal in assessment and case conceptualization must produce complete findings; therefore multiple forms of assessments are to utilized, as to accommodate each individual person in therapy. Planning and Cultural Sensitivity to Avoid Misdiagnosis To safeguard from cultural biases in the assessment process the “whole person” must be viewed in the therapeutic process (Briggs, 2002). As a counselor, one must be culturally competent and aware of others’ backgrounds. In order for a counselor to better understand the clients’ background, the necessary information would be needed prior to testing.
Also paying close attention to the clients’ native language as it could pose inconsistencies if given in an unnatural tongue (Rodriquez, 2000).
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It should go without saying that an effective and competent therapist will be aware of professional standards and ethics involved in the assessment of a culturally diverse population; by being aware of their own ethnic understanding. Rodriquez (2000) further stresses the need to avoid misdiagnoses by utilizing alternative assessment measures.
Research has suggested a clear therapeutic alliance, correct diagnosis and less stress exhibited by clients, when valid information is collected (Gensler, 2002). There has been an assumption that counselors whom falsify information for clients to get better managed care, have done so that they will receive better service; primarily because the insurance has reimbursed (Smart & Smart, 1997). However, looking at the bigger picture there are so many ethical dilemmas with counselor’s having such practices that the APA frowns upon.
Diagnostic findings should include intellectual assessment measures and nonverbal implements that are unbiased. Diagnostic findings must be used with caution when defining categories and management planning because someone’s life is at stake. Conclusions The assessment process, diagnostic information and conceptualization are equally important as they work hand in hand. The culture that we serve must be handled with caution and ethical, competent, behavior set forth by the APA.
Reiterating what was previously stated, I believe it is of the utmost importance to make sure that this process including, but not limited to therapy are comprehensive and ethnically sensitive. Understanding the clients’ weaknesses, strengths, indicators and culturally specific goals is outlined in the APA guidelines. This is an area that I feel causes numerous problems not only in counseling but education as well. I feel that sometimes it is assumed that counseling is a “one size fits all”. It is my goal to make counseling specific, concise, and culturally literate when dealing with the clients that I serve.