Discussion: Assessment Tools in Psychotherapy

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Discussion: Assessment Tools in Psychotherapy

Discussion: Assessment Tools in Psychotherapy

Question Description
Discussion: Assessment Tools
Assessment tools have two primary purposes: 1) to measure illness and diagnose clients, and 2) to measure a client’s response to treatment. Often, you will find that multiple assessment tools are designed to measure the same condition or response. Not all tools, however, are appropriate for use in all clinical situations. You must consider the strengths and weaknesses of each tool to select the appropriate assessment tool for your client. For this Discussion, as you examine the assessment tool assigned to you by the Course Instructor, consider its use in psychotherapy.

Students will:
Analyze psychometric properties of assessment tools
Evaluate appropriate use of assessment tools in psychotherapy
Compare assessment tools used in psychotherapy
Note: By Day 1 of this week, the Course Instructor will assign you to an assessment tool that is used in psychotherapy.

To prepare:

Review this week’s Learning Resources and reflect on the insights they provide.
Consider the asessment tool assigned to you by the Course Instructor.
Review the Library Course Guide in your Learning Resources for assistance in locating information on the assessment tool you were assigned.
Note: For this Discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link and then select “Create Thread” to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking Submit!

Post an explanation of the psychometric properties of the assessment tool you were assigned. Explain when it is appropriate to use this assessment tool with clients, including whether the tool can be used to evaluate the efficacy of psychopharmacologic medications. Support your approach with evidence-based literature.


RE: Geriatric Depression Scale

Hi Robert,

Thanks for a very informative post. As you analyze the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), one data suggests that the GDS accuracy is not influenced by the severity of medical burden, age, or other sociodemographic characteristics even in a medically ill and disabled patient. However, the tool is useful for older adults despite clinician beliefs of the challenge to assess. The presence of major depressive disorder among the elderly and homebound adults can be reliably detected. The tool is useful for detecting depression across culture-specific populations (Marc, Raue & Bruce, 2018).

According to Lindsey (2019), 85% of the time, depression goes unrecognized, and only 15-19% of the elderly with depression symptoms get treated with an antidepressant. They are under prescribed due to a lack of recognition by providers. Studies reveal that the odds of treating depression were eight times greater for those diagnosed by primary care providers than those diagnosed with either the GDS or the Minimum Data Set (Marc et al., 2018). Morgan (2016) explains that the GDS has solid reliability and validity against other diagnostic instruments, although not designed to be used as a single diagnostic tool in identifying clinical depression.GDS tool, when evaluated against the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF), 92% sensitivity and 89% specificity rating were the results of mental health condition screening. The assessment tool can also be used to screen for depression in people whose Mini-Mental State Exam scores were 15 or more, and in the early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s.


Heerema, E. (2017). Content, Scoring, and Accuracy of the Geriatric Depression Scale. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/geriatric-depression-scale-98621

Jiang, S., & Li, P. (2016). Current Development in Elderly Comprehensive Assessment and Research Methods. BioMed Research International2016, 1-10. doi:10.1155/2016/3528248

Lindsey, P. L. (2019). Psychotropic medication use among older adults: What all nurses need to know. Journal of gerontologic nursing, 35(9), 23-38.

Marc, L. G., Raue, P. J., & Bruce, M. L. (2018). Screening performance of the 15-item geriatric depression scale in a diverse elderly home care population. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry; official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, 16(11), 914-21.

Morgan, J. H. (2016). Depression Measurement Instruments: An Overview of the Top Depression Rating Scales. Retrieved from https:// www.preprints.org

Ryan, S. (2018). Geriatric Depression Scale. Retrieved from https://www.sralab.org/rehabilitation-measures/geriatric-depression-scale

Initial Post Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment

There are many tools at our disposal to help assess our client’s needs as well as where they fall on a continuum scale. Psychometric properties are a way for us to find a quantifiable measurement to assess a person’s strengths and or weaknesses.  They are a scientific way to measure an individual’s behaviors and mental capabilities.  They can measure if a person is a suitable candidate for a specific role by measuring their personality and cognitive abilities.  By matching the right person with the right job, can alleviate much of the undue stress placed on those with impairments (Corder, et.al, n.d.).

Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment

The Social Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale (SOFAS), is a scale to rate the current functional ability of an individual.  It can focus on their social and occupational abilities without regard to any psychological symptoms, the patient might have.  It differs from the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF) in that it can be used in many assessment situations, including those patients with traumatic brain injuries, mental illnesses and other neurological disorders (Akers, et.al, 2019).

SOFAS provide a very standard view of function based on ten different assessment items each with a score of 0-10, with 10 being the highest.  Some examples of the assessment include can they function at a high level for a wide variety of activities.  This would get them a superior functioning rating or a 91-100.  Temporarily getting behind in schoolwork or having interpersonal conflicts infrequently can get you a slight impairment or a 71-80. For those with few friends and problems with friends or co-workers would score a 51-60 and be considered moderately impaired. Major impairment in multiple areas would get you a 31-40 and could look like a depressed person, avoiding friends, or unable to work.  When that worsens to staying in bed all the time and having no job, and no friends you would be considered to have an inability to function with a score of 21-30 (Psychiatry online, 2018).

When is it appropriate to use this tool?

The SOFAS tool is effective to use in many situations.  It can help you assess those with depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disease.  Any time you would like to see how a client is functioning in the real world, this assessment tool can be used. You can use this tool whenever you first meet a client.  Anytime there has been a change in a client’s medication or any major life-changing event this tool should be used. This is a great way to see how the client is doing and address any concerns or needs they might have (Ragesh, Hamza, & Kvn, 2015).

Can this be used to evaluate the efficacy of medicines?

Yes, the SOFA assessment tool can be used after medication dose adjustments.  Since it can be used to assess those clients with bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and even defiant children, anytime a dose adjustment is made it can be used.  It can also be used to see if a new dose adjustment is needed.  Say you were a high functioning bipolar patient on medication when you suddenly slipped into the slight impairment category.  Using this assessment tool can help the clinician know that you need a dose adjustment or a new medication (Meek & Gould, 2011).


     The SOFAS along with many other assessment tools can provide a clearer view of the client.  They can place all caregivers on the same page as one another regarding their assessments.  It can alert the clinician to any problems the client may be having that might be overlooked on the surface.  This makes what might seem insignificant to one caregiver appear on the page and be addressed equally by all caregivers (Meek & Gould, 2011).


Akers, N., Lobban, F., Hilton, C., Panagaki, K., & Jones, S. (December 2019). Measuring social

and occupational functioning of people with bipolar disorder: A systematic review.

Retrieved from

Cordier, R., Speyer, R., Chen, Y., Wilkes-Gillan, S., Brown, T., Bourke-Taylor, H., . . . Leicht,

nd.). Evaluating the Psychometric Quality of Social Skills Measures: A Systematic

Review. Retrieved from

Meek, J., & Gould, O. (2011). Psychometric Evaluation of a Self-Medication Assessment Tool in

 an Elderly Population.  Retrieved from DOI: 

Psychiatry online. (2018).  Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale (SOFAS)

Retrieved from DOI: 10.1176/appi.books.9780890423349.5088

Ragesh, G., Hamza, A., Kvn, S. (October 2015).  Guidelines for Social Work Assessment in

Mental Health Settings.  Retrieved from


You must proofread your paper. But do not strictly rely on your computer’s spell-checker and grammar-checker; failure to do so indicates a lack of effort on your part and you can expect your grade to suffer accordingly. Papers with numerous misspelled words and grammatical mistakes will be penalized. Read over your paper – in silence and then aloud – before handing it in and make corrections as necessary. Often it is advantageous to have a friend proofread your paper for obvious errors. Handwritten corrections are preferable to uncorrected mistakes.

Use a standard 10 to 12 point (10 to 12 characters per inch) typeface. Smaller or compressed type and papers with small margins or single-spacing are hard to read. It is better to let your essay run over the recommended number of pages than to try to compress it into fewer pages.

Likewise, large type, large margins, large indentations, triple-spacing, increased leading (space between lines), increased kerning (space between letters), and any other such attempts at “padding” to increase the length of a paper are unacceptable, wasteful of trees, and will not fool your professor.

The paper must be neatly formatted, double-spaced with a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, and sides of each page. When submitting hard copy, be sure to use white paper and print out using dark ink. If it is hard to read your essay, it will also be hard to follow your argument.


Discussion Questions (DQ)

  • Initial responses to the DQ should address all components of the questions asked, include a minimum of one scholarly source, and be at least 250 words.
  • Successful responses are substantive (i.e., add something new to the discussion, engage others in the discussion, well-developed idea) and include at least one scholarly source.
  • One or two sentence responses, simple statements of agreement or “good post,” and responses that are off-topic will not count as substantive. Substantive responses should be at least 150 words.
  • I encourage you to incorporate the readings from the week (as applicable) into your responses.

Weekly Participation

  • Your initial responses to the mandatory DQ do not count toward participation and are graded separately.
  • In addition to the DQ responses, you must post at least one reply to peers (or me) on three separate days, for a total of three replies.
  • Participation posts do not require a scholarly source/citation (unless you cite someone else’s work).
  • Part of your weekly participation includes viewing the weekly announcement and attesting to watching it in the comments. These announcements are made to ensure you understand everything that is due during the week.

APA Format and Writing Quality

  • Familiarize yourself with APA format and practice using it correctly. It is used for most writing assignments for your degree. Visit the Writing Center in the Student Success Center, under the Resources tab in LoudCloud for APA paper templates, citation examples, tips, etc. Points will be deducted for poor use of APA format or absence of APA format (if required).
  • Cite all sources of information! When in doubt, cite the source. Paraphrasing also requires a citation.
  • I highly recommend using the APA Publication Manual, 6th edition.

Use of Direct Quotes

  • I discourage overutilization of direct quotes in DQs and assignments at the Masters’ level and deduct points accordingly.
  • As Masters’ level students, it is important that you be able to critically analyze and interpret information from journal articles and other resources. Simply restating someone else’s words does not demonstrate an understanding of the content or critical analysis of the content.
  • It is best to paraphrase content and cite your source.

LopesWrite Policy

  • For assignments that need to be submitted to LopesWrite, please be sure you have received your report and Similarity Index (SI) percentage BEFORE you do a “final submit” to me.
  • Once you have received your report, please review it. This report will show you grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors that can easily be fixed. Take the extra few minutes to review instead of getting counted off for these mistakes.
  • Review your similarities. Did you forget to cite something? Did you not paraphrase well enough? Is your paper made up of someone else’s thoughts more than your own?
  • Visit the Writing Center in the Student Success Center, under the Resources tab in LoudCloud for tips on improving your paper and SI score.

Late Policy

  • The university’s policy on late assignments is 10% penalty PER DAY LATE. This also applies to late DQ replies.
  • Please communicate with me if you anticipate having to submit an assignment late. I am happy to be flexible, with advance notice. We may be able to work out an extension based on extenuating circumstances.
  • If you do not communicate with me before submitting an assignment late, the GCU late policy will be in effect.
  • I do not accept assignments that are two or more weeks late unless we have worked out an extension.
  • As per policy, no assignments are accepted after the last day of class. Any assignment submitted after midnight on the last day of class will not be accepted for grading.


  • Communication is so very important. There are multiple ways to communicate with me:
    • Questions to Instructor Forum: This is a great place to ask course content or assignment questions. If you have a question, there is a good chance one of your peers does as well. This is a public forum for the class.
    • Individual Forum: This is a private forum to ask me questions or send me messages. This will be checked at least once every 24 hours.


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