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Collaborative Assessment

Collaborative Assessment

Our approach is informed by the Therapeutic Collaborative Assessment model, where a key goal is to facilitate growth and change during the course of the assessment process.  We work as a team to conduct holistic assessments that take into account neuropsychological, cognitive, academic, and social-emotional functioning, while remaining strengths-focused.

We view the assessment process as an intervention that allows individuals to better understand themselves, their strengths, and their struggles while building stronger relationships with one another. We invite parents, caretakers, and other important people to participate in the assessment process in order to gain a better understanding and to provide support for the process.


Develop Questions & Make a Plan

Collaborative assessments generally involve several stages: first, we meet to consult and develop assessment questions, including questions that are important to your child or adolescent. Some examples of assessment questions for past child clients and their families include:

  • What type of school environment is best for my child- private or public?

  • What type of college should I go to?

  • Why is making friends so hard for me?

  • Will I have depression like my parent when I grow up?

  • Do people think I’m weird?

  • Why do I get so mad?

  • How can we cope with our child’s angry outbursts?

  • How can we help our child when she shuts down?

  • What kind of environmental support does my child need to thrive in school and at home?

Next, we work together to create a flexible assessment plan to respond to these questions. Assessment questions might address:

  • problems with social and family relationships

  • major life transitions (choosing a school or college, moving, adjusting to a separation or divorce)

  • self-concept, mood and anxiety issues (anxiety, depression, emotional dysregulation, anger issues)

  • neuropsychological issues and learning challenges (ADHD, executive functioning and organization challenges, memory issues, reading or math disorders)

  • developmental issues (developmental delay, Autism Spectrum Disorder)

  • behavioral issues (oppositional or destructive behavior, school behavior problems)

  • history of trauma or neglect and impact on current functioning


The Testing Process

During the formal testing period, we gather information to answer your assessment questions. Our testing process is always flexible and depends on your questions and goals. Tests we use may look at:

  • cognitive abilities

  • academic functioning

  • memory

  • attention

  • executive functioning

  • social communication & development

  • visual-motor and spatial abilities

  • mood

  • psychological functioning

  • personality

Testing is generally completed in four or five sessions, depending on your questions and each client’s needs. During sessions we offer plenty of breaks, snacks, water and tea.



Following the formal testing process, we will meet for one or two intervention sessions and one or two feedback sessions. During intervention sessions, we explore the testing process and create change based on the findings. During feedback sessions you will have a chance to ask questions and more fully explore the results of testing. These sessions are the heart of the therapeutic assessment process and are key to creating sustainable change.

After testing is complete, you will receive comprehensive feedback that responds to your assessment questions. We will meet together, generally over one or two sessions, to review results,  respond to questions, and discuss next steps. Additionally, your child or adolescent will receive a feedback story or letter responding to their own assessment questions, depending on their age and developmental needs.

Feedback stories and fables are an excellent way to provide feedback in a developmentally appropriate and playful way. They are also capable of capturing and building on positive change that occurs through the testing process [1]. Our feedback stories and letters present results of testing, capture the emotional experience of the individual, and offer examples of their strengths, resources, and solutions or positive changes. Here is an example of a feedback story for a teen and a younger child.

[1] Tharinger, D., et. al. (2008)

After you receive the results of testing, you may choose to meet with us again to review the process and to respond to any other questions that may come up along the way. During this follow-up session we will explore the change that has come out of the assessment and make a plan for how to maintain this change. Many individuals and families have also found it helpful to think together about the use of results to inform their child’s educational services or therapy. Families may choose to continue to work with us after the assessment to strengthen the change that has been made or to address new issues. We provide family consultation as well as ongoing individual and family therapy in some cases.

After Testing