Coordinating Author Information: Jessica Lipkind, PsyD | WestCoast Children's Clinic
Session Abstract: During the COVID-19 pandemic, assessors in community-based settings had to make a quick shift to tele-assessment (Corey & Ben-Porath, 2020; Wright & Raiford, 2021). Doing so has required flexibility, creativity, and a willingness to grow and reimagine how we engage with our clients. Over the past two years, community-based assessors have found ourselves in conversation with one another to generate ideas, discuss challenges, and facilitate growth in our assessment approach and methods. We have also found ourselves examining how we assess clients, given current risk to the safety and overall health of our clients and their families, particularly in the context of upheaval around social injustices faced by our clients.
Models of tele-assessment have emerged in response to the need for remote testing during the COVID-19 pandemic (Wright and Raiford, 2021). Recommended best practices around remote psychological assessment include administration of tests in quiet, private spaces, access to reliable technology and internet service, and selection of tests with attention to norms and validity for remote administration (Luxton, Pruitt, and Osenbach, 2014.) Unfortunately, many clients who are seen in community mental health settings do not have access to the resources necessary for optimal tele-assessment. As clinicians and supervisors from WestCoast Children’s Clinic, a community mental health agency serving predominantly trauma-exposed, system-involved youth and their families, we have found ourselves needing to explore new ways of conducting assessments. We grappled with new questions, including: How do we create a framework for conducting collaborative assessments with clients through a computer, tablet, or phone screen? How do we approach challenging and meaningful conversations needed to facilitate therapeutic change when assessing clients remotely? What are some creative and flexible ways of data collection and information gathering to answer clients’ assessment questions? What types of honest conversations about risk factors for ourselves and our clients are needed to allow for testing to move forward? What new approaches to sharing feedback can we incorporate that stay true to the therapeutic assessment model, but meet the needs of the current times?
We will facilitate a roundtable discussion to share professional experiences of assessing trauma-exposed youth via telehealth and hybrid (i.e. telehealth and in-person) models. This discussion aims to explore ways of engaging in important conversations and conducting assessments via telehealth and hybrid models, while serving clients who benefit from community-based assessment. We will share ideas, tips, and insights gleaned from the assessment team and feedback from clients. We invite participants to reflect on their use of telehealth or hybrid models in assessment, and ways that we can continue to stretch our professional knowledge in the service of our clients.
Catherine Anicama, PhD | WestCoast Children's Clinic
Maggie Benedict-Montgomery, PhD | WestCoast Children's Clinic
Chelsea Brewer, PsyD | WestCoast Children's Clinic
Alexa Capone, PsyD | WestCoast Children's Clinic
Jessica Lipkind, PsyD | WestCoast Children's Clinic
Golnaz Nejad-Duong, PsyD | WestCoast Children's Clinic
Jessie Reed, PsyD | WestCoast Children's Clinic