Free Practice Question: Assessment

By Robin Gluck on September 22, 2017


For this week’s MFT practice question, we explore the subject of assessment. If you are preparing for your licensing exam, whether the Law and Ethics or Clinical exam, you can expect to see multiple questions on this topic. The importance of conducting a thorough assessment cannot be overstated. Comprehensive assessments are necessary at the onset of treatment to help clinicians understand why their client is seeking treatment, what their client hopes to achieve, if any crisis issues are present and require attention, and ultimately allows them to develop an effective treatment plan. Knowing when to assess and what the priorities of assessment are will both be tested on your exam.

A crucial goal of assessment is to identify and properly manage potential crises. Therapists are legally and ethically required to both assess and manage their clients’ safety. Therapists put themselves, their clients, and sometimes even the public in harms way when they fail to identify and explore potential safety issues. It is important to note for both your exam and your clinical practice that assessments are not a one-time deal. Therapists are expected to conduct assessments when first interacting with a client and over the course of treatment. Clients are dynamic. Priorities and needs shift over time, and without continuously assessing clients, it will be hard (if not impossible), to best meet their needs. Therapist Development Center will help you understand how to approach these questions on the exam AND will allow you to carry this knowledge into your clinical practice.

Let’s move on to this week’s question:

A 50-year-old male client meets with a therapist on the advice of his husband. The client shares that he has been out of work for almost a year, losing his job after his company completed mass layoffs. He reports feeling discouraged by his job prospects, feels lost without a place to go each day, and feels increasing hopelessness with each passing month he is unemployed. He states, “I feel completely useless and am questioning the point of it all. I feel completely dependent on my husband and I know he’s sick of being the sole breadwinner.” Which of the following actions should the therapist take to assess this client?

A. Explore job history, identify existence of somatic concerns, identify familial coping patterns

B. Explore job history, determine current risk of self-harm, explore support systems

C. Explore mental health history, identify existence of somatic concerns, explore coping mechanisms

D. Explore mental health history, determine current risk of self-harm, explore coping mechanisms

The answer and rationale will be posted at noon PST tomorrow! We encourage you to post an answer in the comments section below or on our Facebook page (you can also post your reasoning behind your answer choice!). Then check back in tomorrow for the correct answer and rationale explaining why the correct answer is correct and why the other answers are not correct.

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10 Responses to “Free Practice Question: Assessment”

  1. Sandra Crumb

    My answer is D

  2. Rosa

    I think is “D”

  3. Sylvia Slater

    D because he is feeling hopelse’s and helpless.

  4. Beverly Tomlinson

    My answer is ‘D’ as Therapists it’s important to assess the clients previous mental health status instead of his job history along with the risk of self-harm and his current coping skills.

  5. Laurie Mahr

    I would say D. Of course we should be assessing for risk of self harm but by also assessing mental health history will help determine level of risk by identify any past incidents or attempts. So mental health history would take precedent over job history in this situation

  6. April Shields

    I believe the answer is C. Exploring job history if relevant but not the next best action

  7. Laura Bevilacqua

    “D” because it covers self harm, coping skills and mental health history which are all pertinent. I consider mental health history more important than job history.

  8. Arnyis Woodberry


  9. Michelle P

    My answer is D.

  10. Blenda Williams

    D.Lets look at warning signs hopelessness, lost.disvourage


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