Counseling psychologists use a variety of assessments to identify a client's strengths and problems. These assessments include objective and projective personality tests, cognitive functioning tests, vocational interest tests, and brief scales to measure specific symptoms. Screening and evaluation should be conducted at the time of intake and throughout treatment to identify any issues that may arise or manifest later on. It is important for counselors to have additional training, experience, and clinical supervision to understand the interrelationships between drug use and other aspects of a person's life, explore their motivation for treatment, and understand the scope of services available in the community behavioral health system.
When clients present themselves in the legal system after driving under the influence of alcohol, in the emergency room after suffering an injury while under the influence of alcohol, or in a primary care office with medical problems related to substance abuse, they should be referred for a comprehensive, gender-sensitive evaluation. This evaluation should identify areas that need more detailed assessment, such as childhood trauma or intimate partner violence. The selection and administration of these tests should be done with guidance from behavioral health professionals who are trained in testing instruments and have knowledge about intimate partner violence. It is important for counselors to understand the client's strengths and problems in order to provide appropriate interventions.
By using these assessments, counselors can gain a better understanding of their clients and provide them with the best possible care.