Methods Of Psychological Assessment

The overarching purpose of a psychological evaluation is to identify and quantify severity of problems integral to substance abuse that are amenable to modification. Based on evaluation results, interventions can thus be directed at changing the individual, the environment, or the quality of person-environment interaction to assist the client in terminating substance consumption from the person's behavioral repertoire.

In addition to promoting an intervention strategy, psychological assessment offers the opportunity to monitor quantitatively changes occurring during the course of treatment. The use of brief standardized self-report checklists or rating scales, for example, facilitates objective and quantitative documentation of therapeutic progress. One multivariate instrument designed for this purpose is the revised Drug Use Screening Inventory (Tarter, 1990). The obtained information not only provides ongoing feedback to the clinician but also serves the purpose of goal setting for the client. Furthermore, demonstrating to the client via objective and quantitative indices that he or she is benefiting from treatment serves the important purpose of sustaining motivation for continued investment in the rehabilitation. The following discussion reviews the most commonly used instruments for drug and alcohol assessment.

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