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Assessment in Marriage and Family Counseling. Chapter 11. Difficulties with Assessment of Couples and Families. Determining what should be assessed and defining it Assessing variables that are fluid and fluctuate Interpreting multiple, often different, perspectives within the couple or family

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Assessment in Marriage and Family Counseling


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difficulties with assessment of couples and families
Difficulties with Assessment of Couples and Families
  • Determining what should be assessed and defining it
  • Assessing variables that are fluid and fluctuate
  • Interpreting multiple, often different, perspectives within the couple or family
  • Developing adequate norming samples
  • Some family assessments are analogous to projective techniques with regard to the high degree of subjectivity in interpreting the results.
observational and mapping activities cont
Observational and Mapping Activities(cont.)
  • Provide different types of data than paper-and-pencil tests
  • Family Task Interview
  • Limitations addressed through development of coding systems
  • Some Common Examples:
    • Genograms
    • Family Sculpting
    • Other Mapping Techniques
observational and mapping activities cont1
Observational and Mapping Activities(cont.)
  • Genograms
    • With counselor, clients create family tree recording last 3 generations
    • Associated with Bowen family system theory
    • Helps to identify cross-generational transmission of family patterns
    • McGoldrick et al. (1999) three stages:
      • Mapping family structure
      • Recording family information
      • Delineating family relationships
    • Interpretation involves constructing hypotheses that are later examined with the family
    • Few studies exist on reliability and validity of genograms
observational and mapping activities cont2
Observational and Mapping Activities(cont.)
  • Family Sculpting
    • Associated with the work of Virginia Satir
    • Involves positioning either family members or objects that represent the family in physical space that symbolizes the relations and roles within the family system
    • Kveback Family Sculpture Technique
      • More structured than most sculpting techniques
observational and mapping activities cont3
Observational and Mapping Activities(cont.)
  • Other Mapping Techniques
    • Ecomap(L’Abate, 1994)
      • Used to gather information about the larger context of the family and the home
    • House Floor Plan (L’Abate, 1994)
      • Requires drawing of home floor plan and indicating where each member sleeps and spends time
  • Observation and mapping activities should not be used as the sole means of family assessment because of the problems with reliability and the limited validation information
use of instruments designed for individuals
Use of Instruments Designed for Individuals
  • Information can be used to identify how differences in personality or preference may contribute to family issues
  • Examples:
    • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
    • Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis (criss-cross testing)
    • Beck Depression Inventory
  • Problem: these instruments are unable describe the family system
  • Cierpka (2005) proposed a model where the focus of gathering information from an individual assessment is on how the individual organizes himself or herself within the family.
formalized assessment instruments specific to marriage and family
Formalized Assessment Instruments Specific to Marriage and Family
  • Assessment in premarital counseling
    • PREmarital Personal and Relationship Evaluation (PREPARE)
      • REPARE is one of five instruments of the PREPARE/ENRICH program – designed to facilitate discussion
  • Couples or marital assessment
    • Dyadic Adjustment Scale
      • Measures the adjustment quality of married couples of similar dyads
    • Marital Satisfaction Inventory-Revised
      • Assist couples in communicating about a broad range of relationship issues
    • Couple’s Pre-Counseling Inventory, Revised Edition
      • Good for counselors who want to focus on marital counseling
      • Extensive and detailed 16-page inventory
family assessment instruments
Family Assessment Instruments
  • Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale - IV
  • Family Assessment Measure-III
    • Assesses family functioning that integrates individual members and collective characteristics of the family
  • Family Environment Scale
  • To select instruments, examine family constructs and dynamics that are attempting to be addressed, and understand instrument’s limitations