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Informal Assessments in Psychology


Informal assessments are assessment procedures that are used in informal situations. These settings include settings that are not structured in nature. Informal assessments are therefore procedures that are developed at home or homegrown which are aimed at assessing certain aspects of a situation (Neukrug & Fawcett, 2010). Though they are subjective, these assessment procedures are usually set up to meet certain standards (Neukrug & Fawcett, 2010).

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Types of informal assessments include observation, rating scales, numerical scales, and rank order scales. When working with children there are two techniques which one can be used. These techniques are observation and rating scales.

Observation is an important technique when one wishes to seek to understand an individual in an informal setting. This normally takes place in the child’s natural setting and gives the observer an opportunity to note specific behaviors one is working towards (Neukrug & Fawcett, 2010). As compared to other techniques, this technique is advantageous when working with children because one is able to target a specific behavior, that is, event sampling, without noting the time.

In addition to this, there is the time sampling approach where the observer takes note of the time allocated in order to obtain the information needed. Rating scales on the other hand are techniques that are also suitable in informal settings. They are advantageous to use since they can be easily developed by the observer (Neukrug & Fawcett, 2010). In the case of observing children, the rating scales are vital instruments since they can be constructed within a short span of time and used to obtain information from a child quite easily.

In spite of the challenges associated with them such as the hallo effect, they normally give a general overview of the child who is being observed. In essence, the rating scales and the observation schedules can be used by both professionals and close relatives to the children. As compared to other techniques, they are not complex, thus they remain to be suitable techniques. Question two: Case Study

The case study presents a situation whereby a man is complaining about the state of affairs in his house that makes him feel incapacitated to bring the changes which are desired. In this case, George feels that there is something wrong with the family thus he seeks professional advice (Neukrug & Fawcett, 2010). As per the situation, George holds the belief that his family has the potential of being happier and comfortable, yet that is not the case. Thus as a therapist, there are several things that one can use in order to evaluate what is happening in this case. First and foremost, it is important for the therapist to carry out an assessment.

In this case, there are several types of techniques that can be preferred. The most preferred assessment technique would be environmental assessment techniques. This technique is crucial because it would provide vital information about the kind of environment which George operates in (Neukrug & Fawcett, 2010). The assessment procedure in this case would include collecting information from George’s home and workplace.

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The information shall be largely obtained through self-report and observation approaches. The therapist shall carry out direct observation of George’s workplace and home. This will be done in order to obtain the actual information about what is happening within the life of George. Home visits will be considered because it is not unusual to discover vital information about the client which may not surface in the therapy session. The therapist will also use situation assessment. In this case, the therapist will seek to create a situation that depicts the natural situation in order to assess what happens in the real setting.

This entails role play where the therapist will determine how George might act or normally acts in certain situations. Finally, the therapist may use the socio-metric assessment procedure. This procedure is used when the therapist seeks to determine the position and the dynamics that are elicited within George’s family and workplace. This assessment technique will bring to the fore the kind of relationships which are existing within George’s family. Thus the therapist will be able to know exactly what the cause of the problems within the family is.

In order to effectively obtain the information which is sought, there are various instruments that must be used. These instruments include the behavior rating inventory of executive function (Neukrug & Fawcett, 2010). This instrument will bring to the fore the behavioral and emotional functioning of George’s children. The questionnaire filled by the teachers and the parents gives a reflection of the cognitive processes of the child. Lastly, the emotional or behavior disorder scale is an instrument that should be completed in order to help in identifying whether there are some emotional and behavioral disorders in George’s children.

The second assessment technique which can be used in this case is the records and personal record documents. These records will help the therapist to evaluate the personal beliefs, values, and behaviors George. The information is obtained from the personal records and the journals which belong to George will help the therapist to seek to obtain the right strategies which are in line with the beliefs which are held by George.

Based on the assessment technique which is preferred, there are a number of people within George’s family who will have to undergo the assessment. On top of the list is George’s wife, Teresa. It is important to establish what the wife thinks about the prevailing situation. This will give a reflection of what is happening and what can be done. The information obtained from Teresa will enable the therapist to clearly identify the point of disconnect or discontent between the two.

The reason as to why Teresa will form a crucial part of the assessment is because, in George’s word, he feels that there is something wrong with the wife who seems not to appreciate the efforts which he is making. Essentially, the information derived in this case will further depict the kind of atmosphere in the house in which the family thrives under. Secondly, the therapist should also assess the children further. This will enable the therapist to understand the root cause of the prevailing problems within the family. Consequently, the therapist will obtain the information as to what role the children within George’s family are playing towards aggravating the prevailing situation.

Advantages of the Environmental Assessment technique

The reason as to why this technique will be preferred is because it provides the therapist with vital information about the entire situation. This information might not be obtained using other approaches which have been studied before. In addition, the technique gives the therapist an opportunity to interrogate all the possible causes of the problems which are facing the stated case. It is also worth noting that the information obtained from the two approaches will provide the therapist with an easy task of analyzing what is the best way forward. This is because the therapist will have noted the basic issues and aspirations of the entire family thus work out an intervention plan.

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Ethical considerations

Any work that involves working with people or human beings needs to be in line with ensuring that certain standards are upheld. These standards are what amount to ethics. In essence, these standards serve to protect the rights of the client as well as ensure that the therapist performs the work which is needed. In the case of George, the therapist should ensure that the information obtained remains confidential.

In cases where the therapist needs vital information, it is important for him or her to ensure that he informs the client about the intentions at hand. Furthermore, it is important to ensure that the quality of service which is rendered by the therapist is in line with the quality standards that are required. Lastly, the therapist should not coerce or force any person from giving information about any issue. The person who is being interviewed or questioned should be given an opportunity to know the objectives of the session and the rights that one has before commencing any session.


Neukrug, E., & Fawcett, R. (2010). Essentials of Testing and Assessment: A Practical Guide for Counselors, Social Workers, and Psychologists (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

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