Social-Emotional and Behavioural Assessments
This constitutes an essential part of the initial phase of therapy as it allows the therapist to develop a deeper understanding of the child’s symptomatology by
tapping into their internal world in a respectful and non-threatening way. It is also a helpful way to establish a therapeutic rapport and develop a relationship built on trust, understanding and unconditional regard.
Typically, social and emotional assessments involve projective drawings such as the Draw-a-Person and the Kinetic Family Drawing test. The idea behind this
activity is that children “project” their hidden feelings, unconscious attitudes, needs and motivations into the picture which can then be interpreted and understood.
Other projective tests include the Children’s Apperception Test (CAT) which requires a child to look at a series of ambiguous pictures and tell a brief story about
each picture. This provides insight into emotions, defence mechanisms, internal conflicts, coping strategies, and information about conscious and unconscious
Checklists and questionnaires are often administered to parents and teachers for the purpose of understanding their perspectives of the child and it allows a
comparison of how the child presents in different contexts. Measures for anxiety, depression and social competencies are commonly used. Depending on the
age of the child, self-report forms may also be completed.
In order to understand a child’s behavioural profile, parents and teachers may complete several questionnaires which measure certain aspects of adaptive and
maladaptive behaviours. These questionnaires are valuable when a child may be struggling with attention, concentration, impulsivity, regulation, aggression,
inhibition. social relationships and other areas of executive functioning.