I LOVE testing and evaluation. But my practice wasn’t always assessment-focused. I maintained a full therapy practice with testing “on the side” for a couple of years before switching over entirely. Now I can’t imagine doing anything different. If you’re considering adding assessment services, go for it! Here are four great reasons to do so:
There’s a much lower likelihood of burnout
When I was seeing 20-30 therapy clients a week, I would come home and pretty much collapse on the couch unable to speak for a few hours. Some blessed individuals have the demeanor to see so many clients week in and week out, but that’s not me. I found myself loving the down time to write reports. As I shifted my practice to more assessment, I gradually got more energized and looked forward to each day much more.
It’s a great way to do some writing
I think many of us enjoy writing in some form or fashion. Unless you maintain a regular blog or journal, there unfortunately aren’t many opportunities to write as a mental health professional (no, case notes do not count). Now, it’s not like your assessment reports are going to become New York Times bestsellers, but I found that even writing lengthier clinical documents with a narrative history filled a gap for me. I just enjoy putting words together and weaving a story, and writing testing reports allows for that in a surprisingly enjoyable way.
You’ll likely have a unique, highly needed specialty
In our town of about 175,000 people, I can count on one hand the number of practitioners or clinics who do quality assessment. If you live in a small to medium-sized city, there’s a good chance that you could be one of very few individuals offering assessment services. If you happen to be skilled at one of the more specialized branches of testing (i.e., adoption evals, forensic evals, neuropsych testing, PRE’s), you can probably corner the market fairly easily.
Testing is concrete, short-term, and super helpful
Clients and clinicians both benefit from a good assessment. It can deliver quick, accurate information that can usually be immediately applied in some form or fashion. Unless you’re doing solution-focused or brief CBT of some sort, therapy tends to produce less tangible results. I sometimes struggled with not knowing whether clients were really getting better. With assessment, I know that I am solving a very specific problem and offering concrete recommendations for my clients. They feel good walking away with an action plan, and I feel good knowing that I’ve provided evidence-based recommendations.
These are just a few reasons to consider adding testing services to your practice, but there are many more. I’d love to hear why you love testing and how it’s been helpful in your practice!