010 Transcript

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Dr. Sharp: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. This is Dr. Jeremy Sharp. Welcome to The Testing Psychologist podcast, episode 10. 

Welcome everybody to another episode of The Testing Psychologist podcast. I’m excited to be talking with Dr. Megan Warner today.

Megan Warner, PhD is a clinical psychologist and the owner and founder of Guilford Psychological Services, in Guilford, Connecticut, a practice that’s currently in the process of being developed. After running her private practice for a number of years, Megan saw a need to form a central location where individuals throughout the region could find compassionate, nonjudgmental, and scientifically-driven providers that offer high-quality individual and group support to help people find and reclaim themselves and build the lives they yearn to have.

Guilford Psychological Services expands upon Megan’s thriving private practice and will offer individualized, high-quality, high-end support, informed and designed by science. In her practice, Megan specializes in trauma, mindfulness-based approaches, perinatal and postpartum mood and anxiety, and collaborative therapeutic assessment, which we’ll be talking about today.

In addition to running her practice, she is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. She is also a wife and a mother to two young children.  

Megan, welcome to The Testing Psychologist. 

Dr. Warner: Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here. 

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, of course. I have to ask right off the bat doing that introduction. When you tell people that you work at Yale, how do they respond? 

Dr. Warner: If I tell people in like Arkansas that I work at Yale, they think that’s amazing. But if I tell people up here in Connecticut, that I work at Yale, that’s the most ordinary thing you could ever hear up here. [00:02:00]”Why are you telling me that?” is their response, and “What about it?” Everybody works at Yale up here. That’s the position, although it’s great. It’s wonderful. 

Dr. Sharp: Sure. It’s all relative, I suppose.

Dr. Warner: It’s all relative. Not everybody works at Yale, but it’s a lot of therapists and a lot of people have shared appointments or do a lot of things because it’s nice to work over there. I love it. 

Dr. Sharp: Sure. That sounds great. I have to admit, I had a little employment envy reading that description.

Dr. Warner: I should say, I volunteer. Let’s call it voluntary, but I get access to the library. There are all sorts of perks they give you, so it’s good.

Dr. Sharp: That’s worth it.

Dr. Warner: Yeah, it’s totally worth it. It’s good. 

Dr. Sharp: Fantastic. Well, thanks for coming on the show. This is, like I said, really exciting. We are going to be having a chat about therapeutic or collaborative assessment, which is something that you have integrated into your practice over the years. I’ve got lots of questions for you, but maybe we could just start with how you got into assessment and decided to integrate that into your practice in the first place. 

Dr. Warner: I’ve always liked assessment. I’ve always liked data, numbers, how things look statistically and how they match, and how we experience them in our lives.

And so what drew me to the field in the first place was the study of personality. So I was at The University of Iowa learning about personality. And that’s what really sealed my desire to go into the research side of psychology for a while because personality measurement is really interesting.

So, my background was at first in personality. And so, when I was looking at grad schools, I was really drawn to places where I could continue measurement and look at measurements and also develop my clinical skills. So on the scientific side, I liked that measurement side and it goes so nicely [00:04:00] with clinical work when you can use it in a way that you can marry the two.

Dr. Sharp: Absolutely. So you specifically look for graduate programs that integrated more assessment into the training, is that right?

Dr. Warner: Yeah. The advisor that I was drawn to… I ended up going to Texas, and the guy that I ended up working with, his name is Leslie Morey, and he’s fabulous. He wrote the PAI. When I found that school and knew I had the chance to be working with them, I was pretty excited because the PAI is a great measure. It’s a clinical measure. You get some personality data from it. And so that was the draw. And then obviously once you’re working with someone who developed a measure, you get a lot of measurement experience. And so, it was great.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, absolutely. Wow. He was an author of the PAI. That’s incredible that you got to work with him.

Dr. Warner: Yeah, he’s incredible. I was very lucky. 

Dr. Sharp: That’s great. So, just in case, for anyone who’s listening who might not know, the PAI- Personality Assessment Inventory is one of the, I’d say, major personality assessments for adults. There’s an adolescent version as well. Right, Megan?

Dr. Warner: Yeah, it’s a great clinical measure. So you get things like depression and anxiety. For example, the depression scale goes into subscales like cognitive signs of depression and affective symptoms of depression, physiological. Most of the scales are like that where you can break down something that feels like a diagnostic issue into their subsets. And there’s quite a bit of personality data mixed throughout. You can take it online. It’s great. It’s like a rival to the MMPI, so people that use the MMPI can also check out the PAI.

Dr. Sharp: Right. I know everybody has their preferences in what measures they use.

Dr. Warner: Certainly.

Dr. Sharp: And I actually, with all the testing that we do here in our practice, I switched over to primarily using the PAI probably [00:06:00] 18 months ago, something like that. And I really like it. I think it serves me.

Dr. Warner: Do you like it? 

Dr. Sharp: I do really like it. We can always dig into the nuts and bolts of different assessment measures, but I like it because it feels a little bit more accessible to me than say the MCMI-IV, which is my alternative personality measure. It just feels a little more easy to read, and like I said, maybe more accessible or personable, if that’s a better way to describe it.

Dr. Warner: Totally. I say, good choice with the PAI. 

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. You’re not biased? 

Dr. Warner: No, not at all. 

Dr. Sharp: I was going to ask why you use the PAI, but that answers that question. So, let me go back a little bit and just talk with you. Our topic for today is therapeutic assessment or collaborative assessment. So can you just speak a little bit to what that is and how that might be different than a typical evaluation or assessment? 

Dr. Warner: If you think about a typical assessment, the traditional approach is, we’re hired by a parent or a psychiatrist or primary care or a client comes to us saying, so, and so says, I need to be assessed, I need a neuropsychological assessment or I need a diagnostic assessment.

So the client comes in a position of seeking our expertise and our authority, but it’s certainly not an equivalent dynamic in any sense of the word. So traditional assessment, there’s a little bit of a power differential or a lot of a power differential depending on who’s doing the assessment. And the goals are to diagnose, or treat, to increase understanding, but it’s not usually a collaborative process. Obviously, the assessment process involves two people or more, but it’s not necessarily a therapeutic assessment or a collaborative assessment.

The idea is that you’re working with the client to try to answer questions or to try to give them something that’s positive as a result of the [00:08:00] assessment. So really it’s kind of like who the client is, is shifted. The client isn’t necessarily the psychiatrist or the teacher or whatever the client really is. The client who’s coming in to be assessed. What can you give them when you’re generating data and you’re also of course generating the data that you can use for a bigger assessment measure. But the idea is that assessment in itself, that assessment experience can be something that is positive and therapeutically may help the client have some positive impact on their life. 

Dr. Sharp: I really like how you put that phrase of the focus. The client shifts from being the referral source to the actual person who you are working with, which makes intuitive sense, but, you’re right, that’s not always how it works out with traditional evaluations sometimes.

Dr. Warner: Right. The idea is that we say, okay, well, I’m an expert on this test. Sure, I’m an expert on the PAI at this point in my life, but who is the expert on the client really? It’s the client. So, we really just put our trust and that just is a spirit of equality, which I think is really nice for the clients because it’s really intimidating to come in and get assessed. And if they think that you’re working for them and with them, instead of like, oh, I just want to evaluate you. You’re a set of numbers. I’m going to write a report on you. It’s scary. And it’s not really so direct. It’s about them, but it’s not immediately clear how they’re going to gain from all that data. 

Dr. Sharp: I couldn’t agree more. I have so many folks who come into the office and one of the first things they say is some variation of, we’ve never done this before. I don’t know what this is about. Finding some way to voice their vulnerability or apprehension about being there. And we don’t get a great representation in the media, I think, especially with assessment and evaluation. It doesn’t typically look good. So, this is really important. 

Dr. Warner: That’s exactly right. And maybe you may want to try this. I’m hoping that a lot of the people that’ll listen [00:10:00] to this will give this a shot. When you have somebody come in and you say, okay, well…

The main therapeutic assessment idea is that you say, well, what 3 or 4 questions do you have about yourself? What do you actually want to know? And when clients can say, well, like, gosh, nobody’s actually ever asked them what they want to know about themselves. When you’re going for an assessment, you’re deferring to the expert about what you should be knowing about yourself. So if you ask the client, Hey, what have you always wondered about yourself and what feedback are people giving you about how people say you are, how people say you function? Usually, people will say, “Well…”

I have two cases that I can sprinkle in through here. And a good example is, I saw somebody years ago whose parents had said, you’re so angry all the time. And so, one of her questions was, I don’t feel like I’m so angry all the time. Am I so angry all the time? And as it turned out, she was just extremely introverted and painfully shy and her parents had been misconstruing this shyness.

So she had a question. It was a really easy question to answer with the assessment. And she was able to bring them the assessment report which was tailored to her questions and they healed a rift. They came to understand that it wasn’t anger at all. She was just not really that verbal and preferred to be alone.

Dr. Sharp: Oh, I love that.

Dr. Warner: Yeah. And there are a lot of stories like that. It’s really empowering to the clients. I should also say as we talk about this, just to add that therapeutic assessment, collaborative assessment, I’ll probably suggest you put a book on your show notes, right?

Dr. Sharp: Yes.

Dr. Warner: Okay, perfect. A really good book is this book called In Our Clients’ Shoes, which talks about one type of therapeutic [00:12:00] assessment. So the idea of therapeutic assessment with “ta” is it’s a spirit of having an attitude that assessment is more than just collecting information and that we want this to be a positive experience for our clients, but therapeutic assessment with “TA” is a semi-structured approach that has been developed by the guy, Stephen Finn. He’s this like really cool guy. He’s at the University of Texas at Austin. And that’s why I suggest whoever is interested in this to pick up this book In Our Clients’ Shoes.

I’m going to talk about his approach, which is a semi-structured approach of how people come up with their questions and how it works. But in the interest of full disclosure, they do have a certification process, and I don’t want to convey that I’m certified in it. They have a credentialing process. I was trained in it. I feel pretty competent. I feel okay saying I know what I’m talking about, but I’m not technically certified as some of these things have a certification process.

Dr. Sharp: Sure. Yeah, of course. I appreciate that disclosure. So let’s dig into maybe some of the nuts and bolts of this. I’m interested, of course, in the business aspect of it and how you added it to your practice, marketed assessment service initially, got clients, how much you charge for an assessment like this, that kind of stuff. And then, maybe we can transition and talk about what it actually looks like in the room and the experience with the client, that kind of thing.

Dr. Warner: That would be great. Well, I will follow your lead and answer whatever you want.

Dr. Sharp: Great. Well, let’s start with, how did you initially add these assessments to your practice? How did you make time for them? How much time is required? How long’s the report? All that kind of stuff. 

Dr. Warner: Well, when I opened my practice, this was always going to be part of the practice. So this has been [00:14:00] something that has been present in my practice from the get-go because I think the value is so great and it’s really great for new clients. It establishes a collaborative relationship from the start. So it’s always been part of the practice.

How much time I allot for them, usually the assessments I use can be done by the clients at home over the internet. You’ve probably seen this with the PAI. There’s software and you can actually send people the link. I use a few other measures. So I don’t need to allot a tremendous amount of time luckily, because I’m not having to supervise people actually filling out the items in my office. But I would say, a good therapeutic assessment, a good collaborative assessment probably takes maybe 2 to 3 hours total. I probably take longer than I need to conceptualize and look at the numbers and data. I could probably be faster, but I’m a little bit fussy. But I’d say2 to 3 hours a time. 

Dr. Sharp: Okay. So that’s a fair chunk of time, I suppose. Now, do you structure it so that you have time set aside each week to write the reports, or do you just fit it in between your appointments? How does that work? 

Dr. Warner: I don’t have a set amount of time. I don’t have a report writing time. I try to keep my caseload to a number that’s manageable for me. I set aside Wednesday afternoons and Fridays to do administrative things. So that’s where that would fall. Wednesdays and Fridays are the designated writing time and phone call time and catch-up on note time.

I’m not doing more of them than I can handle. So I’m not in a situation where I’m having to kill myself finding time because usually that Wednesday afternoon or Friday time is enough for what I have on my plate. That’s a tenuous balance. I’m working on it.

Dr. Sharp: Nice. Oh my gosh. Yes. No, all too well.

Dr. Warner: Yeah, exactly.

[00:16:00] Dr. Sharp: Okay. I am curious, is a therapeutic assessment something that you would do with your existing clients, like in the middle of a course of therapy, or is it more of a one-off service that other clinicians might refer to you to work with their clients? How does that work? 

Dr. Warner: Both of those. If I had it my way, and I just haven’t made this happen, I would actually do it with everybody that comes in because you have an idea of a case, and it’s so helpful to flesh out your conceptualization. Sometimes I’m just wrong, but for efficiency’s sake, I haven’t done it with everybody that comes in.

Where I trained in grad school, towards the end of my grad school career, we did start doing it with everybody that came in, which was wonderful because you start the therapy process with a lot of data, but at this point how I’m doing it is, sometimes I do it with clients at the start. If I feel like people are really struggling and they know something’s wrong, but they don’t know what’s wrong, and they really have no idea, but they want to figure it out, sometimes that’s a good time to offer it because it’s like, well, why don’t we bring in some numbers? Let’s do an assessment.

Usually, people think that sounds fun and interesting, especially when I say like, what questions do you have about yourself? Because then it doesn’t feel so scary. They know they’re going to get something great out of it. But I do sometimes also introduce it in the middle of therapy because I get stuck with clients just like we all do. And sometimes I think like, there’s something else going on, but I can’t figure out what it is. And so sometimes then I’ll suggest like, have you ever done any assessment? Maybe we should try. I have this really great approach and we’ll answer questions you have about yourself or questions we have about the work. Like that’s where sometimes I’ll say, what about this? Maybe we have a question about this.

But then it can also be a one-off like people can just come in. There’s just value in having the assessment. There are positives that can come from people coming in just for 2 or 3 sessions. And then [00:18:00] also, psychiatrists, other psychologists can send clients that they’re stuck with to me. So, there are a number of avenues in which they come in. 

Dr. Sharp: I like that part that you said about people are just curious and if you frame it like, what do you want to know about yourself, that’s a nice way to open the process.

Dr. Warner: Totally.

Dr. Sharp: So, with the referral process, I am curious about that. How do you get the word out so to speak that you do these assessments and let others in the community know that they can refer their clients for a therapeutic assessment?

Dr. Warner: Well, when I started my practice, I was marketing more. I’m not doing so much of that now, but when I would talk about what I did, I would say, oh, I do this really neat assessment approach which is called therapeutic assessment. This is an approach where we can find out more about clients, where they feel really safe and they get this feedback report and it helps, especially if you’re feeling stuck or you can’t figure out what’s going on with the client.

So with other therapists or psychiatrists, I tended to lead with, “If you’re confused about what’s going on, this is a great way to clarify for both you and the client.” That was a good marketing hook. And then one thing I would offer, and usually other therapists find this very exciting because I’m not trying to take anybody’s clients.

Like you can sort of say, you can come for the feedback session. If you have a really good relationship with a therapist, clients may want to bring their therapist with you for the session where you discuss the results. And the therapist can also be involved in the questions. They can help designate that. I should just say, usually people are very excited by that. That seems really fun.

There are 2 psychiatrists where I just said, listen, just send me somebody you’re stuck with. This is a low investment for me to do 1 or 2 assessments for people just so they can see. And in that case, then they can just send somebody over for a 2 or 3 [00:20:00] session meeting. And then I write the report, and I think the rest is history because they see how valuable it is. 

Dr. Sharp: Mm-hmm. I love that line. Send me someone you’re stuck with. 

Dr. Warner: Yeah. Because we all have those, right? We all have those.

Dr. Sharp: Of course. That’s great. So let’s talk a little bit more about what this actually looks like with the client. So how do you tend to structure your feedback sessions once you’ve given the PAI and have the report ready? 

Dr. Warner: Well, the first thing is, before you even get to feedback, you have to help them construct the question. So the key is really in helping clients come up with questions that are answerable by the data. And almost any question can be reframed. That is something that is answerable depending on the assessment measures that you use. And obviously, you tailor the assessment measures to the question.

So there’s a couple of things. I’ll give another example case that was an interesting one. I saw someone who was, yeah, so I think this is a fun one. I saw somebody who was really high functioning professional, felt really healthy, felt really good about her life, solid marriage, and a good relationship with their kids. We’re modifying a couple of little details in here just to de-identify it. But mainly the questions were, I feel like I’m really healthy. I’ve been in and out of therapy. All my therapists say I’m healthy. I feel pretty good. Am I as psychologically healthy as I think, was one question. That’s a good one. Is my approach to life in terms of relationships as healthy as I think it is?

If you think about the PAI, there are some measures of relationships in negative relationship history and impulsive style, and there’s [00:22:00] also verbal aggression. So you can look if somebody tends to be aggressive versus assertive, all that. So are my relationships is healthy?

And then, the third was, I have this weight that I cannot lose and I feel that I’m really healthy, but all my efforts to diet and get rid of these last 50 pounds, I cannot shake this weight. Is there anything this test can tell me about why that might be?

So that’s all in the questions, right? When she had that question, I was like, what can I do? How am I going to get from what the data are and scales to answering that? But I had this little idea, maybe I would include a trauma measure because I work with trauma. She hadn’t mentioned any trauma, but sometimes trauma comes out in interesting ways. I knew I would get a little bit of trauma data from the PAI, but I wanted a little bit more.  And so that’s what I did.

Just a little bit more about how it’s done. You come up with 3 or 4 questions with the client; you help them. So if someone says like, am I an angry person? You can say like, well, what does the test tell me about anger in relationships? A lot of people ask, am I an introvert? Things like that. Those are more easily answerable.

But Stephen Finn’s way is that you design your feedback in a set of levels. So you have level one questions which are questions that wouldn’t be very upsetting. That would be like if somebody asked, am I an introvert, and they very well knew they were an introvert and they were just curious if that’s what the test said, it’s not that upsetting to hear, yeah, you are an introvert. It wouldn’t be upsetting, right?

Dr. Sharp: Right.

Dr. Warner: Level two questions are like, well, maybe this would be hard to hear. This isn’t how I saw myself, but it makes sense to [00:24:00] me. It’s like, well, I always thought I was assertive, the test says I’m a little aggressive. I get that. That makes sense. All right. Maybe I’m a little more than assertive. Like that’s not such a hard pill to swallow.

Level three questions are ones where maybe it’s painful. Maybe the feedback is hard to take. And that question that this woman asked about her weight, why can’t I lose the weight? I was pretty sure it was going to be a level three question. 

Dr. Sharp: What gave you that impression?

Dr. Warner: Well, it’s such a loaded topic. I’m dieting. I’m trying to lose 50 pounds. What’s wrong. Why can’t I lose the weight? That’s such a sensitive issue; weight and diet and eating, particularly if my clinical knows was right, that maybe there was a trauma piece, that’s going to be a hard message to deliver. It’s like, maybe this, maybe that, but that’s a tough conceptualization. So really these questions are inviting clients to hypothesize with you and case conceptualize with you.

So sure enough, the PAI looked great. She looked psychologically healthy. There was a little bit of hypervigilance and the PTSD subscales were a little elevated, but I probably wouldn’t have looked twice at them. I think I gave her the Trauma Symptom Inventory or something else, and there, she looked elevated intolerance of strong emotions. I forget what the subscale is. And I might be remembering the test I gave her wrong, but it was one that had a measure of tension reduction and affect regulation.

So basically, what the therapeutic assessment suggested was that she was barely effectively compartmentalizing her trauma. She was super high functioning. She didn’t have any depression or anxiety, but she had an [00:26:00] elevation in her need for tension reduction and strategies to regulate affect. So what that suggested, and again, we can’t know for sure, but what that suggested is that weight was probably the last… eating and diet was probably the final defense against the trauma.

And so again, that’s a level three feedback, right? Like, yeah, you’re right. You’re healthy. You’re psychologically healthy. And you know what, you’re right. Your relationship style is wonderful. And this one’s going to be painful, and this one’s going to be harder to hear, but what this data makes me wonder about is if this might be going on. And that was a powerful feedback session.

Dr. Sharp: Oh my gosh. Yes. How did she take that? 

Dr. Warner: She took it great. She was like, I need to learn how to feel. I get that. There are so many people that are high functioning and professional, all of us, regardless of functioning, sometimes we forget that feeling our emotions is an important part of living. And I think she just had a number of strategies to not feel things that were difficult, but she hadn’t thought twice about it because they were working. So it was emotional, but she was also really hopeful because it made so much sense to her. So she was quite happy and she felt very validated and seen.

I think that’s the other thing about therapeutic assessment is people really feel understood like, okay, I am really healthy. She was looking over her shoulder thinking maybe I’m not as psychologically as well as I think I am. And yet she was. She was psychologically doing well, but she just had this one coping strategy that wasn’t working for her.

Dr. Sharp: Right. That is such a nice case where it sounds like it was both validating but also illuminated some things for her that were really valuable and even hard to hear, but that it gave her some really valuable information. 

Dr. Warner: Right. And see, that’s such a great example of a therapeutic assessment case because that’s assessment [00:28:00] being used for therapeutically something very positive for the client. You’re using the data to help you with this conceptualization and clients can take something so positive from it. That’s exactly what happened. 

Dr. Sharp: I love that. And I think I also have to just note too, Megan, that it seems like you have a level of sophistication with the interpretation of the data that is really admirable to pull those things apart and make some of those conclusions. I think that’s one of the downfalls of assessment is people say, oh, it’s just data and it’s dry, but you just gave us a great example of how you can put a couple of measures together and really look at the whole picture and pull something really meaningful from it.

Dr. Warner: That’s so true. That’s such a good point. I’m so glad that you said that because you’re right. To do this, you really need to know the measures very well. This isn’t like getting a printout. I know the PAI has a printout. The MMPI, I think probably has a printout. I use the NEO-PI. It has a printout.

And you cannot rely on just that. You have to really know these measures. I would say, taking workshops in the PAI, or the NEO-PI or the MMPI, or whatever, because again, this is also something that can be used with kids. This can be used in neuropsychology. You have to know these measures really well.

And really, you have to know the whole idea that Stephen Finn is wanting to do, credentialing for therapeutic assessment, is so that people truly know what they’re doing and how to do it because you don’t want to be careless in giving this very deep, important feedback that we’re giving people. So it’s probably something that requires certainly a bit of training and or a lot of training depending on what you’re thinking. But yes, I think you’re right. I feel good about my knowledge of these tests. It’s taken a while, but it helps 

Dr. Sharp: Absolutely. Well, that’s clear that you’re pretty familiar with them. Yeah, that’s [00:30:00] fantastic. Just for people listening, do you have any suggestions, maybe books or websites or articles or seminars, that’s a lot of options by the way, for anyone who is interested in really diving deep into say the PAI and getting past just that printout level interpretation?

Dr. Warner: Yeah. Oh my gosh. I hope. All right. Let’s set the timer. I could go on about this all day. 

Dr. Sharp: Fair enough. Maybe I could help you out here. Would it be worthwhile to just say, Hey, we’ll put some links in the show notes and give you some time to put things together and share some of those resources?

Dr. Warner: For now, I’ll just say, yeah, sure. I’ll give you some. But for now, I’ll say, The essentials series is a really great series. I know a lot of us probably have a lot of the essentials books. The Essentials of PAI Assessment is a great book. It is very helpful because it breaks down the interpretation of the PAI in a few different ways, like just looking at the overall scale. And then it has a code-type interpretation. That book is well used here. So, that would be my thought about the PAI.

Society for Personality Assessment often has great workshops on therapeutic assessment. The website I would go to is therapeuticassessment.com. That’s Stephen Finn’s website. Everything that we’ve just talked about is really summarized. And the book, in the therapeutic assessment spirit, is the, In Our Client’s Shoes book by Stephen Finn. There’s just one more that’s called Collaborative / Therapeutic Assessment. It’s a case book. And that’s also by Stephen Finn and also Constance Fischer, and Leonard Handler.

So there are definitely books. There’s one other thing I didn’t say about how to do a therapeutic assessment, just to add really quick, which is that when you give the feedback, the other thing that you’re giving people is you’re giving a written report, which we could interpret that in so many ways. I always think of it as a bit of a transitional object, which is wonderful. People take it with them, but [00:32:00] they get to have it. They can show it around, they can reread it, but you also do include recommendations. So if someone is struggling with…

You always include recommendations. And again, it’s not just the conventional suggestions and recommendations section, right? It’s like, look, it looks like you are an introvert. Another one I did that was so great is, there was a couple that was having so much marital conflict because the woman was feeling like her husband didn’t want to engage enough in interpersonal situations. To assess this person, the greatest value they had was a high openness score. He really valued aesthetics. He valued art and music, but he didn’t really value interpersonal relationships.

So, on the PAI, there were these measures of dominance and warmth. And this guy was very low on warmth. It just wasn’t a value. The relationship just wasn’t of value. And when he was able to say, and I was able to write in a recommendation, help her understand, explain to her in these frustrated moments that it’s not that you don’t love her. It’s just that interpersonal situations is not what gives you pleasure in your life. It’s going to a museum or a concert.

So, just to say that the recommendations are very specific for the person’s questions and that’s usually very liberating for clients to feel so seen and then to actually have ideas about what to do about their questions.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Like, Hey, you get me. I feel heard or something. That’s really appreciated.

Dr. Warner: Yeah.

Dr. Sharp: Oh my goodness. I feel like even being someone who does a ton of assessments, I have learned so much in this half-hour. I’m even thinking, how do I restructure my feedback sessions and how do I make these recommendations more specific? And this has been fantastic, Megan. I really appreciate you sharing all of this. And to be honest, I feel [00:34:00] like we’re scratching the surface. I feel like I could talk to you for another hour about therapeutic assessment, the PAI, and how to do this.

Dr. Warner: Yeah. Well, we can still do that. Maybe not this particular time, but we can speak again for sure.

Dr. Sharp: That would be great. I would love to have you back. So as we wrap up, is there anything else that you would like us to know or final thoughts you’d like to share about therapeutic or collaborative assessment? , 

Dr. Warner: The only other thing to say is that since you’re really targeting the business of assessment, which I think is so important, it’s so hard to get started in a practice. And I think assessment has so much value. Just to say that, for those people that are thinking about doing training or reading more about these things, I really think it’s a smart investment because there’s so much need for assessment. And this is really an attractive way to deliver the assessment. We can really help people and change people’s lives.

I know a lot of people that do assessments don’t necessarily want to take on long-term clients, but you can still have a clinical impact through assessment. So I would strongly recommend trying to find a workshop or go to Austin and do one of the training with Stephen Finn. I think there’s a lot of value in it. And so, for those that this spoke to, don’t leave it here, go do it. 

Dr. Sharp: Absolutely. Thank you so much. If people have any questions or want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to reach you? 

Dr. Warner: They can send me an email. It’s on my website. My website is meganwarnerphd.com. There’s a little contact form where you can just email me at meganwarnerphd.com, and I will try to help if I can. 

Dr. Sharp: That sounds great. Well, Megan, thank you again so much. I really appreciate your time. This has been fantastic. I hope that we can talk again sometime soon. 

Dr. Warner: All right. Thank you so much for having me. 

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. Take care. Bye-bye.

Dr. Warner: Bye.

Dr. Sharp: All right. Thanks, everyone for listening to that interview with Dr. Megan [00:36:00] Warner out in Connecticut. I really enjoyed that. Megan had a lot to say about therapeutic assessment. I really liked the way that she framed assessment as an intervention and as a way to support and strengthen people’s perceptions of themselves.

Thanks again for listening. Let’s see. I think next week we’re going to switch gears a little bit and we’re going to be talking about how to do a good school observation when you’re doing pediatric psych or neuropsychological assessment.

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more, and get more resources, you can always go to the website at thetestingpsychologist.com and there you can find links to the blog. You can find links to the Facebook community, which is growing and so exciting to see that happening. Otherwise, you can get some resources for testing and building testing in your practice. And you can also sign up for our four-week email course, the four-week blueprint that will give you some really concrete actionable tips on building your testing practice. And that’s at thetestingpsychologist.com/fourweekblueprint.

As always, thank you so much for listening. If you have a minute, do me a huge favor, go into your podcast app and rate, maybe even review the podcast and just help continue to grow this resource. Thanks. Take care.

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