Social workers, staff in residential assessment centers and other professionals use different therapy assessment programs to offer therapeutic care to vulnerable children. Residential assessment centers offer in-house therapy sessions or hire trusted outside therapists to help children deal with challenges in the best way possible.
This therapy assessment and therapeutic care include both one-on-one sessions and group sessions. Therapists initially carry out a therapy assessment that determines what combination of therapies will be used to help vulnerable children move forwards in life.
This article describes 8 creative ways for therapy assessment of vulnerable children.
Informed Response for Trauma
Therapists in residential assessment centers are often involved when the children and their families need therapeutic care to come out of stress and distress. They provide support and protection to the children and families if necessary.
Children might have experienced a traumatic event leading to chronic stress. Instead of placing too much value on verbal communication, the therapist should develop an understanding of the trauma. This ensures a comprehensive and fair therapy assessment.
Build Safe Relationships
While doing a therapy assessment, a therapist should also be able to reflect on how he or she uses themselves. What can they do from their side to enhance communication and build trust?
Moreover, the therapist should keep in mind that their verbal or non-verbal communication or actions can also create barriers to effective communication. The therapist should try to improve outcomes by working restoratively with families.
Using art-making, playing and other creative activities offer opportunities for better assessment. Words are not enough to describe unspeakable experiences. However, the therapist can see and hear those experiences when expressed through the arts. The therapist has to explore the trauma.
Lack of thoughtful assessment can retraumatize children, adolescents and even adults. The therapist should work at a sensory, creative and embodied level to create a sense of safety to get connected with their stories.
Sometimes vulnerable children have additional communication requirements due to language or culture. Some children have complex health needs or disabilities. Such situations can cause a lack of confidence in some therapists during therapy assessment or therapeutic care.
So, the therapist should engage in culturally competent assessments, working with interpreters if needed.
Respected therapists are busy professionals. Moreover, they have done therapy assessment hundreds of times in the past. However, when they are under pressure, they often assume that the quickest way to collect information is an assessment session by talking and asking questions.
It’s a therapist’s job to moreover utilize their own creative tool kits to be more sensitive while engaging vulnerable and traumatized children and families.
Exploring in the right direction makes it easy for a therapist to find what they are looking for. In some situations, the therapist has to explore intergenerational patterns or family history to understand the history between children and their parents. This helps in exploring complexities in relationships.
Use Diverse Sources
Newly qualified therapists are required to build their own direct work tool kit whilst more experienced therapists need to update and extend their repertoire. Here they should use a range of sources to find the most effective activities or ideas for therapy assessment and format each exercise whilst identifying the best resources.
A therapist can learn about more practical, usable resources by reading the work of other practitioners. They can read books, case studies, research and review literature to stay up to date with the latest care practices, activities and ideas. This also helps in building a portable creative tool kit that the therapist can keep in his bag.
Different residential care centers use different assessment frameworks. However, using creative ideas and relationship-based principles is the best way to undertake a robust assessment.