Fall 2019 - EDUC 862 G002

Individual Assessment in Counselling (3)

Class Number: 10832

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 4:30 PM – 7:20 PM
    Location: TBA

  • Prerequisites:

    Acceptance to the MA/MEd counselling psychology program or permission of instructor. Students must successfully complete a Criminal Record Check.



Assessment procedures used in educational and community counselling settings, including intake assessment, case conceptualization, observational procedures, diagnostic categories, ethics, bias and multicultural and diversity issues.


This course is designed to introduce students to a wide range of formal as well as informal assessment strategies available for entry-level counsellors, in order to ensure rigor in their clinical as well as actuarial approaches to case conceptualization/formulation. The scope of the contents covered in the course is limited to Master/Entry-level counsellors. Topics of discussions include:
1. Introduction of forms/types of assessments in counselling and psychotherapy
2. Ethical principles, responsibilities, and qualifications in conducting assessments
3. Contextual/diversity/equity/social justice issues in assessment
4. Introduction to pscyhological "constructs"
5. Fundamental principles of psychometrics
6. Conducting intake interviews, assessing readiness for change, risks & resources
7. Assessing the therapeutic alliance & conducting end-of-session case processing
8. Assessing psychopathology
9. Introduction to transdiagnostic approach
10. Suicide risk assessment
11. Responding to potential child abuse and neglect
12. Introduction to case conceptualization/formulation
13. Approaches to goal setting and treatment planning

Professional Requirements

Students are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with ethical and professinal guidelines at all times so that an atmosphere of safety and trust can be established. Respectful dialogue is expected between students and with the instructor. Each student is reponsible for being prepared for class and participating fully in all aspects of the course. Students missing more than two classes will be required to withdraw from the course as per the Counselling Psychology Policies and Procedures.


At the completion of the course students should be able to:
1. Develop hypotheses about client problems, patterns, and strengths
2. Develop foundational knowledge and skills for conceptualizing cases and formulating problems
3. Demonstrate a working knowledge of the purposes and function of the DSM
4. Describe and identify specific common DSM diagnoses
5. Describe and identify limitation of the DSM
6. Describe emerging transdiagnostic mechanisms
7. Develop essential knowledge and skill to conduct suicide risk assessment and in responding to potential child abuse and neglect
8. Develop assessment skills for working with diversity issues (e.g. SES, gender)
9. Develop cultural competency in assessing culturally diverse clients
10. Understand the guidelines and ethics related to assessment and diagnosis


  • Learning reflection porfolio (3% each class x 10 classes) 30%%
  • Community referral resources 15%%
  • Team presentation 25%%
  • Major paper 30%%



1.     American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. ·     
2.    Cronbach, L. J., & Meehl, P. E. (1955). Construct validity in psychological tests. Psychological Bulletin, 52, 281-302. ·    
3.    Drummond, R. J., Sheperis, C. J., & Jones, K. D. (2015). Assessment Procedures for Counselors and Helping Professionals. Pearson Education. ·        
4.    Frank, R. I., Davidson, J., & Persons, J. B. (2014). The transdiagnostic road map to case formulation and treatment planning: Practical guidance for clinical decision making. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. ·   
5.    Gehart, D. R. (2014). Mastering competencies in family therapy: A practical approach to theories and clinical case documentation. Belmont, Calif: Brooks/Cole Pub. ·    
6.    Gersten, A. (2013). Integrative assessment: A guide for counselors. Boston: Pearson. ·   
7.    Kress, V. E., & Paylo, M. J. (2014). Treating Mental Disorders: A Strength-Based, Comprehensive Approach to Case Conceptualization and Treatment. Pearson Education, Limited. ·     
8.    Messick, S. (1989). Validity. In R. Linn (Ed.), Educational measurement, (3rd ed., pp. 13-104). Washington, DC: American Council on Education. ·     
9.    Rychlak, J. F. (1981). Introduction: A framework for the study of personality. In Introduction to personality and psychotherapy (2nd ed., pp. 1-36).
10. · Zubernis, L. & Snyder, M. (2016). Case conceptualization and effective interventions Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications

*Selected chapters to be announced  



Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html