The Vital Skill of Clinical Assessment


Assessing a client’s mental health and risk status is a vitally important skill for anyone in private practice or with the responsibility of screening clients within an organisation before accepting them for therapy. Done well it invites and deepens trust, done badly it alienates the client and feels highly intrusive.

This valuable and engaging one-day online course explores how you conduct a professional assessment of a client’s risk profile, assess their current level of psychological and emotional functioning, consider the use of formal psychological measurement tools, and ask difficult questions about suicide and safeguarding issues. The skill of assessment is doing all this while balancing the need to be empathic and highly responsive to your client’s subjective experience and story.   

What does the workshop cover?

The aim of this daylong workshop is to provide you with the core competencies and skills needed to deliver client assessments successfully and comfortably within your practice or organisation.

At the end of the workshop you will be able to:

  • Recognise the most commonly used mental health assessment tools in the UK today, and consider their role in ethical practice.
  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages of those assessment tools such as GAD-7 or PHQ-9. and make informed decisions about their use.
  • Formulate an initial assessment structure, and relevant questions.
  • Introduce the concept of formal assessment to a client, while maintaining trust in the therapeutic relationship.
  • Ask ‘difficult’ and sensitive questions around suicide, self-harming and safeguarding issues with increased confidence
  • Understand when and how to refer a client onwards for further help, especially if there is a perceived risk to self or other.

What outcomes can I expect?

You will cover the key areas for client assessment using up to date theory, policies and use practical client examples. You will  work in small breakout groups and share ideas within larger group discussions so you also learn co-creatively. The aim is to give you practical ideas, skills and knowledge you can use immediately, as well as theoretical and clinical knowledge.

At the end of the workshop, you will receive a Connexus Institute Ongoing Professional Development certificate and gain 6 hours of CPD.

Who should attend?

Anyone involved in the assessment of a client for therapy, whether that be in private practice or within an organisation, those wanting to enhance their current level of knowledge and skills in this area, or anyone planning to undertake this important role in the future.  No prior knowledge of clinical assessment is required.  

This highly engaging and stimulating workshop is perfect for anyone beginning to work with clients or starting in private practice.

Date: Sat 1 Jul 2023

Length: 1 day

Times: 9:30am to 4:30pm

Mode: Online

Cost: £125

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Meet your course leaders

Nancy Dalton

Nancy Dalton has a thriving counselling and psychotherapy practice in Tunbridge Wells and online, and many years of experience working at a senior level in the healthcare sector. She is passionate about extending the knowledge and experience of professionals in the field of mental health, and about improving the therapeutic experience of clients.

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