Validity And Reliability Of Counseling Tools
Validity and Reliability of Assessment Tools in the Field of Counseling
The application of assessment for counseling purposes has gained its value in various fields such as education, career pursuits, marriage as well as the field of mental health. There are different assessment instruments that can be used in different areas of the counseling practice. Some assessment tools and procedures borrow a lot from traditional methods while others have appeared recently. The emergence of the new assessment tools and techniques has been necessitated by modernity. It should also be noted that the validity and reliability of various assessment tools and procedures differ. Validity of an assessment tool refers to the extent to which the tool is able to accurately measure the traits in question. The reliability of an assessment tool, on the other hand, refers to the accuracy of a specific assessment tool. This paper analyzes the validity and reliability of two assessment tools used in the field of mental health. In this respect, the paper focuses on diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders and the multimodal therapy.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is abbreviated as DSM, is the assessment tool that is usually used by mental health practitioners in the diagnosis and treatment of individuals suffering from different mental disorders. The data about it was first published in 1952, but the tool has undergone various revisions with the latest being in 2013. This assessment tool targets adults and children above eleven years old. DSM is believed to be a standard method of classifying mental disorders, especially in the United States. It can also be used to collect and communicate information related to mental disorders of different kinds. DSM-5 is the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The assessment procedure starts with diagnosis for the purpose of classification. Depending on the symptoms that people exhibit, they could be classified according to one of the mental disorders enlisted in the DSM system. Particular sets consisting of diagnostic criteria are usually used to determine the symptoms that must be present and the duration for an individual to qualify for diagnosis. A descriptive text is then used to explain the nature of a specific disorder.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has been widely embraced in the U.S because it has passed the validity test. This assessment tool and procedure largely succeeds in meeting the targets of diagnosis and treatment of various mental disorders. The validity of DSM rests largely on the diagnostic classification component. The DSM procedure entails the use of diagnostic codes in collecting and recording data. The diagnostic codes are developed from different coding systems that are in use in all areas of the health care profession. As such, the accuracy of this assessment tool is high because it has been devised with a lot of care and contribution of health practitioners in all areas of the profession. The sets of diagnostic criteria of DSM also make this assessment tool reliable due to the precision with which each mental disorder is described.
Whereas DSM has received great approval from mental health practitioners for its reliability, concerns have been raised over its validity. This assessment tool is used in measuring various maladaptive behaviors which include psychoticism, detachment, negative affect, disinhibition, and antagonism. With the help of this assessment tool, it is possible to measure different forms of maladaptive behavior. It gives an opportunity to examine the ability of an individual to participate in daily activities which include moving around in a set environment, interacting with people, communicating, engaging in social acts, activities of life and self-care. However, it should be noted that patients suffering from mental disorders might have difficulties while participating in the listed activities because of their mental conditions. For instance, some patients may experience hallucinations or schizophrenia which may make it problematic for clinicians to put them on assessment. For this reason, DSM cannot be employed as a tool for measuring and assessment.
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Multimodal Therapy (MMT)
The Multimodal Therapy is a mental health assessment tool devised by Arnold Lazarus in 1974 as a replacement and expansion of the behavior therapy. In MMT, psychological treatment is used to deal with mental disorders because it is believed that such problems are products of peoples thoughts, imaginations, actions, feeling, and interaction with others. MMT involves seven dimensions abbreviated as BASIC ID where B means behavior, A - affect, S - sensation, I - imagery, C - cognition, I - interpersonal relationships, and D - drugs and biology. According to Mohr et al., MMT presupposes that emotional problems of people cannot be resolved by learning. In order to eliminate the inadequacy induced by the belief that emotional orientations are acquired, MMT includes the concept of operant conditioning. This form of assessment mainly targets families, couples, or groups ranging from adolescents to adults.
MMT is based on the belief that mental disorders revolve around the seven dimensions. Therefore, patients suffering from specific mental disorders are provided with treatments that specifically address their problems. MMT also recognizes the fact that the effect of personality dimensions varies from one person to another. Some people can solve their problems on their own or may need help to do so while others might resort to drugs and/or physical activities. Treatment administered to individuals with mental disorders is usually focused on a specific dimension. Behavior therapy is usually combined with cognitive therapy where the latter addresses mental and internal processes while the former deals with external behavior. As such, it is possible to integrate external and internal factors when using MMT. However, it should be noted that the right combination of behavior and cognitive therapy is required to address specific mental problems.
The fact that MMT involves various dimensions makes it a more comprehensive and thorough mental health assessment tool and procedure. Since MMT covers human behavior totally, it succeeds in the assessment of mental problems which, by the way, have a big connection with behavior. In the use of MMT, the seven dimensions of personality are evaluated to determine the one that exerts a dominant effect on the patient in question. This increases the chances of MMT to estimate the mental disorders it is intended to measure. The combination of behavior and cognitive therapy also improves the validity of MMT. Multimodal therapy also complies with the requirements of the reliability test due to its accuracy in the diagnosis and treatment of mental problems. The reliability of MMT is largely attributed to the fact that it is eclectic by nature. This assessment tool and procedure is broad because it evaluates both external and internal factors as far as the patients mental condition is involved. Besides, this technique allows a clinician to interact with patients more closely and for longer periods, and therefore makes it easier to identify patients main problems. Notwithstanding, there are a few reservations about the duration of the process. MMT can take as long as fifty hours and might therefore be overwhelming for patients. This might render this assessment tool unreliable in such cases.
There are many assessment tools and procedures used in the field of mental health. Although all of the assessment tools have their own strengths in addressing certain mental problems, they have been criticized for having a few shortcomings as far as validity and reliability are concerned. For instance, many mental health practitioners have approved the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM) and the Multimodal Therapy (MMT) due to their validity. However, their reliability has been questioned because doubts surround their accuracy. The problem of accuracy is induced by the fact that it is difficult to involve patients because of their mental problems.