Format of Original
American Psychological Association
Journal of Psychotherapy Integration
Psychotherapists’ approach to intake assessment has a major impact on mental health case conceptualization and treatment. Despite the importance of this issue, very little is known about the actual intake assessment practices of therapists providing mental health care in the community. This appears to be the first study that has investigated which aspects of biological, psychological, and sociocultural functioning are documented by therapists in their client intake assessments, how thoroughly these issues are assessed, and how well the information collected is then integrated into the assessment findings and case conceptualization. The examination of 163 client files from 3 mental health clinics found that therapists were regularly collecting client information regarding a wide range of biopsychosocial issues, though not in a detailed or comprehensive manner. There was also little evidence that the information was being integrated in a manner designed to maximize treatment effectiveness. These findings have major implications for training and practice in mental health assessment.