Following completion of assessment procedures, it is important to interpret the results for the client in a manner that the client can understand (i.e., not just giving them numerical test scores). When feeding back assessment results, consider the following :
- Focus first on the client’s strengths.
- Gently and tactfully outline the client’s difficulties.
- Focus on the pattern of results rather than just an overall score.
- Pull the assessment results together and offer hope for the future by discussing a treatment plan.
Again, it is important to stress that these screening measures are not diagnostic; therefore, it is important not to label a client as having a diagnosis of a disorder unless it has been made by a suitably qualified mental health professional (e.g., a registered or clinical psychologist, or psychiatrist). Rather, it is best to focus on the symptoms displayed by the client.
If mental health symptoms are identified, it is important to discuss with the client what they may expect to experience in relation to these symptoms should he/she reduce or stop AOD use. As discussed in Chapter A4, if these symptoms are substance-induced, they are likely to dissipate if the person reduces or stops his/her use. On the other hand, the client’s mental health symptoms may increase when he/she reduces or stops using, particularly if he/she has been using to self-medicate these symptoms. The latter scenario is especially common among people who have a history of PTSD symptoms. It is important that the client knows that you will be monitoring these symptoms to determine whether further treatment may be required.