The Use of Therapeutic Assessment with Forensic Populations: Practitioners' Perspectives

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology


Therapeutic assessment, Qualitative Research, Assessment, Forensic psychology, Psychological assessment, Forensic mental health

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


Therapeutic Assessment is a semi-structured approach to collaborative assessment developed by Stephen E. Finn and colleagues. In Therapeutic Assessment, psychological assessment is used as a therapeutic intervention (Finn, 2007; Finn & Kamphuis, 2006). The Therapeutic Assessment model differs from traditional assessment with regard to procedure and the roles of both assessor and client. Therapeutic Assessment has yet to be explored in forensic settings, wherein assessors are required to take on a number of varying and conflicting roles. In the current study, five forensic psychologists completed a semi-structured interview to identify their perspectives of Therapeutic Assessment and its utility in forensic contexts. A phenomenological qualitative analysis of the interviews was conducted to derive themes about Therapeutic Assessment, forensic psychology, and the overlap between these two domains. General themes that emerged include (a) the role and the context of the practitioner's work with the forensic population; (b) the potential of using Therapeutic Assessment's paradigm in family law settings; and (c) the increased risk of harm when using Therapeutic Assessment with forensic populations. In addition to these themes, multiple respondents discussed components of collaborative/Therapeutic Assessment that they have found useful with this population. Finally, the implications of these results are discussed.

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