This workshop will highlight research findings suggesting that the utilization of strength-based assessment procedures in the process of psychological assessment can contribute to positive outcomes among children and youth, related to psychiatric symptomatology, enhanced psychological well-being, and holistic perceptions of client functioning. A background to the topic will be presented along with a brief overview of positive psychology and strength-based practice theoretical frameworks.
With the World Health Organization shift in 2010 to a definition of mental health as a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her abilities can cope with the stresses of life, can work productively, and can contribute to his or her community, there has been an increased acceptance that the absence of a mental disorder does not simply equal the presence of well-being or positive mental health. Also, there has been increased recognition that positive mental health and mental well-being are both required components of complete and accurate psychological mental health assessments and that this dual-factor model of mental health conceptualization should be integrated into professional practice.
These new conceptualizations of mental health have paved the way for great value and emphasis to be placed on personal well-being and quality of life, despite the presence of deficits or symptoms related to mental health conditions among children and youth. Research has also affirmed that a focus on strengths and well-being can serve preventatively against relapse and promote follow-through on psychological assessment and treatment recommendations.
In this workshop, the integration of traditional psychological assessment methods with strength-based psychological assessment tools will be discussed along with current challenges and barriers. This presentation will discuss settings where standardized strength-based psychological assessment tools are currently being utilized and implications for practice will also be addressed including new conceptualizations of psychological assessment practices and an emerging paradigm shift in North American K-12 schools.
Dr. Tamara Dalrymple is an Associate Program Director of the CityU MEd in School Counselling Program on Vancouver Island. She is also a Registered Clinical Counsellor specializing in the psychological functioning of children and youth. Tamara has worked in private practice and she has held counselling/mental health roles in the schools. She has also worked in mental health clinics, post-secondary education settings, and has assisted with cross-government and Counsellor training initiatives at the provincial level in B.C.
Tamara’s doctoral research explored the application of strength-based assessment tools in the process of psychological assessment. Specifically, she examined research outcomes that support the application and utilization of strength-based assessment procedures and she explored clinical and educational settings where standardized strength-based psychological assessment tools are currently being utilized. Research findings suggested that the utilization of strength-based assessment procedures in the process of psychological assessment can contribute to positive outcomes for clients related to psychiatric symptomatology, enhanced psychological well-being, and holistic perceptions of client functioning.
Research for Tamara's M.A. degree was focused on symptoms of depression, suicide and self-harm in children and youth. As an outcome of this research, she developed a manual for Educators that was used in the South Okanagan School Districts. Other interests include school-based mental health programs, and resilience-building resources for children and youth.