The First Session With Children And Adolescents


This book provides a thorough, practical primer on carrying out an initial mental health evaluation with a child or adolescent client. The emphasis is on efficiently eliciting the information needed for formulating the young person's difficulties, clarifying the diagnostic situation, and planning for treatment or referral, within the context of a caring, respectful professional relationship. Beginning with the first contact with a new child, the reader is taken step-by-step through the collection and integration ...
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This book provides a thorough, practical primer on carrying out an initial mental health evaluation with a child or adolescent client. The emphasis is on efficiently eliciting the information needed for formulating the young person's difficulties, clarifying the diagnostic situation, and planning for treatment or referral, within the context of a caring, respectful professional relationship. Beginning with the first contact with a new child, the reader is taken step-by-step through the collection and integration of observational, interview, background, and collateral information. Important issues covered include structuring the evaluation session, effective record keeping, confidentiality concerns, and providing feedback to parents. Reflecting the author's 25+ years of professional experience, the book is filled with interview segments that bring the practical business of child assessment to life.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Dr. House has produced a comprehensive guide to evaluating children that should be valuable to both novice and seasoned mental health professionals. He shares his years of clinical wisdom through instructional segments, case examples, and a thorough inclusion of the relevant literature. This book fills a great need for a concise, applied text that is both erudite and straightforward. As a person who trains doctoral and master's level students for work in schools and agencies, I know this book will be an invaluable resource for my students."--Elliott Ingersoll, PhD, PCC, Counselor Education Program, Cleveland State University

"Dr. House's wisdom and experience are evident in this comprehensive, practical guide to assessing the full range of problems likely to be experienced by children and adolescents. Offering more than a cookbook approach, this is a guide informed by the current research literature and grounded in years of practical experience. The text is compatible with behavioral, phemenological, biological, and dynamic approaches to understanding behavior, and is based on a deeply held attitude of respect for the individual client. The beginning student learning the craft of assessment and the experienced professional will both find much of value here."--Wesley G. Morgan, PhD, Department of Psychology, The University of Tennessee

"This book combines the best of scholarly research and practical advice regarding the assessment of children and adolescents. It will be useful for beginning graduate students in psychology, social work, and counseling. In addition, experienced clinicians who have not often worked with children will find it a very useful addition to their libraries. Chapters that walk students through the initial mental health assessment session are enhanced by the liberal use of case examples and transcripts. Also provided is current research on issues related to a wide variety of childhood disorders that are necessary for beginning clinicians to understand so they know how to assess these problems. Embedded throughout the entire book is Dr. House's philosophy of assessing and treating troubled youth. This philosophy is one that places a premium on being guided by current research on childhood difficulties and, most importantly, that sees each child as an individual worthy of respect and kindness."--Daniel Graybill, PhD, Department of Psychology, Illinois State University

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Nicholas Greco IV, MS, BCETS, CATSM (Columbia College of Missouri)
Description: This book provides a comprehensively detailed discussion of how to properly conduct an initial diagnostic interview with children and adolescents.
Purpose: The purpose of this book is to improve the assessment skills of the reader beyond what is taught inside the classroom and what one may gather from research and reports. Moreover, the author's intentions are to present the information in a practical, applicable, and user-friendly manner. The author clearly accomplishes his objectives.
Audience: The book is intended mainly for psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, criminal justice caseworkers, and other mental health specialists. Additionally, graduate students and psychiatric residents will find this book informative, grounded, and an excellent supplement to their training. The author has over 25 years of experience as a clinical psychologist, and it shows in his writing. His credibility is without question.
Features: The book is very descriptive and breaks down the interview and describes the evaluation process in such great detail that one is left confident that they have learned valuable knowledge. The author discusses such topics as how to evaluate children and adolescents with cognitive, emotional, behavior, relationship, and pervasive problems as well as substance use. A highlight for me is that the author shares his own knowledge and expertise, while incorporating relevant literature to support his ideas. The case studies are the perfect complement in each chapter and further support the author's practical advice and guidance.
Assessment: Unquestionably, this is an exceptional book and a terrific guide on how to conduct a comprehensive mental health evaluation with children and adolescents. It is easy-to-read, easy-to-implement, highly applicable, and a true resource for the child and adolescent mental health community.
From The Critics
House (Illinois State University) offers a primer on carrying out initial mental health evaluations which focuses on eliciting information, clarifying diagnostic situation, and planning for treatment or referral. He demonstrates how to build rapport with clients of different ages; provides specific recommendations for dealing with young people with behavioral, emotional, and cognitive difficulties; and explains how to integrate information from parents, informal and structured interviews, psychological testing, and school and medical records. He devotes special attention to kids' confidentiality concerns, record keeping, and providing feedback to parents. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572307506
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Alvin E. House, PhD, is a clinical psychologist whose professional practice has focused on psychological evaluation. For the past quarter of a century he has conducted assessments for medical, vocational, school, and forensic consultations. As Associate Professor of Psychology at Illinois State University, he routinely teaches graduate-level courses in mental health diagnosis, psychological assessment, and psychopathology. The author of [i]DSM-IV Diagnosis in the Schools[i/], Dr. House has published articles and book chapters on intellectual, personality, and neuropsychological testing.
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Table of Contents

1. The Mental Status Examination in Psychological Assessment
2. Evaluations of Infants, Children, and Adolescents
3. Sources of Data
4. Evaluating Cognitive Problems in Children
5. Evaluating Emotional Problems in Children
6. Evaluating Behavior Problems in Children and Adolescents
7. Evaluating Relationship Problems in Youths
8. Evaluating Pervasive Problems in Children
9. Evaluating Substance Use and Other Impulse Problems in Children and Adolescents
10. Evaluating Highly Focused Problems in Children and Adolescents
11. Data and Integration: Diagnosis, Recommendations, and Referrals
12. Concluding Thoughts: The Professional Practice of Mental Health Evaluation
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