Testing and Numbers and Running, Oh My!

Posted on September 29,2010 by jyalofmspp

Some people have phobias. Phobias of spiders, snakes, airplanes. All reasonably understandable things to feel negative towards. Spiders and snakes can bite, planes can crash. I have a fear of numbers. I'm not diagnosed with numerophobia (fear of numbers, a real phobia!) and I don't feel the need to run out of the room if I glance and see the number "four" written on the board. I do, however, attempt to avoid math courses whenever possible. I'm not one to gravitate towards more structured, concrete subjects such as math (hence my fiction writing major and counseling degree).

My dislike of math and numbers comes from years of struggling through my math courses. Therefore, when I was told I didn't need to take statistics again in the PsyD program I was elated. I thought my days of adding and subtracting were over. Not quite! Enter Psychological Assessment I. I had taken this course in my master's program and found it somewhat number oriented, and couldn't get into it. Therefore, I am pleasantly surprised that I am finding my assessment course interesting this year. The course emphasizes that although getting the results after giving a test may seem a bit objective, this is not the case. As a test-giver, you take notes on how the client takes the test ( if they are speaking out loud to themselves to help them remember items, for example) and then use these observations to help formulate a more comprehensive personal picture of the client.

In the same way that the slight nuances in your client's behavior or words in a therapy session are important, how they act during a test is important as well. The rapport you must build with them in a few short minutes before they take the test is also a testament to your talents as a therapist.

If you are administering the WISC IV( Weschsler Intelligence Scale for Children) you are gathering a vast amounts of information that once deciphered, can be interpreted in different ways. What learning styles will benefit the client? Are they potentially going undiagnosed with a disorder, or perhaps they received an inaccurate diagnosis? After the numbers are calculated is when the interpretation really begins. One last thing to mention. A lot of these tests have discs that come with them that allow you to calculate your scores so that they do not have to be computed manually. So after you learn how to do scoring long-hand, you do have the option of using quicker methods. Even some forms of interpretation are provided. As always, your input as a therapist is important and a computers methods of interpretation are no match to a trained professional.

On the topic of surprising myself/fears, I participated in the Lucero 5k this past weekend. Learn more about Dr. Cynthia Lucero here: http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/press/memorial-race-sunday-9262010,1475618.html. Not that I am afraid of running, but it's never been my workout of choice. There is a reservoir near my apartment, and I've began running around this loop, but it's definitely out of my comfort zone compared to, say, biking. This time around, however, I enjoyed the run in the beautiful Millennium Park behind MSPP. Just goes to reinforce ( I just came from Learning Theory, sorry) that this program continues to make available opportunities that challenge how I viewed myself, and my potential abilities.