Counsellors use tests generally for assessment, placements, and guidance and appraisals to as assist clients to increase their self-knowledge, practice decision making, and acquire new behaviours. They may be used in a variety of therapies e.g. individual, marital, group, and family and for either gathering of data on clients, assessing the level of some traits, such as stress and anxiety, or measuring clients’ personality types. The purpose of non-informational tests is to stimulate further or more in-depth interaction with the client. Although the published literature on testing has increased, proper test utilization remains a problematic area. The issue is not whether a counsellor uses tests in counselling practices, but when and to what end tests will be used (Corey, Corey, & Callanan, 1984).
The following six main principles of appraisal techniques in counseling can be outline and explain below;

Steps involved in the process of using tests in counselling include the following: – selecting the test, administering test, scoring the test, interpreting results, communicating the results. Selecting: Having defined the purpose for testing, the counsellor looks to a variety of sources for information on available tests. Resources include review books, journals, test manuals, and textbooks on testing and measurement (Anastasi, 1988; Cronbach, 1979). The most complete source of information on a particular test is usually the test manual.

Test administration is usually standardize by the developers of the test. Manual instructions need to be followed in order to make a valid comparison of an individual’s score with the test’s norm group. Non – Standardization tests used in counselling are best given under controlled circumstances. This allows the counsellor’s experience with the test to become an internal norm. Issues of individual versus group administration need to be considered as well. The clients and the purpose for which they are being tested will contribute to decisions about group testing.

Scoring of tests follows the instructions provided in the test manual, the Counsellor is sometimes given the option of having test machine scored rather than hand scored. Both the positive and negative aspects of this choice need to be considered. It is usually believed that test scoring is best handled by a machine because it is free from bias.

The interpretation of test results is usually the area which allows for the greatest flexibility within the testing process. Depending upon the Counsellor’s theoretical point of view and the extent of the test manual guidelines, interpretation may be brief and superficial, or detailed and explicity theory based (Tinsley & Bradley, 1986). Because this area allows for the greatest flexibility, it is also the area with the greatest danger of misuse. Whereas scoring is best done by a bias-free machine, interpretation by machine is often too rigid. What is needed is the experience of a skilled test user to individualize the interpretation of results.

Feedback of test results to the client completes the formal process of testing. Here, the therapeutic skills of Counsellors come fully into play (Phelps, 1974). The Counsellor uses verbal and non verbal interaction skills to convey messages to clients and to assess their understanding of it.

The ethical and legal restrictions on what may be disclosed from counselling apply to the use of tests as much as to other private information shared between client and counsellor. The trust issue, which is inherent in confidentiality, is relevant to every aspect of testing. No information can be shared outside the relationship without the full consent of the client. Information is provided to someone outside the relationship only after the specifics to be used from the testing are fully disclosed to the client. These specifics include the when, what, and to whom of the disclosure. The purpose of disclosure is also shared with the client and what the information will be used for is clearly spelled out.

Issues of confidentiality are best discussed with the client before conducting any test administration. There should be no surprise when the counsellor asks, at a later time, for permission to share results. Clients who are fully informed, before testing takes place, about the issue of confidentiality in relation to testing are more active participants in the counselling process.

Confidentiality, counsellor preparation, computer testing and client involvement are all issues within the ethical realm. Ultimately, test use by counsellors must be seen as an adjunct to the entire counselling process. Test results provide descriptive and objective data which help the counsellor to assist clients better in making the choices that will positively affect their lives. In order to make the best use of available tests in a counselling relationship, the process of testing and the issues which surround the process must be well examined.

Anastasi, A. (1988). Psychological testing 96th Ed.) New York: Macmillan.

Corey, G. Corey, M.S. & Callanan, P. 91984). Issues & Ethics in the helping professions (2bd Ed.) Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.

CRONBACH, l. j. (1979). Essentials of psychological testing (4th Ed.)New York: Harper & Row.

Goldman, L. (1971) Using tests in counselling (2nd Ed.) Pacific Palisades, CA: Goodyear Publishing.

Phelps, W. R. (1974). Communicating Test results: A training guide. Final Report. Springfield, VA: National Technical Information Service. (ED 134 853).

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