Today, as practitioners in all areas of the human services are increasingly held accountable for monitoring and evaluating their practices in an objective and efficient manner, a sound familiarity with objective measurement is more essential than ever before. In addition, practitioners must also be concerned with satisfying a dizzying array of state, agency, health maintenance organization, and insurance company guidelines.
For more than twelve years, through two highly acclaimed editions and now in an updated and expanded third edition, Kevin Corcoran and Joel Fischer's standard reference, Measures for Clinical Practice, has enabled professionals to gather this vital information easily and effectively. In Measures for Clinical Practice, Volume 1: Couples, Families, and Children, and Volume 2: Adults, Corcoran and Fischer provide an extensive collection of more than 400"rapid assessment instruments" (RAIs), including many questionnaires and scales, which assess virtually any problem commonly encountered in clinical practice. Corcoran and Fischer have revised this edition to reflect new research and contemporary clinical practices. They include new scales and materials in areas such as assessment in culturally diverse populations and measurement in managed care systems, as well as the best instruments updated from the previous editions.
Brief and easy to administer, these "best practice measures" will be useful for all types of therapeutic and theoretical orientations. All instruments are actually reprinted in the book, and are carefully introduced and evaluated to aid in their selection. Corcoran and Fischer explain the principles of measurement and how to apply them in practice. They explore the range of assessment techniques available, including behavioral observations, rating scales, and client logs, as well as unobtrusive, electromechanical, and standardized measures. And after examining the advantages and disadvantages of rapid assessment instruments, they show practitioners how to effectively select and administer these measures as part of the treatment process.
More comprehensive than ever, this edition of Measures for Clinical Practice is essential to every practitioner and student of social work, psychology, psychiatry, nursing, counseling, and the rehabilitative therapies.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Kevin Corcoran, Ph.D., J.D., is a professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at Portland State University.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Historians of behavioral science reviewing progress in the provision of human services at some point in the future will have to confront a curious issue. They will note that the twentieth century witnessed the development of a science of human behavior. They will also note that from mid-century on, clinicians treating behavioral and emotional disorders began relying more heavily on the systematic application of theories and facts emanating from this science to emotional and behavioral problems. They will make observations on various false starts in the development of our therapeutic techniques, and offer reasons for the initial acceptance of these "false starts" in which clinicians or practitioners would apply exactly the same intervention or style of intervention to every problem that came before them. But in the last analysis historians will applaud the slow but systematic development of ever more powerful specific procedures and techniques devised to deal successfully with the variety of specific emotional and behavioral problems. This will be one of the success stories of the twentieth century.
Historians will also note a curious paradox which they will be hard pressed to explain. They will write that well into the 1990s few practitioners or clinicians evaluated the effects of their new treatments in any systematic way. Rather, whatever the behavioral or emotional problem, they would simply ask clients from time to time how they were feeling or how they were doing. Sometimes this would be followed by reports in an official chart or record duly noting clients' replies. If families or married couples were involved, a report from only one member of the interpersonal system would often suffice. Occasionally, these attempts at "evaluation" would reach peaks of quantifiable objectivity by presenting the questions in somewhat different ways such as "how are you feeling or doing compared to a year ago when you first came to see me?"
Historians will point out wryly that this practice would be analogous to physicians periodically asking patients with blood infections or fractures "how are you feeling" without bothering to analyze blood samples or take X rays. "How could this have been?" they will ask. In searching for answers they will examine records of clinical practice in the late twentieth century and find that the most usual response from clinicians was that they were simply too busy to evaluate what they were doing. But the real reason, astute historians will note, is that they never learned how.
Our government regulatory agencies, and other institutions, have anticipated these turn-of-the-century historians with the implementation of procedures requiring practitioners to evaluate what they do. This practice, most often subsumed under the rubric of "accountability," will very soon have a broad and deep hold on the practice of countless human service providers. But more important than the rise of new regulations will be the full realization on the part of all practitioners of the ultimate logic and wisdom of evaluating what they do. In response to this need, a number of books have appeared of late dealing with methods to help practitioners evaluate what they do. Some books even suggest that this will enable clinicians to make direct contributions to our science. Using strategies of repeated measurement of emotional and behavioral problems combined with sophisticated case study procedures and single case experimental designs, the teaching of these methods is increasing rapidly in our graduate and professional schools. But at the heart of this process is measurement, and the sine qua non of successful measurement is the availability of realistic and practical measures of change. Only through wide dissemination of realistic, practical, and accurate measures of change will practitioners be able to fulfill the requirements of accountability as well as their own growing sense of personal obligation to their clients to evaluate their intervention. Up until now this has been our weakness, not because satisfactory measures did not exist, but because so many widely scattered measurement tools existed that it was impossible for any one practitioner to keep track of these developments, let alone make a wise choice of which measures might be useful.
Corcoran and Fischer have accomplished this task and the result is this excellent book, now in its 3rd edition, that not only describes the essentials of measurement but also presents the most up-to-date and satisfactory measures of change for almost any problem a practitioner might encounter. Concentrating on what they call rapid assessment instruments (RAIs), they present a series of brief questionnaires most of which fulfill the criterion of being under 50 items, thereby requiring no more than several minutes to fill out. By cross-referencing these RAIs by problem areas, no practitioner need take more than a few minutes to choose the proper questionnaire for any problem or combination of problems with which he or she might be confronted. With its well-written and easy-to-read chapters on what makes a brief questionnaire measure satisfactory or unsatisfactory, this book should be on the shelf of every practitioner working in a human service setting. Through the use of this book practitioners will not only be able to meet growing demands for accountability, but also satisfy their own desires for objective, quantifiable indications of progress in a manner that can be accomplished in no more than several minutes. As this activity becomes an integral part of the delivery of human services, the value of this book will increase.
David H. Barlow, Ph.D.
Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University
Copyright © 1994, 2000 by Joel Fischer and Kevin Corcoran
Copyright © 1987 by The Free Press
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