At the Counseling Center of Illinois, we provide clients with the opportunity to undergo a thorough hardship evaluation. During this assessment, the client’s experience is evaluated across many areas. The process typically consists of two interview sessions, during which time the CCI evaluator assesses the presenting symptoms of the client as well as analyzes how these symptoms have developed over time. By looking at the symptoms across a spectrum of time, a conclusion is made based on how the symptoms have developed over time (i.e. have the symptoms worsened in severity and increased in frequency). The written evaluation reflects and describes the way that a client is affected by these symptoms and the impact that the symptoms have on their overall functioning. Not only does the hardship evaluation reference the verbal report of symptoms by clients, but evidence-based assessment tools are also utilized to determine an accurate diagnosis of DSM-5 disorders throughout the process. Due to the fact that every client’s experience is unique, the report aims to address any and all concerns that may be prevalent in the client’s situation. Whether it be a husband and his wife or an aging mother and her son, the assessment details the concerns of all members who can be potentially affected by the hardship.
This report goes further than simply evaluating the client’s emotional and physical symptoms which can include but are not limited to feelings of sadness, feelings of worry, and changes in appetite, dizziness, or sleeping difficulties due to reoccurring thoughts of the client’s situation. Social History and Family History are explored as many clients depend on their loved ones for instrumental, financial, emotional, and psychological support. Hearing about the client’s background helps to build an accurate picture of the client’s experiences. A client’s medical and mental health history is included due to the support that may be needed from a significant other or a family member to ensure safety and promote wellness on a regular basis. The final evaluation report maps out a cohesive description regarding the client’s hardship, based on DSM-5 criteria and relevant statistics, and builds connections to the areas in the client’s life which are, and could potentially be, impacted.
Written by Margaret Nowobilski – MA Candidate Mental Health Counseling