Assessing Children in the Urban Community  book cover
1st Edition

Assessing Children in the Urban Community

ISBN 9781138776289
Published December 2, 2015 by Routledge
262 Pages

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Book Description

This book illuminates the process of child psychological assessment in community psychology through discussion, theory, and case studies of collaborative, systemic treatment of children and their parents. "Assessing Children in the Urban Community" presents a semi-structured form of collaborative psychological assessment, designed to help clients gain new insights and make changes in their lives. Traditional psychological assessment focuses on diagnosis and treatment but has been slow to include contextual elements, particularly social and cultural contexts into the assessment process and psychological report.

Clients receiving services in a community psychology clinic pay for their treatment through state welfare coverage. They cannot choose their providers, they cannot always determine the length and course of their mental health care, they often do not have access to transportation to begin services, to continue them, or to take advantage of follow-up recommendations. The Therapeutic Assessment model is particularly adaptable to community psychology because it allows maximum interaction in the assessment process and promotes participation and collaboration in an often dis-empowering system.

This book will be relevant to clinical psychologists, community psychologists, social workers, family therapists, graduate students in psychology, social work, marriage and family therapists, and counseling programs.

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures  Acknowledgements  About the Editors  Contributors  Assessing Children in the Urban Community: Introduction Barbara L. Mercer  Section I. Introduction to Community Psychology  1.Community Psychology: Managed Care, Communications and Policy Barbara L. Mercer  2.Psychological Assessment of Children in a Community Mental Health Clinic Barbara L. Mercer  3.A Descriptive Analysis of Cognitive and Rorschach Variables of Children in a Community Mental Health Clinic Hasse Leonard-Pagel and Barbara L. Mercer  4. Assessment-Driven Intervention for Youth and Families in Community Service Delivery Systems Justin D. Smith, Anne Mauricio, and Elizabeth Stormshak  Section II. The Cultural Environment: Theory and Practice  Part 1: Cultural Experiences in Psychological Assessment  5.Collaborative Assessment and Social Justice Heather Macdonald and Christy Hobza 6. Unspeakable Fears: Exploring Trauma for Undocumented Immigrants Cinthya Chin Herrera  7. The Ambiguous Other: Reflections on Race and Culture in the Assessment Relationship Tricia Fong  8.Working with Countertransference Reactions to Treatment Team Members in Collaborative Assessments Lisa M. Nakamura  Part 2. Cultural Experiences in Supervision and Training  9. Supervision: A Cross-Cultural Dialogue Hasse Leonard-Pagel   10. Why Are You Crying? It Didn’t Happen to You? Vicarious Trauma, Assessment and Supervision Caroline Purves  11. Training Assessors in Therapeutic Assessment Marianne E. Haydel Walsh, Barbara L. Mercer, and Erin Rosenblatt 12. Surface Ripples or Deep Waters? Finding the Level for Children’s Feedback Stories Caroline Purves  Section III: Case Studies in Community-Based Psychological Assessment  13. Why Did She Put Nail Polish in My Drink? Applying the Therapeutic Assessment Model with an African-American Foster Child in a Community Mental Health Setting Brooke Guerrero, Jessica Lipkind, and Audrey Rosenberg  14. Getting to the Heart of the Matter Elisa Gomez and Brooke Guerrero 15. The Topsy-Turvy Tearmeter: Clinical Crisis and Assessment Intervention Tricia Fong and Erin Rosenblatt 16. How Can I Stay Safe? Assessment with a Sexually Exploited Minor Brooke Guerrero  17. The Case of the Bullet-Proof Vest: Complex PTSD, Racial Wounds and Taking Matters into Your Own Hands Christopher Arrillaga  18. Liberating the Butterfly Boy: Engaging the Family and System in the Therapeutic Assessment of a Traumatized and Gender Nonconforming Child Lisa A. Greenberg 19. Living With Danger: Complex Trauma, Attachment and Repair in Oakland, California Barbara L. Mercer and Kevin Bunch  20. Shame: The Hidden Emotion with Tough Adolescents Ankhesenamun Ball Marioni  APPENDICES: Feedback Through Stories, Fables and Letters  Appendix A: Stories About Feelings 1. Diary of a Grumpy Kid Margaret Owen-Wilson 2. Exo-Man K. Benjamin Knipe 3. The Topsy-Turvey Tearmeter Tricia Fong  Appendix B: Stories about Identity  1. Malika’s Majestic Mothers Barbara L. Mercer  2. Many Colors of a Butterfly Lisa Greenberg  3.Miss Popular Margaret Owen-Wilson  Appendix C: Stories about Learning  1.Jeb the Dinosaur Christy Hobza  2.Julio, El Patito Active Kristin N. Moore  3.The Story of Naji Marianne E. Haydel Walsh, Barbara L. Mercer, and Erin Rosenblatt  4. The Way I Learn Lisa Greenberg


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Barbara L. Mercer, PhD, has been the Assessment Program Director and a clinical supervisor at WestCoast Children’s Clinic, a community psychology clinic in Oakland, California since 1986. She has worked in community mental health throughout her career. Dr. Mercer has also been on the faculty of California School of Professional Psychology and the Wright Institute in the San Francisco Bay Area where she taught psychological assessment and child therapy, and chaired a number of dissertations at both schools. Dr. Mercer has presented at the Society for Personality Assessment and published in the Journal for Personality Assessment.

Tricia Fong, PhD, is a clinical child psychologist who specializes in complex trauma, trauma-informed care, and early childhood mental health. She is a clinical supervisor at WestCoast Children's Clinic where she previously worked as both an assessment psychologist and a clinical psychotherapist. Dr. Fong is also a psychologist for the Partners for Safe and Healthy Children/Prenatal to Three Initiative with Behavioral Health and Recovery Services in San Mateo County.

Erin Rosenblatt, PsyD. Dr. Rosenblatt’s clinical experiences have included work with children, adolescents and adults in community settings.After five years of delivering psychotherapy and psychological assessments, Dr. Erin Rosenblatt transitioned to the role of Director of Training at WestCoast, where she manages a comprehensive clinical training program for psychotherapist, marriage and family therapists, social worker therapists, and their supervisors. In addition to her work at WestCoast Children's clinic, Dr. Rosenblatt has taught and presented on the topic of Personality Assessment. She is co-author of a monograph "Research to Action" which explores the needs and strengths of sexually exploited youth.


This is an incredibly moving and useful book that illustrates the use of Collaborative/Therapeutic Assessment with traumatized and abandoned children and their caregivers. The empathy and cultural sensitivity of the authors is breathtaking, and I often had tears in my eyes as I read about their courageous work with these under-served clients. A must-read resource for anyone interested in Therapeutic Assessment.”—Stephen E. Finn, PhD, Founder, Center for Therapeutic Assessment, Austin, Texas

Assessing Children in Urban Environments is groundbreaking work, addressing an extraordinary model of psychological assessment and treatment for the forgotten children of trauma, poverty and social injustice. Integrating the best of Therapeutic Assessment, community psychology, and psychodynamic practice, the courageous work of the WestCoast Children’s Clinic comes alive. In the process their work humanizes us—increasing our compassion about these children's destiny and understanding how assessment can help break the bondage of their fate.—F. Barton Evans, PhD, Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, George Washington University School of Medicine.

At last, a book that brings psychological assessment up to date! In bringing “collaborative” and “therapeutic” together, the authors transcend the detached, standardized, overly knowing stance of the traditional assessor. All of this in a multi-cultural framework, doing justice to the way the interaction with the person assessed is reflected in the results of the assessment.  This trailblazing book is indispensable to relationally minded clinicians who want their work to be socially relevant.—Neil Altman, PhD, William Alanson White Institute.