Make An Outcomeoriented Assessment

The assessment and treatment of children has unique problems that are not as common in adult therapy. Berg and Steiner (2003) describe children as "involuntary clients" who represent a unique population with unique ethical and consent issues. Most of the children we see are younger than the age of legal consent and, in many cases, are too young to understand the processes of informed consent we may use with an adult client. The debate in the literature about this issue (Baldwin, 2001; Baldwin & Barker, 1995) falls into two main schools of thought: the liberationists who claim that children should have the same rights as adults, and the protectionists who say that children need special considerations because they are developmentally different from adults. How you seek consent will also depend upon whether you operate from an individual, family, or social model of therapy. It is not my intent to get into a debate on the legal, ethical, or philosophical issues about this matter, but rather to point out the concerns and what they mean in the pragmatics of therapy.

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