The goals of assessment in clinical psychology are
Assessments are also conducted in order to determine the specific type of
disorder the client has — i.e., to find the correct diagnosis or diagnoses. Diagnosis of a disorder is
important for several reasons. First, the diagnosis guides the development of the treatment plan. Second,
giving a diagnosis based on standardized criteria and/or tests makes it possible for professionals to communicate about the client and his or her problem. Third, the diagnosis is crucial for determining the desired outcomes of therapy. However, a diagnosis should be given carefully because it may harm the
client in the future. Problems such as stigma (even among mental health professionals), self-fulfilling prophecies, and failure to perform a comprehensive assessment can result from impulsive application of
diagnostic criteria. Professionals should not base a diagnosis on a single test or a single interview because there are many factors that can affect the client’s performance. An accurate diagnosis is in
everyone’s best interest.