Clinical Assessment Webinar Series

Efficacy of Clinical Assessment – Topics and Presenters

Advancing our educative mission in testing and assessment through continuing education programming for psychologists.


Evidence-Based Treatment, John Hunsley >>
Outcomes Measurement/Progress Monitoring, Bruce Bobbitt >>
Ethics of Clinical Assessment, Elizabeth Swenson
Assessment in Institutional Practice, Mark A. Blais >>
Forensic Assessment, Kirk Heilbrun

John Hunsley photo

The Role of Assessment in Providing Evidence-Based Treatments (1 CE credit)

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January 27, 2015

PRESENTER:  John Hunsley, University of Ottawa, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program

ABSTRACT:  Evidence-based psychological practice involves the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of the best available research evidence to inform each stage of clinical decision-making and service delivery, including the monitoring and evaluation of services provided to clients throughout treatment. The key to being a competent, evidence-based practitioner is being able to provide psychological services in which scientific evidence is meaningfully integrated with clinical information obtained from both the initial and ongoing assessment of clients during treatment. To this end, diagnostic information can provide valuable information regarding (a) client characteristics that should be evaluated and (b) evidence-based options for treatment planning purposes. Beyond this, though, the accumulated research on psychotherapy processes and outcomes has much to offer psychologists striving to improve their therapeutic practices. Integrating this research with the growing literature on evidence-based assessment, the webinar is designed to orient psychologists to the value of following evidence-based assessment principles in (a) explicitly developing client case formulations, (b) assessing client characteristics and preferences shown to influence responsiveness to therapy, (c) using case formulations and responsiveness-to-therapy information to individually tailor evidence-based treatments to best fit client needs, (d) monitoring client progress throughout treatment, and (e) systematically evaluating treatment outcome. The evidence base underlying these recommended practices will be presented, along with examples of relevant assessment instruments and strategies that can be used to enhance treatment services.


1. Learn the principles of evidence-based assessment

2. Develop enhanced awareness of case conceptualization (including diagnosis) practices

3. Understand the importance of monitoring treatment progress

4. Learn options for evaluating treatment progress and treatment outcome

5. Learn to modify treatment based on evidence-based responsiveness factors

PRESENTER BIO:  Dr. John Hunsley is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at the University of Ottawa. He has authored over 120 articles, chapters, and books on assessment, intervention, professional issues, and evidence-based psychological practice. These include Scientific Foundations of Clinical Assessment (with Stephen N. Haynes & Gregory T. Smith), A Guide to Assessments That Work (with Eric J. Mash), and Introduction to Clinical Psychology: An Evidence-Based Perspective (with Catherine M. Lee). He is a Fellow of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), and the CPA Clinical Psychology Section. He is also a recipient of the CPA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training in Psychology. Dr. Hunsley consults with health care organizations and professional psychology associations, presents workshops on evidence-based psychological practice, and maintains a private practice in the treatment of mood, anxiety, and related disorders. 

Bruce Bobbitt photoThe Current Healthcare Environment: Key Information About Measurement, Outcomes and Assessment for Practitioners (1 CE Credit)

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  Tuesday, February 17, 2015

PRESENTER:  Bruce L. Bobbitt, PhD, LP, Sr. Vice President, Quality Management, Specialty Networks, Optum®

ABSTRACT:  The current health care environment is undergoing rapid change  -  the implementation of PPACA, the development of new delivery systems such as ACAs and patient homes provide both challenges and opportunities for practicing psychologists. At the broadest level these changes are designed to improve overall population health, experience of care and per capital cost of care – referred to as the triple aim. This presentation will review these broad goals and how changes in the health care environment impact both payers for care and providers of care. The performance of health plans and behavioral health payers is driven in part by population quality metrics that are vetted by organizations such as the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the National Quality Foundation (NQF) as well as metrics identified by governmental agencies such as CMS. It is important for practitioners to be aware of how these metrics are developed and used by payers. Population metrics are also  influenced by professional practice guidelines. It is also important for practitioners to understand the concept of medical necessity and the role it plays in the management of behavioral health care. The implications of these issues for practicing clinicians are reviewed.     


1. Understand how the healthcare environment has changed 

2. Learn the key features of the triple aim

3. Learn about the role population metrics and professional practice guidelines that drive the quality performance of behavioral health payers

4. Understand medical necessity

5. Understand the role of outcomes, measurement, quality improvement  and testing in population driven health care systems

PRESENTER BIO:  Dr. Bruce Bobbitt is currently Sr. Vice President, Quality Management at Optum® Specialty Networks, UnitedHealth Group. In this position he is responsible for the Behavioral Solutions and Specialty Networks Quality Program that encompasses internal clinical operations and the quality of care delivered by network clinicians. Dr. Bobbitt has held a number of clinical and quality management positions at UnitedHealth over the past 20 years. Prior to coming to United he practiced psychology in Minnesota in numerous settings and has been a licensed psychologist in Minnesota for the past 31 years. In addition to publishing in the area, Dr. Bobbitt has given numerous presentations on the role of psychology in the health care system and is a Consulting Editor for Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. He served six years as the Minnesota representative to the APA Council of Representatives and was a member of the Minnesota Psychological Association Governing Council for 16 years. He received the Karl F. Heiser Presidential Award from APA in 1994 and the Susan T. Rydell Outstanding Contribution to Psychology Award from the Minnesota Psychological Association in 2014. He is currently a member of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Behavioral Health Measurement Advisory Panel. Dr. Bobbitt is a graduate of Cornell University and received his PhD in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota. 

Elizabeth Swenson photoEthical Issues in Clinical Assessment (1 CE credit)

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

PRESENTER:  Elizabeth V. Swenson, PhD, JD, John Carroll University, Professor of Psychology

ABSTRACT:  A variety of ethical issues arise in the process of clinical assessment. Several ethical issues common to clinical practice will be identified through brief scenarios. The American Psychological Association Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct will be applied to aid in their resolution.


1.  Become familiar with the standards from the American Psychological Association Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct that apply to clinical assessment

2.  Learn to recognize deviations from standard of care for psychological assessment that can be found in the ethics code including confidentiality, competence, and informed consent

PRESENTER BIO:  Dr. Elizabeth V. Swenson is Professor of Psychology at John Carroll University. She obtained her PhD from Case Western Reserve University and her JD from Cleveland State University. Her teaching interests include professional ethics and psychology and law. Recent publications on professional ethics include a chapter in the APA Handbook of Testing and Assessment (2013) titled Legal Issues in Clinical and Counseling Testing and Assessment and a journal article, Translating Ethical Dilemmas from Traditional to the Online Classroom (2012). Dr. Swenson is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Midwestern Psychological Association, and the Phi Beta Kappa Society. She has served two 3-year terms on the APA Ethics Committee and was a member of the APA Ethics Code Revision Taskforce.  

Mark Alan Blais photoAssessment In Healthcare Settings: Institutional Practice (1 CE Credit)

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 Thursday, May 7, 2015

TIME: 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. CDT  

PRESENTER: Mark A. Blais, PsyD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Director, Psychological Evaluation and Research Laboratory, and Harvard Medical School, Associate Professor of Psychology  

ABSTRACT: Despite changes in healthcare delivery, psychological assessment continues to be a valued specialty service in many large integrative care systems. This webinar will highlight some of the opportunities and obstacles associated with providing empirically-informed multimethod psychological assessment in the setting of a large academic medical center. It will describe the nature and goals of multimethod clinical assessment. It will briefly discuss the clinical and empirical foundation of the multimethod assessment strategy and introduce a systematic approach to the integration of multisource data. The overarching goals for the presentation are to illustrate the common indications for conducting an assessment consultation and the ways in which clinical psychological assessment can enhance treatment for patients with complex presentations or multiple co-occurring conditions.


1.  Understand the role of clinical assessment consultation within large healthcare systems

2.  Understand the rationale for multimethod assessment 

3.  Become familiar with a model for integrating multisource data 

4.  Understand the utility of clinical assessment for patients with complex presentations or multiple conditions

5.  Better understand how to integrate empirical research into clinical assessment

PRESENTER BIO:  Dr. Mark A. Blais obtained his doctoral training at Nova Southeastern University in clinical psychology. He completed his internship and post-doctoral fellowship training at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Dr. Blais is the Director of the Psychological Evaluation and Research Laboratory (PEaRL). The PEaRL offers comprehensive psychological and neuropsychological assessments for adults and conducts research in psychological assessment and measurement. Dr. Blais specializes in psychological and neuropsychological assessment of adults and short-term psychotherapy. He is also Director of the Adult Track of the MGH APA accredited psychology internship.

Dr. Blais' career has focused on understanding and measuring personality. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 original papers, 35 book chapters and has co-edited 2 books. Dr. Blais is an award winning teacher and mentor and in 2009 he received the Theodore Millon Award from the American Psychological Foundation for "Advancing the Science of Personality Psychology."

Kirk Heilbrun photoGuidelines for Effectively Conceptualizing, Conducting, and Communicating Forensic Psychological Evaluations (1 CE credit)

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  Tuesday, July 14, 2015

TIME: 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. CDT

PRESENTER:  Kirk Heilbrun, PhD, Drexel University, Professor of Psychology and Interim Head, Department of Psychology

ABSTRACT:  Forensic psychological evaluations conducted at the request of judges and attorneys are now associated with clear guidelines influenced by relevant law, science, ethics, and practice standards. This webinar will briefly describe the nature of forensic assessment, focusing on the distinction between such assessment and other kinds of psychological evaluation. It will identify important sources of authority with which evaluators must be familiar and summarize the guidelines relevant to conceptualizing, conducting, and communicating the results of forensic evaluations.


1.  Distinguish between forensic and therapeutic evaluation

2.  Be aware of important sources of information in law, science, ethics, and practice

3.  Understand the major steps in conceptualizing a specific forensic evaluation

4.  Understand the major steps in conducting a specific forensic evaluation

5.  Understand the major steps in communicating the results of a specific forensic evaluation

PRESENTER BIO:  Dr. Kirk Heilbrun is currently Professor and Interim Head, Department of Psychology, Drexel University, and co-director of the Pennsylvania Mental Health and Justice Center of Excellence. He received his doctorate in clinical psychology in 1980 from the University of Texas at Austin and completed postdoctoral fellowship training from 1981-82 in psychology and criminal justice at Florida State University. His current research focuses on juvenile and adult offenders, legal decision-making, forensic evaluation associated with such decision-making, and diversion. He is the author of a number of articles on forensic assessment, violence risk assessment and risk communication, and the treatment of mentally disordered offenders, and he has published 10 books in this area. His practice interests also center on forensic assessment, and he directs a clinic within the Drexel Department of Psychology in this area. He is board certified in Clinical Psychology and in Forensic Psychology, American Board of Professional Psychology, and has previously served as president of both the American Psychology-Law Psychology/APA Division 41, and the American Board of Forensic Psychology. He received the 2004 Distinguished Contributions to Forensic Psychology award and the 2008 Beth Clark Distinguished Service Contribution Award from the American Academy of Forensic Psychology.