Assessment in family counseling is an essential practice that focuses on the evaluation of the function of the entire family system or some subset of the family. As with all assessment in counseling, family assessment begins at the initial contact and continues throughout treatment. Some broad areas of formal assessment include evaluating levels of satisfaction and adjustment, communication styles, transaction patterns, strengths, and coping strategies. Additionally, assessment in family and couples can be used to screen, to create treatment plans, to predict relationship sustainability, and to evaluate therapeutic outcomes. The clinician’s choice of assessment models, which can be quantitative or qualitative in nature, depends largely on his or her theoretical orientation to how systems function. This entry presents four models of family assessment that produce ...

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