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Providing Assessment Feedback in the Form of Individualized Therapeutic Fables in a Residential Treatment Setting for Adolescents

22 July 2019


Therapeutic models of assessment are increasingly being used with children and adolescents. Within these models, feedback is often presented to children, and sometimes to adolescents, in the form of individualized therapeutic fables. The fables are intended to metaphorically capture the experience of the child as reflected in the test results. However, there is limited research on the effects of using therapeutic fables or their mechanism of action, especially with adolescents. In this study, a qualitative case study design was used to examine the use of therapeutic fables within the context of therapeutic assessments conducted at a residential treatment facility for adolescents. Five individual interviews and one group interview were conducted with a total of nine participants. Data were analyzed to create a detailed description of the fable creation process and fable uses, and an impact analysis was used to identify impacts of fable use on various stakeholders. Three broad categories of fable impact were identified: (a) impact on understanding of self, others, and environment; (b) relational impacts; and (c) experiential impacts. Limitations and risks related to the use of therapeutic fables were also identified. The specific effects varied between groups, with effects described for clients, families, treatment teams, the psychology department, other agency subsystems, and the agency as a whole. The unique process of fable development and use at the study site was found to provide varied benefits to clients, families, agency employees, and the agency as a whole, though specific effects varied greatly from fable to fable. It is anticipated that the fable development process used at the study site may serve as a useful model for assessment psychologists who wish to integrate therapeutic fable use into clinical practice.


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