There are numerous screening instruments available to help counselors assess and diagnosis substance use disorders. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using standardized instruments to assess and diagnose clients?
There are several advantages and disadvantages of using standardized instruments to assess and diagnose clients. Because information gathered from a standardized test can be compared to the normal population, a counselor can use the information as part of the clinical decision making process. The information can also be useful when working with a client that is in denial or is in resistance to their substance abuse addiction. For example, a client could debate that drinking a liter of vodka per day is normal because his parents both drink a liter of vodka per day. However, compared to the normal population, drinking a liter of vodka per day is a strong indication of alcoholism. Data gathered from a standardized test has the benefit of objectivity. A client cannot accuse a counselor of being biased or opinionated just because he wants the client to go to treatment because that is how he gets paid. Substance abuse addicts often minimize their drug use. Therefore, there are standardized tests which indirectly screen individuals for substance abuse. (Capuzzi, 2012). Standardized tests are good for many reasons as mentioned. However, a standardized test cannot be customized to better suit the needs clients. Standardized test can also become outdated.
Capuzzi, D., & Stauffer, M. (2012). Foundations of Addictions Counseling. Upper Saddle River, NJ; Pearson Education.