The child, on the other hand, has his share in influencing the family as well.
In the family, when a member, usually a child or adolescent, has a (psychiatric) disorder, this influence is magnified. And for diagnostic purposes, the effect of the family on the child and the child’s effect on the family must be assessed to prepare for optimal treatment, according to Allan M. Josephson, M.D.
A comprehensive family assessment is the process of identifying, gathering, and weighing information to understand the significant factors affecting a child’s safety, permanency and well-being, parental protective capacity, and the family’s ability to assure the safety of their children (Johnson et al, 2006, p.1). There are several sequential functions included in family assessment, which are (1) screening and general disposition, which usually takes place during intake. (2) definition of the problem, which may include diagnostic assessments (or quantification of problem severity) that takes place during intake and investigation procedures. (3) planning, selecting, and matching services with identified problems. and (4) monitoring progress and evaluating service outcomes (Hawkins, 1979). In short, the family plays a major role in this context, and the role it will play in the treatment process should be based on a balanced case formulation which can be realized through a complete, systematic, and detailed family assessment.
A good family assessment doesn’t only gather information to be able to formulate a well-made treatment plan for the patient, rather it is also relationship building. It involves everyone in the family to take part, exploring goals, values, and strengths to help build mutual trust and respect among them. This relationship can be built when problems arise — a slice of truth in the saying that problems do create opportunities for a brighter tomorrow.