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Discredited Assessment and Treatment Methods Used with Children and Adolescents: A Delphi Poll

Practice Post by Amanda Jensen-Doss, Associate Professor, University of Miami





Article Title: Discredited Assessment and Treatment Methods Used with Children and Adolescents: A Delphi Poll

Article Authors: Gerald P. Koocher, Madeline R. McMann, Annika O. Stout, and John C. Norcross

Why is this article relevant to your practice? While there are a lot of resources available to tell you about assessments and treatments that you should be using, it is much more difficult to identify assessments and treatments that you should not be using. This article contains lists of assessments and treatments that experts in the field caution against using.

What are the key takeaways from the article?

  • A panel of 139 experts in youth mental health rated assessments and treatments on this scale: 1 (Not at all discredited), 2 (Not likely discredited), 3 (Possibly discredited), 4 (Probably discredited), and 5 (Certainly discredited). They rated them once independently (Round 1) and a second time after seeing others’ ratings to help build consensus (Round 2)
  • Two tables in the article summarize ratings for assessment tools (Table 1, page 725) and treatments (Table 2, page 726). The authors considered methods with Round 2 ratings between 1 and 2.5 as not discredited.
  • Eleven assessment tools and 42 treatments received ratings above 4.25 (between probably and certainly discredited).
    • The top 5 discredited assessments were the Szondi Test for personality assessment, enneagrams for personality assessment, Brain Balance for ADHD assessment, biorhythms for personality assessment, and the Hand Test for personality assessment
    • The top 5 discredited treatments included magnet therapy, past life regression therapy, rebirthing therapy, crystal healing, and Bio-Ching.

What do the authors say are the limitations of the article?

  • The authors note that these lists reflect expert consensus, not a guarantee of truth.
  • The experts here work within the United States and may not reflect expert opinions in other countries.
  • Experts who were not familiar with a specific practice did not rate it, so lack of familiarity might have affected ratings for some practices.

Link to full article (available to SCCAP members only; requires the member to be logged into the website):

Full Article Reference: Koocher, G. P., McMann, M. R., Stout, A. O., & Norcross, J. C. (2015). Discredited assessment and treatment methods used with children and adolescents: A Delphi poll. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 44(5), 722-729.