The purpose of the socio- emotional evaluation is to evaluate the different systems in a child’s world, but also to evaluate the child’s functioning and emotional experience of these systems.
The evaluation further aims to identify and understand the different factors that contributes to the child’s experience, in order to make the necessary recommendations in the best interest of the child(Webb, 2011:61). The evaluation process is conducted from a systems viewpoint that recognizes that the child is influenced by the system it belongs to, just as the system is affected by the individuals that belong to it. Think about your daily interactions. We interact with friends, colleagues; church, different clubs we belong to (social) and we encounter many emotional challenging situations every day, for instance work stress, conflict at work or within relationships. Exactly the same happens to a child. As most young children find it almost impossible to talk about their emotions, they usually show how they feel, with their behaviour.
Emotional problems can be defined as: ‘The child with emotional problems experience very little joy in their life and often don’t see the point of it. Due to this experience, a child may struggle with learning difficulties, relationship problems, behaviour problems, depression, anxiety, physical problems and the inability to deal with school or personal problems. Emotional problems very often are a symptom of the fact that a child’s relationships (environment and him/herself) are disturbed and very often the child is not capable of recovering these aspects themselves. Please see more information on this website about the different emotional problems children struggle with.
During an evaluation the counsellor take a holistic look at the child’s functioning in all these areas.
Areas that are evaluated during the evaluation include amongst others;
- School and peer relationships
- Relationships with parents and siblings
- Child’s experience of their parent’s relationship (marital or other)
- The role of other significant people
- Relationships in which the child might be experiencing discomfort
- Broad screening of perceptual and motor functioning
- Screening of possible exposure to trauma, including physical/emotional or sexual abuse
- Personality functioning and temperament.
The evaluation model used is based on a forensic researched model and during an evaluation the counsellor use a variety of tecniques which include play therapy and projective techniques, clay, puzzles, puppets, sentence completion and fantasy techniques. After the evaluation is completed the counsellor usually have a clear picture of the child’s emotional living environment, where after a therapy intervention plan can be drawn up to assist the child and family with the identified challenges. Children usually love the evaluation process as it is characterised by play and fantasy and in this way, valuable information is retrieved from the child.