Parent-Child Relational Assessments

Parent-child relational assessments provide a comprehensive evaluation of parent-child relationships. The assessments gather information from parents in an intake interview as well as parental ratings of the child’s behavior and their perceptions and understanding of their relationship with the child. Assessments are completed in 3-4 sessions.

The following is a comprehensive guide to the structure of our parent-child relational assessments:

Session 1: Intake interview with the parent

The goal of this interview is to gain relevant background information from the parent’s perspective. Special focus will be on the child’s developmental milestones, their behavioral functioning, the parent’s understanding of how they parent the child, and their beliefs about the quality of the parent-child relationship. Parents will be asked to complete the several questionnaires to assess for trauma symptoms and current emotional functioning.

Session 2: Marschak Interaction Method (MIM) Completed by Parent-Child Dyad

This measure is a videotaped assessment of the dyad completing a series of 8-10 play-based activities designed to analyze the dimensions of nurture, structure, challenge, and engagement, and the parent’s ability to engage with their child in each of these areas. It provides an opportunity to directly observe and measure both strengths and growth points in the parent-child relationship. The MIM will be coded using a behavior rating scale.

Session 3 (and 4):

Parents will be given the opportunity to review relevant sections of the videotaped interactions and receive feedback. The feedback presented will be based on the results of the MIM, in conjunction with results of the behavior rating scales completed by the parent and/or child and the compilation of any additional information collected throughout the assessment process. Parents will have the opportunity to ask questions, raise concerns, and participate in additional services if recommended (i.e., parenting classes; psychoeducation; parent-child relational therapy). Feedback will be provided both verbally and, following the final session with parents, in a comprehensive written report.


To schedule an appointment with one of our therapists or for more information about our services, please complete the form here or give us a call on our main line at 703.963.4261. We will respond to your call or email within 24 hours, or on the next business day.