Week 5 CNL610 Discussion Question

Week 5 CNL610 Discussion Question


  • During an assessment, counselors need to identify risk factors in the client’s presentation as well as protective factors to weigh them against. Risk factors are factors in the young person’s presentation or situation, increasing the likelihood of coming to harm. Protective factors are those who could decrease this risk. What are some risk and protective factors that counselors need to consider as part of their risk assessment process with young people?

When assessing young people, risk assessment is a vital process which counselors must conduct. In therapy, risk assessment seeks to identify the risk factors and the protective factors to involve the care plan. The common risk factors in young people include suicidal ideation, sexual abuse, alcohol abuse, truancy and violence, and history of abuse/neglect (Rennie & Dolan, 2010). To identify risk factors in the risk assessment process, the counselor uses questions and documents the client’s responses to use as a protocol for informing the care plan. Protective factors, on the other hand, include self-care, parental resilience, support and care from family and friends, quality therapeutic alliance, emotional competence, social connectedness, attachment and nurturing, and the ability or willingness to discuss one’s feelings and thought patterns. Information about these risk and protective factors informs the counselor about the client’s presenting symptoms and helps determine the probability of positive recovery or failure (Rennie & Dolan, 2010). Also, the information informs the client the best approaches of care, which would help lower the risk of harm to the client being assessed.


Rennie, C. E., & Dolan, M. C. (2010). The significance of protective factors in the assessment of risk. Hoboken: Wiley.

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