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Psychological evaluation is a structured process of examining and measuring an individual’s behavior, personality, cognitive ability, perception, and many other domains. Tests and assessments are two separate, but related components of a psychological evaluation. Psychologists are licensed to use psychological testing and other assessment tools to help them arrive at a diagnosis and formulate treatment planning. Testing involves the use of formal tests such as questionnaires or checklists. These are often described as “norm-referenced” tests, which means the tests have been standardized so that test-takers are evaluated in a similar way, no matter where they live or who administers the test.
A psychological assessment on the other hand, can include numerous components such as norm-referenced psychological tests, informal tests and surveys, interview information, school or medical records, medical evaluation and observation data. A psychologist determines which type of assessments to use based upon the specific referral question(s) that are being asked by the referring clinician. Examples of when a psychological evaluation is recommended include:
The overall purpose of the psychological evaluation is to provide a deeper knowledge of an individual’s unique profile of strengths and limitations. In doing so, this illuminates how an individual learns best and/or what may be getting in the way of his or her ability to function at the fullest potential — academically, socially, emotionally, or behaviorally. Once the individual’s unique profile is discovered and better understood through testing, recommendations can be made for direct interventions, accommodations, and various supports in order to optimize his or her learning and successful development. The knowledge that emerges from the psychological evaluation is employed to design intervention and remediation strategies specifically tailored to the individual’s learning style.
Through clinical interviewing and a range of psychological tests, Dr. Mike collaborates with individuals and families to develop effective educational/occupational and treatment plans. Pursuing a psychological evaluation for yourself or someone else may seem very anxiety provoking, and for that reason alone, many individuals and families fear, have reservation about, and often times avoid this initial step. This fear often leads many individuals to adopt an “I’ll wait and see” approach, hoping that you or your loved one improves without enlisting the help of a licensed psychologist. However, it is important to know that being evaluated as early as possible is best. Nearly all professionals agree that early intervention plays a significant and vital role in the treatment process and prognosis.
Assessments are tailored to you or your loved one’s strengths and challenges, and include a diagnostic evaluation and written report that can be utilized as a starting point for educational, personality, and other services, including:
Prior to the evaluation, individuals and/or families typically meet with Dr. Mike for a 30-minute telephone, videoconference, or face-to-face consultation to discuss assessment and treatment options. Appointments may be scheduled thereafter. The most common type of evaluations for school-aged to college students are psychoeducational assessments, and the most common type of evaluation for adults are personality assessments.
Psychoeducational assessments provide estimates of an individual’s intellectual, or cognitive, abilities and educational achievement levels. It also yields recommendations relevant for educational, testing, and/or academic planning. Personality assessments are designed to measure specific traits of an individual’s personality or psychological profile, thinking patterns, and interpersonal styles. It also yields suggestions relevant for relational or occupational purposes.