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Assessment Services

Psychological assessment is the process of evaluating an individual’s mental health and behavioural functioning.

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Is Assessment Right For You?

Psychological assessment is the process of evaluating an individual’s mental health and behavioral functioning through the use of standardized tests, observations, and other methods.

There are several reasons why psychological testing is important:

  • • Psychological assessment is important because it can help identify mental health conditions and other issues that may be impacting an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • • It can provide a more complete understanding of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, which can be useful in making decisions about treatment and support.
  • • Psychological assessment can help diagnose conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), among others.
  • • It can also be used to assess an individual’s cognitive abilities, such as memory, problem-solving skills, and intellectual functioning.
  • • Psychological assessment can help identify the underlying causes of an individual’s symptoms and provide a basis for developing a treatment plan that is tailored to their needs.
  • • It can also be used to monitor an individual’s progress in treatment and make any necessary adjustments.
  • • Psychological assessment can help individuals and their families better understand the nature of their struggles and the options available for addressing them.

If you or a family member has been referred for psychological testing, you probably have some questions about what to expect. Or you may have heard about psychological testing and wonder if you or a family member should be tested. Psychological testing may sound intimidating, but it’s designed to help you.

In many ways, psychological testing and assessment are similar to medical tests. If a patient has physical symptoms, a primary care provider may order X-rays or blood tests to understand what’s causing those symptoms. The results of the tests will help inform develop a treatment plan. Psychological evaluations serve the same purpose. Psychologists use tests and other assessment tools to measure and observe a patient’s behavior to arrive at a diagnosis and guide treatment.

Psychologists administer tests and assessments for a wide variety of reasons. Children who are experiencing difficulty in school, for example, may undergo testing for learning disabilities. If a person is having problems at work or school, or in personal relationships, tests can help a psychologist understand whether the person might have issues with anger management or interpersonal skills, or certain personality traits that contribute to the problem. Other tests evaluate whether patients are experiencing emotional disorders such as anxiety or depression.

The underlying cause of a person’s problems isn’t always clear. For example, if a child is having trouble in school, do they have a reading problem such as dyslexia? An attention problem such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? Difficulty with impulse control? Psychological tests and assessments allow a psychologist to understand the nature of the problem, and to figure out the best way to go about addressing it.

Tests and assessments

Tests and assessments are two separate but related components of a psychological evaluation. Psychologists use both types of tools to help them arrive at a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

Testing involves the use of formal tests such as questionnaires or checklists. These are often described as “norm-referenced” tests. That simply 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 norm-referenced test of a child’s reading abilities, for example, may rank that child’s ability compared to other children of similar age or grade level. Norm-referenced tests have been developed and evaluated by researchers and proven to be effective for measuring a particular trait or disorder.

A psychological assessment can include numerous components such as norm-referenced psychological tests, informal tests and surveys, interview information, school records, and observational data. A psychologist determines what information to use based on the specific questions being asked.

One common assessment technique, for instance, is a clinical interview. When a psychologist speaks to a patient about his or her concerns and history, they’re able to observe how the patient thinks, reasons, and interacts with others. Assessments may also include interviewing other people who are close to the patient, such as teachers, coworkers, or family members. (Such interviews, however, would only be performed with written consent from the patient.)

Together, testing and assessment allow a psychologist to see the full picture of a person’s strengths and limitations.

Seeing a psychologist

TPsychological tests are not one-size-fits-all. Psychologists pick and choose a specific set of assessments and tests for each individual patient. And not just any psychologist can perform a psychological evaluation. Registered psychologists who specialize in assessments are expertly trained to administer assessments and tests and interpret the results.

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