Psychological Assessment & Psychological Testing
Psychological assessments combine multiple methods for evaluating an individual, and are extremely beneficial for gaining a deeper understanding of symptoms, clarifying diagnoses, and determining the best treatment to address a specific problem. Any assessment begins with a thorough clinical interview with the client, and may include interviews with family members, a review of relevant medical or academic records, and psychological testing. The clinical interview explores the client’s background and the potential causes of the current problems. All of our therapists at Kairos Counseling Center conduct an extensive clinical interview during the first session with every new client, and most often this interview alone is sufficient to identify the primary issues faced by the client and the best treatment to resolve the presenting problem.
However, in some instances it is necessary to conduct additional interviews, record reviews, and psychological testing to gain further clarity regarding the causes of a client’s problems. Sometimes a client’s symptoms can be the result of multiple kinds of disorders, and it may be unclear from an interview alone which disorders are the primary cause of the symptoms. In other instances, a person may be referred for an assessment because they have been treated for multiple different diagnoses over many years with little success – often because a thorough assessment was never conducted.
Psychological testing is very effective for determining a client’s true diagnosis, and if multiple different disorders are present, testing can determine the prominence of each disorder in causing the client’s symptoms, which clarifies the most appropriate treatment.
Common Types of Assessments
- Educational Assessments – Determine the causes of problems at school or work which may include ADHD, Learning Disabilities, or emotional disturbances. These often include an intelligence test, achievement testing and disorder-specific testing.
- Diagnostic Assessments – Clarify which psychiatric disorders are present (e.g. Depression, Bipolar, Anxiety, Schizophrenia, etc.), and differentiates between multiple disorders with similar symptoms. These often include objective personality tests, projective personality tests, and may include an intelligence test or other disorder-specific inventories.
- Disability Evaluations / Independent Medical Evaluations (IME) – Assess the severity of a psychiatric disturbance in order to render an opinion as to the effect of a disorder on a person’s ability to work. Testing depends on the nature of the suspected disability.
- Pre-Adoption Evaluations – Adoption agencies often require that couples undergo an assessment to ensure the psychological health of each individual as well as the marriage relationship. These often include personality tests to determine whether a psychiatric diagnosis exists, and a measure of the couple’s relationship.
- Pre-Marital Assessments – Many couples wish to augment their pre-marital counseling with an assessment of their personal compatibility in order understand one another at a deeper level. There are several tests specifically designed for this purpose.