What’s the story on Psychological Evaluations?
The idea of being evaluated can seem so daunting and invasive. But being prepared and knowing what to expect can help alleviate some of these thoughts. Psychological evaluations are a valuable tool in understanding and thus treating various psychosocial, learning, and behavioral difficulties. So a great way to look at it is as the first step to understanding — and therefore solving — mental, neurological, socio-emotional, and behavioral difficulties you may be facing.
Psychological evaluations allow us to formerly measure traits, feelings, beliefs, and abilities that influence our difficulties. There are a variety of tests that psychologists use. Some tests assess the presence of specific conditions, such as depression, anxiety, attention difficulties, academic issues, anger control, or susceptibility to stress. Other tests measure general well-being and provide an overall picture of a person’s personality.
What should you expect during an evaluation?
A typical psychological assessment begins with a clinical interview, where the psychologist will gather relevant information. This information can include family, childhood and medical history, and current stressors that are affecting you. This information helps the psychologist in determining what tests will be best to administer and what questions to answer about your overall functioning. Once this has been done, the psychologist will schedule the actual testing day(s) which can range anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. This can be done all in one day but typically in two separate meetings, particularly for younger children.
This process helps the psychologist and other clinicians gain a deeper, more complete understanding of the problem or problems than can be gained from a brief office visit. Once the tests have been scored, interpreted, and put into report form, the psychologist is able to sit with you and share the results. WARNING: THERE IS NO PASS/FAIL. It is important to understand that the results are used to understand your strengths and areas that need some intervention. A good psychologist will break the information down into terms that are understandable and also give the best recommendations for how to go about solving any difficulties drawn from testing: either through therapy, medical intervention, or academic support. The psychologist may also collaborate with your physician, therapist, and school personnel to ensure proper follow through with recommendations.
I look forward to helping everyone in our community with this process and I encourage you to reach out to us at Lake Norman Family Therapy with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment with us.