What is a psychological evaluation or assessment?

Has your son or daughter’s teacher recommended that they be assessed for ADHD? Have you ever thought you were depressed or anxious, but just weren’t sure? Maybe you’ve been in therapy or counseling for some time, and feel like you’ve hit a wall. It sounds like a psychological evaluation might be helpful.

A psychological evaluation, or what we refer to in the field as psychological testing, is a battery of tests that helps the clinician to better understand what and how the client understands and deals with emotions, others, thoughts and the world. Sometimes testing will answer specific questions, like “do I have ADHD?” or “why do I always expect the worst to happen?” Psychological testing can be equated to blood testing or blood work. Doctors will often recommend you get blood work done when there is a concern about nutrient deficiencies and disease. It can provide valuable insights to what is affecting your body, from the inside, and that may be less apparent from the outside. In psychology, our form of blood work is psychological testing.

As a psychologist, I have found psychological testing helpful as it provides a thorough understanding about how one thinks, feels, perceives and works with information. This data can be invaluable in therapy. Sometimes psychological testing is required for school accommodations because of issues related to ADHD, anxiety or ODD. Other times therapists or psychiatrists might need a more definite diagnosis that is supported by objective findings. For example, a psychiatrist or PCP may be uncomfortable prescribing a stimulant medication before having a definite ADHD diagnosis, or to determine a possible treatment regimen for a bipolar disorder. In each of these cases, psychological testing can help to get the treating clinician more information, which can help their confidence in prescribing a certain treatment.

If you are interested in or have been told to seek psychological testing, give us a call or send us an email, and we will determine if we be of help!