Psychological Testing and Assessment

Psychological testing and assessment are similar to medical tests. The results of psychological tests will assist in the development of a treatment plan for the individual undergoing the evaluation. Psychologists use tests and other assessment tools to measure and observe a client’s behavior to arrive at a diagnosis and guide treatment. They typically take two to fours with the psychologist to complete. The psychologist will then spend a number of hours reviewing your records, scoring and interpreting your testing, and then preparing your report.

Psychological tests and assessments are administered for a wide variety of reasons. Children who are experiencing difficulty in school, for example, may undergo aptitude testing or tests for learning disabilities.

Neurological Pre-Screens: Determine whether the time and expense of neuropsychologist is needed when symptoms of dexterity, reaction time and memory are in question, and concerns of brain injuries or dementia are present.

If a person is having problems at work or school, or in personal relationships, tests can help understand whether anger management or interpersonal skills or certain personality traits that contribute to the problem. Other tests evaluate whether clients are experiencing emotional disorders such as anxiety or depression.

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 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 or medical records, medical evaluation and observational data. Dr. Ferrick determines what information to use based on the specific questions being asked. For example, assessments can be used to determine if a person has a learning disorder, is competent to stand trial or has a traumatic brain injury. They can also be used to determine if a person would be a good manager or how well they may work with a team.

The clinical interview occurs when Dr. Ferrick speaks to a client about his or her concerns and history, and observe how the client thinks, reasons and interacts with others. Assessments may also include interviewing other people who are close to the client, such as teachers, co-workers or family members. (Such interviews, however, would only be performed with written consent from the client unless the evaluation is court ordered.)

Dr. Ferrick chooses a specific set of assessments and tests for each client depending on the questions that the referring party wants to be answered. This might be the client, a parent, a doctor, a therapist, employer, an attorney, or the courts. Testing often requires clinical psychologists that are licensed in your state. These psychologists are expertly trained to administer assessments and tests and interpret the results.

Typically Dr. Ferrick evaluates clients and then recommends or confers with the client and referring party to determine a plan that would best suit that individual to move forward.

Psychological testing isn’t pass or fail. Psychological testing assists in putting together the pieces of a puzzle that make up the client, and thus creates the best path to treatment. Remember, psychological testing and assessment is nothing to fear. It’s not something you need to study for. Rather, it’s an opportunity for psychologists to determine the best way to help you.

Dr. Ferrick performs evaluations for a number of issues:

  • Forensic or Court Ordered Psychological Evaluations
  • Competency Evaluations for Legal or Medical Decision Making
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Neurological Pre-Prescreening

Please contact Dr. Ferrick to schedule your assessment.

Original Article: Understanding psychological testing and assessment