Purpose of Psychological Evaluations
Psychological evaluations are performed when a social, emotional, learning, or behavioral concern is noticed and the cause, impact and/or recommendations are needed. The problem(s) can appear in many realms including inappropriate behavior, mood states that are interfering with functioning, a change from previous functioning, and/or an inability to perform up to expected standards. Some reasons why our clients may seek psychological testing include:
Reasons For Psychological Testing
- Diagnostic testing
- Ruling out or ruling in a mental health disorder/diagnosis
- Testing to assess psychological, emotional, and/or behavioral functioning
- Learning disorder testing
- Academic and Educational testing
- Giftedness testing
- Accommodation testing
- ADHD or ADD testing
- Forensic testing
- Autism spectrum disorder testing and treatment
- Entrance into enrichment programs
- Appropriate academic settings
- Special accommodations
- School readiness
- School admission
- Intellectual functioning
- Career or college guidance
- Vocational testing
- Act 235 evaluations
- Gastric Bypass/Lap Band Surgery evaluations
- Other psychological testing prior to medical procedures
Our goal is to help adults, teens, and children become satisfied and successful in their emotional, educational and/or vocational lives. Through comprehensive clinical interviewing and a battery of psychological tests, a wealth of useful information can be garnered to aid in understanding the issues that are arising and provide recommendations to address the issues.
Although all evaluations are tailored to meet our client’s needs, there are some standard processes involved when administering psychological tests as part of a psychological or psychoeducational evaluation.
Scheduling A Psychological Evaluation
If you are calling to schedule an appointment for psychological testing, we will be asking you questions to discern the purpose of the testing to ensure we are helping to set you up with the appropriate psychologist in our office who has expertise in the area you are looking to assess. At times, we may have the psychologist speak directly with you to gather more information and ensure that you are comfortable with the person doing the testing.
Comprehensive Clincal Interview
Incredibly valuable information is gathered during a comprehensive clinical interview including:
- Personal and childhood history
- Family history and current functioning
- Medical history and current functioning
- Developmental history
- Mental health history and current functioning
- Educational and work history and current functioning
- Relationship/social history and current functioning
- Substance use history and current functioning
- Legal history and current functioning
- Recent experiences that are impacting current functioning
- Other pertinent information related to psychological testing
Often the psychologist who is doing the testing will ask that the client bring in any relevant documents that they feel would be helpful for the psychologist to see to have a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand (e.g., work records, school records, medical records, legal records).
In general, clinical interviews are more open and less structured than formal testing because this part of the evaluation allows for the client to convey information and experiences in their own words. The clinical interview usually occurs at the beginning of the psychological assessment or testing in order to establish a good understanding of a person’s history and recent experiences that are bringing them in for the evaluation.
There are a number of different psychological tests that can be administered during the course of an evaluation. Psychological tests are designed to assess an aspect of a person’s knowledge, skill, personality, intelligence, achievement, or a certain behavior.
Normed-psychological tests provide information for how the person being tested measures compared to other individuals who have taken the test before and are included in the norming sample. This provides, as much as possible, a comparison between test takers. Some examples of normed tests include:
- IQ tests
- Achievement tests
- Personality tests (e.g., MMPI, MCMI)
- Attention and concentration tests
- Neuropsychological tests
Non-Normed Referenced Tests
In addition to the standardized, norm-referenced tests, psychologists may choose to administer one or more non-normed referenced tests, which are designed to measure a person’s level of functioning in the areas covered by the test. These tests can provide a wealth of information to the psychologist doing the evaluation. Some examples may include
- Behavioral checklists
- Symptom checklists
- Some projective tests
Psychological Evaluation Observations
Sometimes, especially with young children, a psychologist will request to observe the individual being tested in a natural setting like a classroom. This observation can be incredibly valuable to the psychologist because it allows them to understand the person in different contexts. For example, when evaluating a child, the psychologist may want to see if the child behaves differently at school than at home, or assess how the child behaves around his/her peers, or find out if the child is treated differently than other students in the classroom.
This kind of information can enrich the assessment and help the evaluator get a more well-rounded picture of the person being assessed and allow for very targeted treatment recommendations.
Psychological Evaluation Report and Feedback
Once all the information is gathered, the psychologist creates a comprehensive and integrated assessment of the individual, usually creating a thorough report with recommendations. This information is also communicated via a feedback session with the client to review the results.
A psychological assessment is never focused on a single test score or number. Every person has a range of competencies that can be evaluated through a number of methods. A psychologist is there to evaluate the competencies as well as the limitations of the person, and report on them in an objective but helpful manner.
Psychological Testing at Equilibria PCS
Our goal is to help adults, adolescents, and children become satisfied and successful in their emotional, educational and/or vocational lives. Through comprehensive clinical interviewing with an individual and a battery of psychological tests, a wealth of useful information can be garnered to aid in effective treatment planning.
All psychological tests are tailored to our client’s needs in order to fully understand any and all underlying issues.
Following the test, Equilibria’s psychologists will deliver a detailed and comprehensive written report and recommendations
Schedule An Appointment
If you would like to meet or talk with one of our psychologists in Philadelphia about psychological testing, call us at (267) 861-3685, option 1. Or fill out our contact us form