What is Psychological Assessment?
Psychological Assessment is how psychologists better understand a person and their behavior. It is a professional problem-solving process seeking to determine the core components of a person’s cognitive skills, achievement, aptitude, personality, interests and strengths.
An assessment has different parts:
- The psychologist will conduct an interview to understand the question we want to answer along with the history and symptoms.
- Standardized Psychological Tests help objectively measure the traits, symptoms, behaviours, thoughts or feelings of the client. These tests help to identify possible diagnoses in a concrete way.
- Observations are sometimes necessary to see the concerning behavior or evaluate how an individual interacts in their own environment.
- The psychologist will use Informal psychological tests, surveys or interviews to gather information from the client or other sources such as teachers, parents or managers (never without the client’s written permission).
Why Participate in a Psychological Assessment?
You would seek an assessment if:
- you haven’t felt you are moving forward in therapy as you’d hoped;
- you want to make a career switch but aren’t sure to what;
- if you just don’t feel right and it has been persevering for a while;
- you suspect you might be struggling with a particular concern such as ADHD; or
- there’s been an event that has changed how you are functioning in the world.
Psychological assessment doesn’t just focus on what’s wrong. It also identifies strengths and positive attributes of the individual. It can be an empowering to learn more about yourself and understanding more about why you are facing specific challenges, how you are coping and what unique strengths you possess.
Types of Assessments Offered:
There are different types of psychological assessments including:
- Psychological/Diagnostic Assessment – social/emotional concerns and diagnosis
- Psychoeducational Assessment – Learning difficulty and ADHD assessments
- Psychovocational Assessment – Abilities, strengths and interests in work choices
Psychological Assessment and Testing is used to assist with diagnosis of and treatment planning for individuals suffering with:
- Anxiety Disorders like generalized anxiety, social anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder,
- Trauma Reactions, like PTSD or Acute Stress,
- Mood Disorders like bipolar disorder and
- Psychotic/delusional disorders
Individuals who may benefit from psychological/diagnostic testing are individuals who are struggling to move forward in therapy, or who are struggling with their mental health. The goal is to provide a diagnosis where warranted with recommendations for treatment, if necessary.
Psychoeducational assessments look at an individual’s patterns of strengths, interests, abilities and learning styles to identify how the individual is performing in a traditional educational environment. Assessment will identify the individual’s strengths and areas of struggle which, may include general learning difficulties, or learning disorders such as dyscalculia, dyslexia and/or reading/language issues. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) assessments are also included in educational assessments.
Individuals in a formal education system (grade school, trade school, college, university) interested in identifying how best to succeed will benefit from educational testing. The goal is to identify any potential challenges and create ways to succeed using current strengths, developing new strategies and/or accommodations in the learning environment.
Psychovocational assessments identify patterns of strengths, interests, work styles, abilities and personality to match to the types of work and specific occupations the individual is well-suited for.
Individuals who will benefit from psychovocational assessment are those who are contemplating their first career, those considering a major career shift, those embarking on their university journey or those re-entering the workforce after an extended time away.
Psychological assessments are offered for individuals aged 13 years and up.
Dr. Swan conducts assessments for Veteran’s Affairs, for independent psychological evaluation and privately for individuals. Costs for assessments vary based on reason for testing. Please check with your insurer regarding coverage for psychological assessment.