The Spectrum and Value of Psychological Assessments
What is Psychological Testing?
The main purpose of Psychological Tetsing is to gain a better understanding of a person and her/his behavior.
The goals of psychological assessment are to better understand a person’s strengths and weaknesses, identify potential problems with cognitions, emotional reactivity, and make recommendations for treatment/remediation.
All types of psychological evaluations measure an individual’s functioning at a specific point in time and provide a “snapshot” of a person.
Psychological testing is not one single test, but a series of scientifically developed tests and procedures that assess various aspects of a person’s psychological functioning. Types of tests and procedures include:
Interviews – Unstructured or semi-structured conversations with the client, caregivers, teachers, and other individuals familiar with the client. Interviews allow observation of social, language, and communication skills.
Norm-Referenced Measures – These are tests that are standardized over clearly defined groups with representative characteristics.
Behavioral Observations – Observing the client’s behavior during the assessment and, when possible, in his or her natural environment such as the classroom.
What are the Different Types of Psychological Testing? What type of psychological assessment do I or does my child need?
Psychoeducational Assessment – This type of evaluation is recommended for children who are struggling to meet academic and/or behavioral expectations within the school setting. If your concerns about your child are primarily academic in nature and/or you are concerned about potential attention problems (ADD, AD/HD), or specific difficulties in language, reading, writing, or math, this type of evaluation will likely be sufficient to identify and address your child’s needs at school. If your child appears to be suffering from mental health issues or consistently struggles to manage his/her mood, behavior, or relationships, a more comprehensive evaluation is likely needed.
Psychological Assessment – The goal of these evaluations is typically to clarify diagnoses and inform treatment/intervention. – This type of assessment is recommended for individuals who are struggling with common mental health concerns (e.g., depression and anxiety) or severe psychopathology (bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders, trauma). It is also recommended for individuals who have long-standing struggles regulating their mood and/or behavior or who have difficulties maintaining healthy relationships with family members, peers, or romantic partners. Because psychological evaluations are quite broad and can be tailored to the needs of the particular client, this type of testing is sufficient for most individuals seeking an assessment.