Psychological Testing & Evaluations
A psychological evaluation can provide an understanding of problems affecting a child, adolescent, or adult in their academic, social, emotional, or workplace functioning. A thorough assessment of cognitive and social-emotional functioning provides the best overall picture for a client. In some instances a client may seek an evaluation in only one area, such as emotional functioning or academic (cognitive) functioning. In these situations testing and feedback addresses the area of focus for the client. A counselor or therapist may suggest that a client have a psychological evaluation in order to confirm a diagnosis or to guide therapeutic treatment. Schools will sometimes recommend that parents seek an evaluation for a daughter or son to determine the nature of the child’s difficulties.
Assessing intellectual abilities and achievement is more complex than the mere search for an IQ score. It involves formal tests which usually reveal primary features such as: a profile of intellectual strengths and weaknesses, unique learning styles, factors that interfere with learning, and strategies for improving performance with educational or intellectual tasks.
Assessment in this area includes: how well a person relates with others, self-esteem, communication patterns, level of stress, ways of handling emotions, personality features and temperament as well as an assessment of emotional distress. Assessment methods will include background history, a clinical interview, self-report questionnaires, and projective tests such as the Rorschach Inkblot test or the Thematic Apperception Test.
In an initial interview a client has the opportunity to describe issues of concern that will become the focus of the evaluation. A testing clinician will recommend the types of tests that could be used and provide an overview of what to expect in terms of testing, fees, time schedule, and feedback procedures. The evaluation chosen for each client are influenced by the age and needs of the particular client and the areas of concern or problems. Parents of children and adolescents have the opportunity to voice their concerns in this interview. Parents are encouraged to bring older children and adolescents to the Pre-assessment Interview.
A few weeks after testing, the client sits down with the testing clinician to receive an explanation of the evaluation, the diagnoses, and the recommendations. The client receives a written report and may request it be shared with specific persons or institutions.
Students’ difficulties in learning, behavior, emotions, or peer relationships are more evident through observation of the student in the classroom and interviews with teachers. A diagnostic team at West County Psychological Associates can conduct a Comprehensive Student Assessment. The assessment would include an on-site observation of the student in the school and classroom, consultation interviews with teachers and parents, educational and psychological testing, a thorough written report with recommendations, and a feedback session for school staff and parents. Read more about our School Services by visiting our page dedicated to School & Student Services.