A comprehensive psychological evaluation is a series of tests and assessments that seeks to determine a patient’s psychological functioning. The goal of the evaluation is to ensure that an accurate picture of the patient’s needs is created, that the patient is provided with a complete diagnosis, and that the best treatment plan to meet the needs of the patient is developed.
What Does A Comprehensive Psychological Evaluation Consist Of?
While there are a variety of techniques for performing a comprehensive psychological evaluation, every assessment process will look different depending on the provider completing the assessment and the concerns the patient has initially been presented with. In general, patients can expect the following when participating in a comprehensive psychological evaluation:
Interviews: An interview is one of the most important parts of the evaluation process, as this gives your provider the chance to learn about your background, concerns, and current functioning. This is usually one of the first parts of the assessment process and will be completed during your initial visit. Your provider may ask questions about family medical history, your childhood, any defining events in your life, current concerns, and current coping mechanisms. It is helpful to prepare for this visit by making notes about your experiences to share with your provider.
Observations: Your provider will also be paying attention to your functioning in a variety of settings to see how the environment might be influencing your behavior. For example, a child who is displaying antisocial behavior in social settings may be observed by the provider at a park in which they have the opportunity to interact with other children. This guides the assessment process by allowing your provider a clear picture of the issue in a natural setting.
Testing: Your provider may ask that you complete tests as part of the assessment process. The purpose of testing is to allow your provider to compare your functioning to others, thereby allowing them to assess what areas of concern there might be in a quantitative way. The benefit of testing is that it is objective and numbers-based, so your provider will have a clear yardstick by which to compare you to. For testing to be successful, be prepared to answer a variety of questions about yourself, including your beliefs, values and other things, as honestly as possible.