A psychological evaluation consists of a series of tests and assessments that seeks to determine a persons’ psychological functioning. The goal of the evaluation is to ensure that an accurate picture of your psychological processes is created, that a complete diagnosis is provided when appropriate, and that the treatment plan is influenced by objective data.
What Does a Psychological Evaluation Consist of?
While there are a variety of techniques for performing a psychological evaluation, every assessment process will look different depending on the psychologist completing the psychological evaluation and the concerns presented. In general, you can expect the following things when participating in a psychological evaluation:
An interview is one of the most important parts of the psychological evaluation process, it gives the psychologist the chance to learn about your background, concerns, and current and past functioning. This is usually the first part of the psychological evaluation process and will be completed during your initial visit. The psychologist 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 psychologist.
The psychologist will also pay attention to your functioning in a variety of settings to see how the environment might influence your behavior. For example, a child who is displaying antisocial behavior in social settings may be observed by the psychologist at a park in which there is the opportunity to interact with other children. This guides the psychological evaluation by allowing your psychologist a clear picture of the issue in different settings.
Your psychologist is likely to ask that you complete tests as part of the psychological evaluation process. The purpose of testing is to allow your psychologist to compare your functioning to others, thereby allowing her/him to assess what areas of concern there might be in a quantitative way. The benefit of testing is that it is objective, standardized, and norms-based. Be prepared to answer a variety of questions about yourself, including your beliefs, values and other things, as honestly as possible.