Psychological assessment is a process of testing which uses a combination of techniques to help arrive at an interpretation about a person and their behavior, personality and capabilities. It involves the collection and integration of information from multiple sources in order to assess a person’s functioning in various domains, generate a diagnosis, evaluate capacity or competency, and offer treatment recommendations. Information is collected from a clinical interview, mental status exam, tests of personality, inventories of symptomatology, and tests of ability or intelligence. Information may also be collected about personal, occupational, or medical history from records or interview with other person who know the individual.
* Specialized clinical tests measure specific symptoms such as ADHD, anxiety, or depression. Clinical diagnostic testing measures specific behaviors and other clinical symptomatology relevant to psychiatric functioning. It provides diagnosis clarification, usually in regard to Axis I rule outs.
* Neuropsychological tests measure impairments in cognitive functioning (i.e., abilities to attend, learn, remember, think, speak, plan, reason, etc.) that may result from organic brain damage. This damage can be the result of external injuries (e.g., closed head injury), internal injuries (e.g., CVA), or organic deterioration resulting from genetic, developmental, psychiatric, or geriatric problems. For example, in treatment planning, it is important to differentiate changes in functioning due to depression, normal age-related memories declines, and dementias. This category of testing is usually distinguished from cognitive or IQ testing in that the intention is to determine if there are any specific strengths or weaknesses in brain functioning, typically following suspicion of brain injury or developmental delays. It can be used to provide information about possible brain trauma that is too slow or subtle to chow up on imaging such as a CT or MRI.
*Intelligence testing/cognitive screening measures the basic ability to understand the world, assimilate its functioning, and apply this knowledge. Intelligence is a measure of potential, not knowledge. The primary domains of intelligence commonly evaluated are verbal and performance measures. It is often used to provide an IQ score in order to diagnosis Cognitive Disability (formerly referred to as Mental Retardation). From a therapeutic perspective, it can also be helpful to gain an estimate of cognitive function in order to determine if a person’s current treatment goals are appropriate. Insurance companies will not usually reimburse for this type of testing for children that are enrolled in school. In general, it is expected that this testing will be done at school instead, though there are sometimes exceptions. They will sometimes reimburse for adults, as long as there is a medically necessary rational for the testing, and not just curiosity. It is different from Neuropsychological testing in that its purpose is not to determine memory difficulties or specific impairments in brain functioning, but rather overall cognitive potential.
* Achievement and aptitude tests are often used in educational settings, in an attempt to measure either how much you know about a topic such as math or spelling, or the capacity to master material in a particular area.
* Occupational tests help match your interests
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