Updated: Jan 11, 2021
Psychological testing is a useful tool to provide a more comprehensive understanding of an individual and provide valuable insights into the individual's behavior, skills, thoughts and personality. This thorough investigation provides clarity and leads to accurate diagnosing, targeted treatment recommendations and more effective therapeutic outcomes.
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.
Almost all psychological testing is administered by a licensed psychologist (or trainee under supervision of a licensed psychologist) and is a formal process that requires extensive training and expertise. Psychologists are the only professionals that are expertly trained in administering and interpreting psychological tests.
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 – Structured interviews with the client, caregivers, teachers, and other individuals familiar with the client. Interviews allow observation of social abilities, language processing, and communication skills as well provide comprehensive background and historical information.
Norm-Referenced Measures – These are tests that are standardized (“normed”) over clearly defined groups with representative characteristics of age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or other features. These tests allow us to compare the client we are assessing with a broader group for accurate comparison
Behavioral Observations – Observing the client’s behavior during the assessment
Informal Assessment Procedures – These adjuncts supply supplementary information to support formal test procedures and may include things such as school records, standardized test scores (SAT/ACT), medical records, informal background questionnaires, and personal documents.
Includes a thorough examination of all areas of functioning to provide an accurate diagnosis
Customized to referral request/question/purpose of testing
Includes structured clinical interview with client and additional interviews with caregivers, teachers, loved ones as needed
Cognitive, social, emotional and personality testing
Comprehensive report with diagnosis and treatment recommendations provided during feedback session with client and relevant parties
Pinpoints cognitive strengths and weaknesses
Provides overview of intelligence and areas for growth
Helps inform recommendations for treatment interventions and academic/occupational accommodations if needed
Assesses for mood disorders and personality disorders
Delivers clear and definitive mental health diagnosis
Informs treatment approach to be targeted to specific issues
Provides recommendations for all areas of a client’s life to improve functioning