What Happens During a Psychological Assessment?

Psychological symptoms are on the rise in America. According to the Mayo Clinic, roughly 44% of college students experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. With more people seeing a psychologist for assessment than ever before, due to the stresses of the pandemic and the early 2020s, many people are curious to know what happens during psychological assessments. In this blog, we will discuss psychological assessments in detail.

What Is a Psychological Assessment?

A psychological assessment is the process of evaluating a person’s mental health and functioning. A psychological assessment uses observations, standardized tests, interviews with third parties, and other methods. Psychological assessments are normally carried out by mental health practitioners, like psychologists or psychiatric nurse practitioners, and it’s used to determine both mental health conditions and appropriate treatment options, as well as to evaluate progress on a treatment plan.

Interviews With Close Associates

After a brief initial assessment where possible alternative diagnoses are formed in addition to the primary diagnosis that the patient presents for (assuming that someone isn’t just coming in for general issues), the assessment proper begins by presenting assessment papers to friends and family as well as a self-assessment. The assessments will measure executive function and discrepancies between self-perception and the perceptions of others.

Standardized Tests

After the interviews are conducted and any additional records, such as report cards, are gathered, the patient gets called back in. This usually takes between several days and a few weeks. The patient is then assessed with standardized tests to determine what is and what isn’t still an available diagnosis. For an ADHD assessment, a typical diagnostic series will include tests like ToVA and the WAIS intelligence series.

Symptom Assessments

After interviews and tests are made, the psychologist will assess the symptoms and find several psychological conditions that the symptoms match. This can be the hardest part of the assessment, especially when the symptoms don’t exactly fit the condition the patient presented for.

What Is a Differential Diagnosis?

What can be frustrating for many is that psychological assessments will usually not give a single definitive diagnosis in the first series. You will get a set of differential or “rule-out” diagnoses. You may get the diagnosis you sought ruled out. This is part of the diagnostic process.

Psychological assessments are crucial for mental health treatment. Contact us at Elements Psychological Services LLC today to schedule yours if you have concerns about yourself or a member of your family.