What Is a Psychological Assessment?

At the beginning of your therapy process, you might hear that you or a loved one needs a psychological assessment.
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At the beginning of your therapy process, you might hear that you or a loved one needs a psychological assessment. But what exactly is this process, and how important is it to recovery? A large part of any mental health diagnosis is the information gathered from a psychological assessment. Let’s take a look at these evaluations and how they can help provide the outline for any recovery process.

Understanding Psychological Assessments

Performed by psychologists, a psychological assessment is often seen as the first step in your recovery from a mental illness. In order to diagnose the problems plaguing your mind, mental health professionals must get a glimpse of the signs, symptoms, and other factors affecting your life. Most evaluations consist of tests and assessments, which can be anything from surveys, interviews, observational information, medical evaluations, and history at work or school.

Why Are Psychological Assessments Performed?

Psychological assessments aim to decipher each individual’s next steps in recovering from mental health conditions. As stated by the American Psychological Association (APA), evaluations collect data on emotions, thoughts, and actions to determine a practical course of treatment.[1] They’re often compared to getting a diagnosis in a hospital when you’ve been feeling dizzy or lightheaded or feel pain somewhere in your body.

Additionally, these assessments can give a clearer picture of the individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and cognitive abilities. Psychologists also use assessments periodically to track progress during the recovery process and make any adjustments as necessary. Finally, they’re beneficial to families and loved ones as well, giving them a clearer picture of what the patient might be dealing with.

How do you know you might need a psychological evaluation? Here are some signs a psychological assessment might be necessary to pursue a diagnosis:

  • Mood changes
  • Sleep habit changes
  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty concentrating throughout the day
  • Difficulty following daily routines
  • Lacking interest in hobbies and activities you once enjoyed

Types of Psychological Tests

There are various psychological tests — a necessity considering everyone’s situation is different. These tests provide plenty of information and context for doctors and medical experts to come to an effective conclusion. They include:

  • Intelligence tests
  • Neuropsychological tests
  • Diagnostic measurement tools
  • Personality tests
  • Clinical observation

It’s important to remember the need to distinguish the tests from the actual assessment. As many psychologists state, tests are simply a means of collecting information to perform a proper assessment.[2] Noting this difference helps clarify what you can expect before, during, and after the test.

What to Expect When Seeing a Psychologist

You can expect to spend a few hours at a facility completing tests, interviews, or other information-gathering methods. Clients usually take tests independently, but there are follow-ups with psychologists. Additionally, remember that psychological tests and assessments aren’t graded on a pass/fail basis, on a curve, or like any other test you’ve taken in school. You can’t study for them, nor should you want to. Instead, they’re meant to give a clear and accurate diagnosis of your mind and body, so make sure you or a loved one isn’t stressing over the test. The most crucial part is that you see your psychologist with an open mind, which will help to find the most appropriate evidence-based therapies for your condition.

Psychological Assessments Are an Important Part of Recovery — Find What You Need with Clearview Treatment Center

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, a psychological assessment is a significant part of the process and can help diagnose the problems at hand. But that’s only part of the process. The next steps involve getting proper care, and you can get that from qualified treatment facilities like Clearview Treatment Center. Explore our treatment programs and gain detailed insight into how we can provide the flexible support system you need. Contact us today or give Clearview a call at 866-339-3544 for more detailed information.




[1] https://www.apa.org/topics/testing-assessment-measurement/understanding

[2] https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-a-psychological-evaluation#test-vs-assessment

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