What are psychological assessments?
Psychological assessments are the preliminary investigations for making a diagnosis; these can be equated to lab tests for physical illnesses. It involves questionnaires, checklists, and surveys among other ways of studying the symptoms, their severity, and improvement in symptoms. These are administered and interpreted by a trained mental health professional. These methods are standardized to make sure that they evaluate everyone on the same lines. While, some assessments are common screening tests, others are specific for certain illnesses.
Why do we need psychological assessments?
Just like medical examinations conducted to diagnose physical illnesses, psychological assessments are carried out to diagnose mental illnesses. They help understand the behavior, thought process, and functioning of an individual. Based on the outcome of the assessments, a treatment plan is designed. It is essential to answer each item in the assessment accurately for a precise diagnosis. This helps the mental health professional understand your needs correctly.
What are the types of psychological assessments?
Personality assessment: To understand a person’s basic personality traits; ways they cope during stress and their defenses
Neuropsychological assessment: Cognitive abilities like memory, language, and executive functions are measured
Intelligence tests: To obtain an intelligence quotient (IQ) and to rule out any retardation
Screening tests specifically designed for autism, ADHD, and specific learning disabilities
Projective testing: To tap into the unconscious and to understand defense mechanisms
Rating scales for various illnesses: To understand the severity of an illness and to monitor improvement with treatment
What to expect during psychological assessments?
The psychological assessments usually start with a clinical interview that may last from a few minutes to about an hour. This may be followed by written assessments. You may be expected to answer in yes or no, or select options that best suit you. There may also be assessments where you are expected to write descriptive answers.