Many people will seek psychological testing as a means of clarity. For someone who has been diagnosed with multiple different mental illnesses, they often have many questions and want to know what mental health problem they are truly suffering from. This is very important information as diagnosis guides treatment.
When you and your mental health provider know what symptoms and problems are present, treatment is more likely to be targeted and effective.
I have worked with too many individuals who describe a plethora of mental illnesses they have been diagnosed with; sometimes these diagnoses stand, sometimes there are absolutely no indications the person has a particular diagnosis despite previously being given that label. Psychological testing is the most thorough and effective method to understanding the diagnostic picture, which ultimately means knowing what problems to treat and how to treat them effectively.
In addition to self-referrals, it is very common for other providers, such as psychiatrists, general practitioners, surgeons, or even attorneys, to suggest or require a psychological evaluation to obtain a firm diagnostic picture and appropriate treatment recommendations. Evaluations can also be used to validate one’s ability to tolerate and withstand emotional side effects and complications from elective surgical procedures; likewise, these evaluations often aim to ensure the patient understands the risks involved and that they are generally psychological prepared. Parents often seek psychological testing for their children, typically to assess for the presence of a learning disability, ADD or ADHD, or to assess whether their child is intellectually gifted.
There are other more nuanced and specific-purpose types of assessment; the overall aim of psychological assessment is to answer a question about a person through the means of objective and subjective psychological measures, clinical interviews, and collateral information. Testing can help to answer many different types of questions about a person’s psychological profile, their capacities, potential, strengths and weaknesses, readiness, recovery, etc.
Who to go to for Psychological Testing/Evaluation?
Psychologists receive education and training in three fundamental areas of mental health: evaluation and testing, psychotherapy, and research. However, psychological testing is what truly separates psychologists from all other mental health professionals (i.e., psychiatrists, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, social workers). No other type of mental health professional is as qualified (or plainly, at all qualified) to conduct psychological testing as are psychologists.
What are Other Purposes of Psychological Testing?
This answer is as diversified as the reasons for seeking testing. Below are some of the more common reasons why individuals seek psychological testing, as well as a description of what each type of testing aims to accomplish.
- Educational assessment (ADHD, ADD, LD, Gifted) – Testing that is conducted to determine whether an adult or child is considered to have gifted abilities, or has a learning disability or ADHD/ADD if experiencing scholastic or occupational difficulties.
- Diagnostic assessment – When an individual presents with a complex history and symptoms, psychological testing can help to determine and clarify diagnoses, which aids in the planning and administration of appropriate and effective treatment interventions.
- Personality assessment – Helps understand an individual’s personality, which is a complex combination of factors that impact the person’s interactions with themselves, others, and the world. Often completed through objective testing methods, which are empirically based measures deemed reliable and valid.
- PTSD/Trauma-specific assessment – Thorough assessment that can help determine whether an individual has been significantly impacted by trauma and/or meets diagnostic criteria for PTSD.
- (Elective) Surgical-procedure-specific assessment – Thorough assessment seeking to understand one’s intentions for obtaining the procedure, past attempts at remedying the problem in less invasive ways, understanding of potential risks and complications, emotional and cognitive barriers that may impede one’s ability to withstand negative consequences.
Psychological testing, also called psychological assessment, is a process of problem solving through the administration of tests and other procedures to help understand a person and their behavior, personality, and capabilities. It is used to best determine the core components of a person’s psychological or mental health problems, personality, IQ, or some other component. It can be a process that helps identify both one’s strengths and weaknesses, and it often helps provide clarity on an individual’s presenting difficulties. Psychological testing alone cannot predict future behaviors, but can often yield strong hypotheses about an individual’s cognitive, emotional, or behavioral tendencies.
We Can Help
Understanding your personality, life potential, strengths and weaknesses, and obtaining diagnostic clarity are some of the common reasons for undergoing psychological testing. Whatever your reason, give us a call to discuss your interest in receiving an evaluation. Dr. Barbash is a trained and licensed psychologist who is experienced in providing psychological testing. At Tampa Therapy, we are committed to providing a relaxing, healing, and non-judgmental environment to support you on your journey. If you want things to be different, you have to change them. Give us a call today to start the process of obtaining greater self-understanding and making important changes in your life.