Psychological Testing

Psychological Testing


What is Psychological Testing?

Psychological testing involves the use of standardized measures to diagnose mental health disorders and understand your symptoms. Tests can be used to gain information about your emotional functioning, attention, memory, learning abilities, personality traits, and more. The goal for each evaluation can be unique, but basic purposes for testing services include evaluating the need for treatment, planning treatment, determining the effect of interventions, and determining the appropriateness of access to community resources, among other purposes.

A Variety of Methods

An evaluation involves much more than administering psychological tests. As no test is perfect, your results are interpreted in the context of your history, information collected during interviews, observations made by your examiner, and more.

A Variety of Tests

Psychological tests are administered in a variety of ways. In some situations, your examiner might walk you through performance-based tests to determine how you are able to demonstrate cognitive abilities, attention capacity, or memory skills. Such tests might be conducted in a one-on-one setting, through the interaction with the examiner. Or, in some cases, computerized tests can be helpful to produce this information. Questionnaires, or test inventories, might be used to obtain your report about the significance or frequency of symptoms. Gaining similar reports from others (family members or associates) who describe your functioning might also be used, when this is available.

The Power of Psychological Tests

When you have completed your tests, your examiner can score the responses and compare the results to a sample population. Doing this can help to shed light on the significance of your symptoms and guide your examiner’s understanding of your mental health; your examiner can integrate your testing results with other information collected in the process to interpret what is causing your symptoms. At times, testing results can give clues about when additional information is necessary to make further decisions about your treatment.

What to Expect During Testing

It is common not to know exactly what to expect in a psychological evaluation. For this reason, we work to share information about the process from the beginning, in the initial phone consultation, and all along the way. In the phone consultation, you would be informed about the purpose of testing, the timeline, pricing information, and more.

After the Phone Consultation

Once a first testing appointment is chosen, you will be provided with information about your specific evaluation, the location of your appointment, and other information. We try to be sensitive to those in need of additional help and we aim to give treatment referrals when it is appropriate.

What Testing Looks Like

Psychological testing involves a variety of tasks. Most of the tasks are administered in a one-on-one setting and can include interviewing, computer testing, and completing questionnaires. In the case of a minor completing testing, a parent interview is included. If needed, and if the proper permissions are obtained, it can often be helpful to obtain information from other individuals who can provide information.

If you are uncomfortable with any of the methods in which data is collected or if you have a functional limitation (e.g., a physical disability or medical condition) that may compromise effort or performance, it can be helpful to make these issues known to your examiner.  

Most testing sessions last for two to three hours and some evaluation types involve multiple sessions. We can always seek to be flexible with your schedule in the process.  

It is important that for every testing session, the individual being tested feels ready to perform their best and answer questions openly. Breaks are essential in the testing and we work to vary the tasks to keep the process progressing. Snacks and cold drinks are available during the administration.

Receiving the Report and Feedback

After testing is completed, it can take some time to score the results, analyze the results, and create a written report. The written report communicates the nature of the evaluation, the results of the measures administered, the diagnoses (if any), and recommendations.

You may notice that during the testing, feedback about the results is not given; this is purposeful as we aim to not introduce any undue bias to the testing process. It is common to have questions about the testing results during the administration, but the time for receiving feedback is when all the results have been processed. After the written report is completed, you would meet with your examiner to discuss the results. These sessions usually last 40 minutes to an hour and include an explanation of what the results mean and how symptoms can be treated. As you undertake any additional review of your report after the feedback session, we aim to be available to you should it be helpful to clarify any of the analysis or to provide additional ideas of outside resources.


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