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What is Psychological Assessment

The goals of an assessment are (1) to gain a richer, deeper, and/or different understanding of a person’s thoughts, emotions, processing, behavior, and learning; and (2) to use that understanding to help the person be more comfortable, successful, and/or untroubled in daily life.

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A psychological assessment (also called a psychological evaluation) is one of many ways to learn about a person. Client-centered and individually-tailored, these assessments go beyond just identifying a specific disorder or disability. Utilizing scientifically-grounded and sensitively-delivered psychological testing procedures, we can gain a better sense of how a person’s mind works in-the-moment. The primary goal is to help people better understand a person’s needs and appreciate their psychological strengths.

The primary “product” people receive from a comprehensive psychological assessment is information. This is given both verbally and in the form of a detailed written report.

There are some components common to most psychological assessments we complete. These include:

  • A meeting between one of our psychologists and the person (or his/her parents), to discuss the developmental history, strengths, and the nature of current concerns [approximately 60 minutes].
  • Meetings between the psychologist and the person participating in the assessment, to complete psychological testing. This involves two (or more) sessions, each about three hours in length.
  • Interviews with teachers, therapists and/or other important people in the person’s life, if indicated.
  • Review of any relevant medical, mental health, and/or school records.
  • One or more debriefing meetings with the person participating in the assessment and/or with his/her parents.
  • Consultation with school personnel, treatment providers, or other people in the person’s life, if requested.

By integrating information from so many different sources, we are often able to gain a robust and sophisticated understanding of a person’s needs, gifts, and/or struggles.

If you are a caseworker or foster parent, the process by which we initiate psychological evaluation follows a slightly different protocol but the evaluation itself entails many of the same steps. Find out more about the protocol by visiting our page for Caseworkers.

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