A psychological assessment is an in-depth exploration of your or your child’s social, emotional, relational and behavioural functioning.
Why get a psychological assessment?
To identify diagnosable challenges related to emotional distress, including disorders in the realms of depression, anxiety, and trauma, and/or help you or your child attain better self-awareness and improve coping.
A diagnosis resulting from an assessment can be positively utilized as an explanation (though not an excuse) to better understand yourself and your behaviour (or that of your child), and to extend compassion and grace to yourself or your child in the midst of struggles.
An assessment also presents an opportunity to seek appropriate treatment following assessment, based on the approaches that are often helpful to people with similar struggles (referred to as evidence-based treatment), to learn skills to better cope with or manage symptoms, and/or to pursue insight-oriented personal growth.
In addition, diagnostic clarity may help you or your child qualify for funding and access to the best-suited services and supports.
The Assessment Process
The process begins with an intake interview, during which your or your child’s history and current functioning is reviewed. This helps to place any test results into a meaningful and understandable context. You or your child will then participate in some formalassessment activities, during which a variety of psychological tests are administered (some will be conducted like interviews, some may involve writing or looking at pictures or puzzles, and others will be symptom checklists).
It is also usually helpful if some checklists can be completed by observers (e.g., a parent/caregiver, teacher, employer, and/or spouse).
Once the results are compiled and interpreted, a feedback session is held, at which time the results are discussed with you, any applicable diagnoses are communicated, and personalized recommendations are offered (including treatment recommendations, as well as suggestions for settings such as home and school or work).
A detailed comprehensive report with the aforementioned information is also provided, which can be shared at yourdiscretion (e.g., with a school, physician, counsellor, employer, etc.). If a comprehensive report is not required, an assessment summary document can be provided (which would contain a summary of the assessment results, as well as any diagnoses and the related recommendations).
As an addendum to the assessment process, your assessor can assist with the completion of any forms deemed appropriate and necessary and requiring input from a healthcare professional (e.g., applications for short-term disability).