A psychological assessment provides an in depth understanding of a person’s cognitive, social, and/or emotional difficulties, and helps lay the groundwork for a plan to improve those difficulties. In some cases, an assessment will result in a diagnosis of a learning, attention, mental health or developmental disorder. At your request, the results of an assessment can be shared with a doctor, school or insurance company.
Psychological assessments can be conducted at any age, although the nature of the questions asked, and the answers obtained, depends on the client’s age and the nature of their difficulties.
The referred client will attend 3-6 appointments; the number of appointments will vary depending on the client’s age and needs. Assessments of young children involve greater involvement from parents (e.g., interviews, completing questionnaires). In the case of child assessment, your psychologist will request to interview your child’s teacher, and may also need to observe your child in a natural setting (e.g., at school or daycare).
Following the formal assessment period (i.e., interviews, observations, questionnaires, & testing), your psychologist will study all the information, and will get a picture of the situation. This picture is called the clinical formulation, or the explanation of the client’s difficulties. Clinical formulations are based on psychological theory and research, they offer an opinion about the cause and nature of the difficulties and they lead to specific treatment recommendations. The psychologist will meet with you to go over the results and recommendations. You will also receive a written report summarizing all of the information.