Psychological testing is the process of administering research-validated clinical tests that were designed to provide additional information about the psychological functioning and personality characteristics of an individual. Often in my practice a single-purpose test is administered, but a battery of several tests is available to shed light on the cause of symptoms and to guide the treatment.
Assessment is the process of synthesizing the results from all the tests administered, and providing an integrated interpretation of their meaning that takes into account all the results, and the potential limitations of each test. A proper assessment is always done within the context of the question being asked.
How can it help?
Although therapy clients occasionally request and pay for their own psychological testing and assessment, more frequently, the assessment process is initiated by a mental health professional or institution engaged in providing services to the client.
The assessment process can contribute to the therapy process in two main ways:
it can provide diagnostic clarification where the nature of the problem and course of action seem unclear and it can immeasurably aid the treatment planning process and shorten the time necessary for treatment. Assessment can also be used to get treatment back on track when it’s not satisfactorily effective.
What’s required in a competent provider of these services?
Most states require that a trained clinical psychologist provide these services, or at least supervise and take responsibility for their provision. There has been some controversy about this requirement in the mental health profession, which stems primarily from a misunderstanding of the sophistication and experience required.
Among mental health professionals, only psychologists are provided the training necessary as part of their doctoral training. Other mental health professionals receive specialized training in certain areas, just as psychologists do.
A testing technician can often be quickly trained via a manual or class to administer a particular test. But what becomes of the results? The synthesis and interpretation of the results, in a way that will be clinically helpful to the client, requires years of training, experience and a broad context of psychological experience not available to a testing technician.
What services does Dr. Greg provide?
I provide a full range of psychological assessment services primarily aimed at informing the diagnostic and treatment planning process for my clients. I also provide these services to mental health professionals or institutions on behalf of their clients, along with the consultation required to utilize the results.