A psychological assessment is conducted for the purpose of determining the presence of a psychological disorder (e.g., PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Dependence, etc.) as well as provide an understanding of other factors effecting functioning, including personality and interpersonal functioning. A psychological assessment involves assessing a wide array of possible mental disorders beyond the individual's particular complaints in order to rule out other possible explanations for symptoms. This process is referred to as differential diagnosis – making a determination regarding which disorder the individual has in light of a complex array of symptoms. Misdiagnosis can lead to incorrect treatment recommendations and hamper recovery. A psychological assessment can also involve an evaluation of cognitive functioning to a limited degree. A more thorough evaluation of cognitive functioning is conducted in the context of a neuropsychological assessment. A diagnostic assessment may be sought for a specific purpose during the course of an insurance or disability claim or as part of a court ordered evaluation.
The individual is interviewed and completes questionnaires. Information is also gained by reviewing medical documents and talking with collateral sources (e.g., family, friends). Psychological testing provides an additional perspective on the information gained from the interview and other sources. A referral for a psychological assessment may also include evaluation of chronic pain when due to personal injury. The length of the evaluation depends on the complexity of the case and the questions being asked by the referral source, but usually takes a day to complete.
Psychological and Neuropsychological Assessment Services