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What is Psychological Assessment?

formal assessment involves at a minimum a clinical interview, psychological testing, and observation in order to make relevant conclusions and recommendations. However, other aspects may be involved, such as collateral interviews, document review, and in situ observation. The time and cost to complete a formal assessment varies, depending on the complexity and purpose of the case, but it may be possible to complete an interview and testing one week, and receive feedback the following week. Preparation of a written report may require additional time. 

More informal assessments occur when an individual is seeking answers about their personality or about a specific clinical issue and/or mental health functioning. An informal assessment may simply involve a thorough interview and testing, followed by a session booked to discuss the findings. 

The requests for formal assessments often stem from issues/questions raised by employers, schools/teachers, lawyers, and/or insurance companies. A formal assessment typically involves a written report with a psychodiagnostic formulation that responds to specific questions about clinical diagnosis, impairment, disability, prognosis, treatment/recommendations, need for/types of accommodation, planning, etc. There are many different types of psychological assessments. Some of the more common psychological assessments address issues related to Academic/Vocational Planning, Disability, Medical Rehabilitation, Return-to-work Planning, Immigration/Refugee Claim, WSIB/Workplace Injury, Motor Vehicle Accident Injury, and PTSD/Vicarious/Secondary Trauma.

Finally, the psychological assessments discussed above are not to be confused with the baseline and progress evaluation in psychotherapy, particularly with the first therapy session obtaining a description of the presenting issue and a review of pertinent background information. You can ask your therapist about objective assessment of progress over the course of your sessions, for example, measuring changes in anxiety or depression, or whether your relationship with your therapist is working. Ongoing progress evaluation allows you to see change over time and helps us adjust treatment to gain maximum benefit. 

Reach out now. Our Intake Coordinator will answer your questions about psychological assessment.