I offer assessment services for children, teens, and young adults to determine psychological diagnoses and recommendations for treatment. Often, families come in with a specific question such as, “Does my child have attention problems?” or “Why is my teen always angry?” With the use of clinical interviews, standardized assessments, questionnaires, and behavioral observations, I am able to provide a complete report detailing a person’s strengths and weaknesses.
what is psychological assessment?
A psychological assessment is often a critical component of one’s journey toward mental well-being. These evaluations provide information about a person’s cognitive, academic, executive, social, and emotional functioning. Psychological assessments are frequently used to evaluate for diagnoses such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Specific Learning Disability (SLD), or even to differentiate between different types of anxiety disorders.
What are the Benefits?
Psychological assessments are often a key that opens doors to multiple avenues of psychological treatment. This might include access to Section 504 or Special Education services at school, therapy, counseling, or psychiatric medication. These assessments are a great way to know more about what’s going on with a person’s brain, including their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
What are the steps involved in assessment?
STep 1 – Intake
The first step in a psychological assessment to complete intake paperwork. In any setting, it is useful for the evaluator to understand why you are requesting a psychological assessment and what diagnosis/es you might be concerned about. This paperwork is critical in helping me to know what questions to ask during the clinical interview.
The first appointment is a clinical interview or intake session, where I will ask questions about the problems or symptoms that you would like to be evaluated. This appointment always includes parents/guardians, and sometimes includes a pre-teen, teen, or young adult client. Siblings or other family members are welcome to provide input or simply play with the toys in my office! Often, I will ask why a family is seeking an assessment and what questions you would like for the assessment to address. I like to ask about specific symptoms, how long they have been happening, and in what environments/settings they are causing problems. I will also distribute questionnaires for parents and teachers (if applicable) at this appointment.
I ask for information from parents and teachers (in the form of clinical interviews and/or questionnaires) in order to measure symtoms across settings. In assessment, I aim to evaluate the full ecological system of each client. Often, psychological diagnoses require that certain symptoms appear in different settings. This allows a psychologist to rule out that the problem is linked to the environment exclusively.
step 2 – Psychological Assessment
At the next appointment, I will spend one-on-one time with the individual being evaluated. A typical assessment includes several hours completing cognitive, academic, and other tasks in order to compare the person being evaluated to others their own age. I often provide several self-report forms for the client to complete as well. This is the longest part of the psychologial evaluation, and takes a lot of brain power!
After the psychological evaluation is complete, a psychologist must score all of the measures and questionnaires. This helps compare the client’s performance and symptoms to other people their own age and developmental level. I usually take a few weeks to gather all of this informaiton and write a comprehensive report.
STep 3 – Feedback
The third and final appointment is the feedback meeting. I like to discuss the assessment results with parents and the client if they are old enough. I usually provide information about the client’s strengths and weaknesses, what diagnosis or diagnoses describe their current level of functioning, and what I recommend for next steps to improve symptoms. This is a great time to ask any questions about school-based services, outpatient therapy, home strategies, medications, or other resources.
Most families decide to share the psychological assessment report with their school, doctor, and/or other health care providers. This can assist with continuity of care, including access to services based on the report’s recommendations. When possible, I love being part of the follow-up after the report is complete!
If you’re interested in a psychological assessment and would like to use your health insurance coverage (including Medicare or Medicaid), please call Austin Child Guidance Center at 512-451-2242. I typically schedule intake appointments and psychological assessments on Tuesdays, but other providers are available on other days of the week.
If you’re interested in a psychological assessment and would like to use FSA/HSA money or pay privately, call Austin Anxiety & OCD Specialists at 512-246-7225. I have availability for intake appointments on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The longer assessment appointment typically takes place on a Friday.