June 6, 2018

Recognizing a Good Psychological Evaluation

Mental health practitioners use psychological evaluations to assess emotional and behavioral concerns. The purpose of assessment is to gain the knowledge needed to guide treatment options.

Objectives of an Evaluation

Truth be told, a professional psychological evaluation is costly. You should always know what you are getting into before committing. Understand the purpose, objectives, structure, and content of the assessment, skills, and experience of the mental health examiner and the utility of the report. Basically, a psychological evaluation is not intended to label a subject for life. This is just one piece of a huge puzzle at a specific period.

Purpose of Assessment

In addition, the purpose of assessment is to answer targeted questions. Psychologists call these questions “rule outs”. A psychological evaluation should include a battery of tests to eliminate the presence of certain conditions and disorders. For example, to rule out a learning disorder, an individual will be given achievement and intelligence tests. All rule outs should be noted at the start.

A Skilled Evaluator Will Analyze and Synthesize All Data

A skilled evaluator will assess how an individual perceives the world through a customized battery of tests and data analysis. There are common norms found across the board in human behavior. But individuals have unique patterns of emotion and distinct characteristics. An experienced psychological evaluator can decipher all the data and reach a high level of meaning.

Quality evaluations provide treatment recommendations specific to the person’s needs that are mapped out in the report. For instance, a student diagnosed with ADD will be given recommendations specific to the child’s experience with ADD in school.

5 Characteristics of a Good Evaluation

  • A battery of comprehensive psychological tests designed with rule outs
  • A concise data-specific presentation
  • An explanation of how all the data fits together
  • Treatment recommendations that incorporate all the above
  • It should be a malleable tool that practitioners can use to develop treatment plans and interventions

A well done psychological evaluation used in the proper context can uncover hidden causes of mental and emotional problems. The result is better treatment options.