Psychological Assessments Are Used To Help Explain Behavior.
Often, such assessments are the ONLY means of understanding and explaining behavior.
And psychologists have many, MANY tests from which to choose. A brief description of the categories of test available are noted below.
General Psychological Assessments
There are many types of assessments, each one focused on the different requirements of an individual, group and circumstance, but every such assessment is a variation of a psychological assessment. Psychological assessments tend to be understood as falling into two broad categories – Cognitive assessments and Behavioral assessments.
Cognitive evaluations are psychological assessments which tend to focus more on how an individual’s brain function (that’s the ‘cognitive’ or ‘thinking’ part) interacts with that person’s behavior. Cognitive testing is often also called a Neuropsychological Assessment – and we do that. This type of testing is often called for when there are concerns about someone’s memory, ability to reason rationally or understand others.
Behavioral evaluations are psychological assessments which tend to focus more on how an individual is interacting with his or her environment and how they are functioning in the real world. The emphasis here is on the emotions, attitudes, habits and other “behaviors” that everyone exhibits. In truth, every good psychological assessment focuses on both behavior and cognition to some extent because we are all thinking, feeling and experiential human beings. How we think, feel and experience is what comprises our psychological makeup. That is, we are all psychological beings and we interact with the world psychologically, not just physically.
What follows is a brief summary of only some of the types of assessments available. Scroll down to the bottom for examples of how different assessments may be beneficial.
Categories of Psychological Assessments
Before any psychological treatment or remediation can begin, it’s important to understand the nature of the problem or difficulty. A psychological assessment is the necessary first step in determining the strengths and weaknesses in an individual’s functioning when that functioning has been called into question, either by displaying actions that are unexpected or by not displaying actions that are expected, in a given circumstance or environment.
Individual Psychological Assessments
Psychological assessments involve the observation, measurement and evaluation of an individual’s or organization’s adaptive functioning in the modern world. Assessments are used to assess the developmental, behavioral, academic, psychological, neuropsychological and personality functioning of infants, children, adolescents and adults in a wide variety of circumstances ranging from career counseling to marriage compatibility, school performance to job performance, normative to criminal behavior, and competence to guardianship.
There are literally thousands of psychological assessments available and all such assessments must be done by experienced, licensed and credentialed professionals to ensure that such assessments are not accidentally or deliberately misused to provide false or misleading information. We focus on the appropriate psychological assessment of infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, adults and seniors. We can do this because we have developmental view of individuals over their lifespan.
Group and Organizational Assessments
Psychological assessments may be conducted on the functioning of an individual, family or group. Examples of group assessments include assessments of public organizations such as schools, government agencies, non-profits and nursing homes as well as small-medium sized family-owned private businesses and typically focus on how to make the group or organization function better to meet its goals in dealing with customers, students, employees, vendors and contractors.
Sometimes, the question of a person’s psychological functioning becomes a matter that involves the legal system, including the Probate, District or Superior Courts. Psychological Assessments done for use in the Courts are commonly referred to as Forensic Assessments. Such issues may involve competency, drug or alcohol abuse, divorce, juvenile matters, CHINS, allegations of child or elder abuse, domestic violence, being arrested or other issues.
Behavioral & Health Assessments
Common uses of such assessments include “health” behaviors such as smoking, obesity, eating disorders and other maladaptive behaviors which compromise an individual’s health. In general, we are able to assist physicians and staff with evaluation and management of patients with dementia, sleep disorders, ADD, anxiety, panic, depression and the like. We are also able to offer cognitive and psychological tests such as Digits, Pegboard, Stroop, Trails, WAIS/WISC series, BNT, MMPI/MCMI and a host of other measurements and procedures for use in medical and forensic evaluation and management of patients and clients in a private practice atmosphere.
We assess and treat children, including very young children, who have serious medical issues, such as bed-wetting or encopresis, failure to thrive, diabetes. obesity and general non-compliance issues with following the treatment advice from their Primary Care Providers (PCPs). We also assess and treat adolescents, including those with Eating Disorders, cutting disorders and other self-injurious behaviors (SIB), and we also assess and treat adults and senior family members, including seniors, whether living at home with their families or in assisted or skilled-care facilities or rehab setting and who may have emotional or cognitive declines or competency or self-care issues.
We Take A Developmental Approach
We have a Lifespan Developmental focus on the functioning of children, adolescents, adults and seniors, which means that we recognize that functioning over one’s lifespan is truly developmental in nature and grows over time, building on previous experiences and biopsychosocial functioning. A special area of focus in on the assessment of very young children, aged 5 and under.
Psychological, neuropsychological and personality assessments can be used in a multiplicity of ways and can be loosely grouped in the following areas: Psychological assessments are multi-dimensional and are useful in a wide variety of personal, academic and institutional or organizational needs.
Listed below are examples of how Psychological Assessments can be helpful.
Academic and School Applications
Play is the work of childhood. School is the workplace of childhood and young adulthood. How children make the transition from play to workplace is a vital part of socialization and maturity in the modern world. And it’s no doubt true that many youngsters never accommodate or assimilate very well to the needs of growing up and effectively functioning in an adult world. When teachers or parents or physicians suspect such a problem, it is appropriate to refer for a psychological evaluation to make sure no problem or difficulty exists in an area of functioning that prevents us from succeeding.
The results of a psychological evaluation in any of these or other areas could result in the legal requirement that a school needing to develop perhaps an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to remediate academic problems for a particular child, or perhaps offer a different plan of remedial action under the law known as a Section 504 Plan to help a child or adolescent learn better. Evaluations of common problem areas include:
Shyness and social skills delays or disability.
Learning Disabilities and Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities.
Independent Evaluations for 504 and Chapter 766/Special Education.
Second Opinions about parent-school conflicts or behavior issues.
Independent Assessment of Developmental Disabilities, birth defects, Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome (now part of the Autistic Spectrum), PDD.
General academic, psychological and neuropsychological exams.
Second Opinions regarding the appropriateness of 504 plans and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)
Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs).
Clinical and Professional Applications
Not every psychotherapist does psychological assessments. In general, every treatment plan should be based on an evaluation of the psychological functioning on the individual BEFORE treatment begins and should include follow-up evaluations should the condition worsen or change to be sure the treatment is on the right track. In addition to health assessments for medical personnel, psychological assessments can also be done to address a wide range of psychotherapeutic issues. below are some examples.
Development and attachment issues in very young children.
Memory, attention and cognitive functions in adults and seniors.
Assessment of personality.
Assessment of functional behavioral disorders.
Memory impairment due to anxiety, trauma or other issues.
Treatment Plan Reviews and Second Opinions.
Workplaces and Organizational Applications
These types of psychological evaluations are evaluations of groups. Examples of group assessments include assessments of public organizations such as schools, government agencies, non-profits and nursing homes as well as small-medium sized family-owned private businesses. Such evaluations typically focus on how to make the group or organization function better to meet its goals in dealing with its own employees, customers, students, vendors and contractors.
Sometimes, business and group functions are interrupted due to maladaptive behavior either within the group or work setting by members of the group itself, including management, or by events outside the group that impact the group or workplace functioning. Sometimes, such maladaptive behavior or functioning is grounds for legal action. Some examples of such events include evaluations of:
Hostile workplace environment.
Residual workplace trauma due to catastrophe, workplace violence or natural disaster.
After The Assessment, What Come Next?
Clinical therapeutic services that help individuals overcome obstacles, exceed expectations, change or enhance behavior, remediate learning or behavior problems and develop new habits – that’s what comes next!
Our Behavioral Health Care clinical services help provide restoration of function, remediation of problems and improve the quality of life in a sometimes difficult world. There are a huge variety of clinical psychological services available from different providers. We focus on specialized primary behavioral care services, which include behavioral medicine applications, cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and play therapy for children, and other specialized treatments to help restore functioning and improve the quality of someone’s life.
We are a psychological and behavioral health services practice specializing in issues that affect children of all ages and the people and institutions with whom they interact. This includes school, colleges, Courts, governmental organizations and other health care and social service providers and agencies. We provide services to children, including very young children with medical issues; adolescents, including those with Eating Disorders and cutting disorders or other Self-Injurious Behaviors (SIB); and adults, including seniors already living in assisted facilities, rehab or other settings or who may have cognitive declines, competency or self-care issues while still living at home with their families.
Most commonly we provide psychological assessments, clinical behavioral services and professional education to parents, school and medical personnel and other agencies interacting with children and families and by focusing on the following areas in working with children, adolescents and adults. A special area of focus is with children aged 5 and under.
Adults need not involve other family members in their treatments, of course. But when treating adults, it is important to examine the impact of all interactions on the adult’s functioning, including the stresses and benefits of job, family, friendships, spirituality or religion, and hobbies. Our programs emphasize short-term, outcome -oriented treatment designed to improve, remediate and restore functioning.
We are able to assist physicians and staff with evaluation and management of patients with dementia, sleep disorders, ADD, anxiety, panic, depression and the like. We are also able to offer cognitive and psychological tests such as Digits, Pegboard, Stroop, Trails, WAIS/WISC series, BNT, MMPI/MCMI and a host of other measurements and procedures for use in medical and forensic evaluation and management of patients and clients in a private practice atmosphere.
Research regarding Behavioral Medicine indicates that many major health problems, including heart conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic pain, migraine headaches, and other problems are responsive to behavioral as well as medical intervention, In fact, it has been estimated that as much as 60-70% of visits to medical offices are for behavioral health concerns rather than medical issues.
Treatable conditions include habit disorders, stress-related disorders, coping with medical illness and recovery, work-related behavior problems, trauma recovery, anxiety, panic and other problems.
It is not necessary to stop other treatments before using behavioral health care. Behavioral Care Providers (BCPs) frequently consult to pediatricians, internists, cardiologists, primary care providers (PCPs) and other physicians, therapists and health care providers about how to help their patients improve treatment compliance and to recover and mange their health.
Child and Adolescent Services
Childhood is often not an easy time for children or parents. Even the strongest of families can experience stress, academic concerns or family problems which can combine to impact a child’s teenager’s or adult’s ability to cope and many problems that children experience can be beyond a parent’s ability to remedy without professional help.
Some of these problems include attention and organizational problems, separation, divorce and custody issues, disruptive behavior disorders, academic and school problems, bladder and bowel incontinence, bullying, trauma and other conditions. When addressing child and adolescent issues, the family is often a necessary part of the treatment process. With older children, of course, the family’s involvement becomes more limited.
Consciously raising kids while balancing the demands of life, work and family relationships is challenging, rigorous, sometimes hilarious, frequently joyful and often puzzling. Our goal is to help parents and others involved in the lives of children understand what influences and drives behavior and learn what may work to increase more positive behavior and reduce problematic behavior.
What differentiates us is that our approach to clinical, behavioral and therapeutic services takes a Life-Span Developmental approach, and is (w)holistic, family-oriented, and based on positive psychology.