A Psychological Assessment is conducted in order to properly diagnose someone with a psychological disorder or determine risk, capacity and or current functioning. There are several parts to an assessment, all of which are equally important. The process starts off with an interview, and then can continue on with an observation before tests are administered.

There are two main types of interviews that can be conducted, and three aspects that are observed while the interview is taking place. An unstructured interview consists of open ended questions. The person being evaluated is allowed to lead the conversation, which takes on a natural course as questions are asked when a lull occurs. The opposite of this is a structured interview. These interviews contain plenty of predetermined questions that are answered with either a yes or no, or a “sometimes, maybe, definitely, never” line of answers. Background history questionnaires are frequently also used. While the interview is taking place, the assessor may look for signs that the interviewee is being cooperative, picking up non-verbal cues in his or her speech, and closely watching to see how forthcoming he or she is being. It is best to be open, honest and transparent during the assessment process as lying or being deceitful may come back to the interviewee at a later date and backfire on them as assessments tend to rely on the building of trust and honesty for good validity and reliability of results.

After or during the interview, a behavioral observation is completed. This part of the assessment is similar to watching for non-verbal habits while the interview is taking place, except for the fact that is pays less attention to the speaking habits and more on the general behaviors of the person being evaluated. Some of the things that the assessor looks for include whether or not he or she is sitting still, paying attention to his or her overall attitude towards the evaluation process, and whether or not eye contact is made.

Once the interview and behavioral observations are complete, then the clinical testing begins. There are many tests that can be given, and the state of the assessment thus far will determine which ones should be given. Some examples of the tests that make up this step include the MMPI-2, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale or Wechsler Individual Achievement Testing to name a few. Each one tests for different things, such as personality, intelligence or ability.

The results of all three sections of the assessment will be used in order to determine the correct diagnosis and course of treatment.

If you or a loved one are struggling with what you believe is a psychological disorder, please do not hesitate to contact Insight Psychological today and set up an appointment with one of our trained staff members.

Author's Bio: 

Cory Hrushka, M.A., R. Psych., C.S. D.S.T. is a Registered Psychologist, Diplomate of Sex Therapy/Sex Therapist and is the Executive Director of Calgary, Edmonton, and Red Deer Alberta based Insight Psychological.