Psychological tests are designed to assess for the presence of mental health disorders and personality disorders. These disorders can include (but are not limited to) the following disorders: major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, somatic symptom disorder, conversion disorder, substance use disorders, borderline personality disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, or any other mental health disorder that is referenced in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5th Edition. (This is the diagnostic guide that psychologists use to assess for mental disorders).
These evaluations can assist in treatment planning, legal proceedings, and medical treatment. In order to participate in treatment, it is essential to determine the correct presenting problem or diagnosis. If the treating provider does not have a correct understanding of diagnosis, then the treatment plan may not be as targeted and effective as it could be if the diagnosis had been clarified. This can lead to longer time in treatment, frustrations with treatment providers, and dissatisfaction with the treatment process. Understanding the complete “diagnostic picture” for an individual can lead to enhanced clarity when the treatment provider designs the treatment plan and collaborates with the individual to resolve the presenting symptoms.
There are also times when your lawyer may advise you to complete a psychological evaluation. This may happen as a result of custody proceedings, a criminal trial, filing for disability insurance, or a court order that requires you to take a psychological evaluation. We can provide evaluations for many of these situations (although insurance does not typically pay for evaluations that are required by the legal system). In addition, your medical provider may ask that you complete a psychological evaluation. This evaluation is usually requested so your medical provider can understand the psychological factors that contribute to your medical presentation. Medical providers often want diagnostic clarity before they proceed with certain components of medical treatment.
Psychological tests often consist of a clinical interview, an intelligence test, questionnaires to assess personality traits, and questionnaires to assess for various mental health diagnoses. The clinical interview is important to gather background information about the person being tested. Unless we have a thorough understanding of the person’s past and present history, we might mis-interpret the scores we gather from testing. An intelligence test is also administered, although you may wander at first glance what cognitive performance has to do with establishing a mental health diagnosis. Generally speaking, cognitive ability is not directly related to mental health diagnoses. However, it is often helpful to understand how mental health symptoms have impacted cognitive ability. For example, depression and anxiety can have a negative impact upon processing speed and working memory. Understanding these factors can help us better tailor a treatment plan to meet your specific needs. Further, personality testing and diagnostic measures are given to understand the mental health symptoms and personality traits that impact your functioning.
Psychological testing is designed to gather information regarding potential mental health disorders, so please be aware that these tests tend to focus on symptoms indicative of mental health disorders. Thus, when you read the summary of our reports you will notice we focus on these elements as opposed to a description of all of the positive elements of your personality. We want to emphasize that your personality is multifaceted, complex, and more richly comprised than our tests will be able to describe. There are some personality tests that do measure these positive aspects of personality (i.e. a test like the Myers-Briggs); however, the focus of our evaluation is to diagnose or rule out various mental health disorders. Lastly, psychological evaluations may last anywhere from four to five hours. Due to the length of this evaluation, and the sensitive information that you may disclose to the examiner, we recommend that you take breaks throughout the evaluation and inform the examiner if you need to pause or take time to manage your stress level.
Book an appointment where you’re comfortable to speak up in a professional environment. Contact the top-rated Colorado clinical psychologists at Brain & Body Integration today.