Psychological Testing FAQ's
If you or a family member has been referred for psychological testing, you probably have some questions about what to expect. Or you may have heard about psychological testing and wonder if you or a family member should be tested. Psychological testing may sound intimidating, but it's designed to help you.
What is testing?
In many ways, psychological testing and assessment are similar to medical tests. If a patient has physical symptoms, a primary care provider may order X-rays or blood tests to understand what's causing those symptoms. The results of the tests will help inform and develop a treatment plan. Testing can be very helpful when a person has had an ongoing problem without a clear diagnosis, or when a new problem develops that is unclear in origin and has not responded well to treatment. With a clearer diagnosis, it is often possible to make recommendations for treatment and for daily living that are much more tailored to the person and the issues he or she is having.
Testing by a psychologist is used to assess a person’s overall strengths and weaknesses in terms of problem-solving and intellectual skills. It can help to assess a person’s level of functioning in terms of attention, memory, learning and language skills, organizational skills, and complex problem-solving. If a person is having problems at work or school, or in personal relationships, tests can help a psychologist understand whether he or she might have issues with anger management or interpersonal skills, or certain personality traits that contribute to the problem. Other tests evaluate whether clients are experiencing emotional disorders such as anxiety or depression.
What will we be doing?
We will start by doing an in-depth interview with you to get background information on the problem as well as your medical history, your educational and work history, and your current situation. If it is relevant, we will ask for copies of any past testing or other evaluations you have undergone. If it is relevant, we will also ask for permission to speak to other people who might be helpful in getting a fuller picture of your situation. You are free to provide this information or to exclude it from the evaluation. At the end of the interview, we will determine what tests we think need to be done and will give you an estimate for how long they will take.
Although it is different for each person, depending on the issue and the person’s working style, typically we will meet for several sessions of a few hours each to do the testing. It is helpful to see your performance over more than one day, and many people find it tiring to do all the testing in one session.
After the testing
When the testing is completed, I will score and analyze all the material. I will then write a report based on the work we have done together, as well as any background material you have provided. Assuming that you opt for a full report, the write-up will be an in-depth look at your situation and will include recommendations for treatment and/or daily living. Depending on the complexity of your situation, as well as my practice schedule, this report can take up to four weeks to complete. However, I try as much as possible to have it completed sooner than this.
As soon as the report is finished, I will contact you to set up a feedback session. During this session, we will go over the findings and I will share my recommendations with you. I will provide you with a copy of the report to keep, and we can discuss whether you want to give a copy to anyone else. After the feedback session, if you have questions regarding the report or anything related to your situation, you are always free to contact me to discuss.
Timeframe & Commitment
The testing process we have described above takes some time. It depends on the person and issue(s) involved, but generally, it can be an 8-10 hour time commitment for the testing itself, plus the initial interview and the feedback session. There is considerable additional time on my end, spent scoring and interpreting your results, integrating records, and writing the report.
It is important that you think about whether you feel comfortable making this commitment of time and money. My promise to you in return is that you will receive a respectful, in-depth look at the issue that brought you here, leading to either a clear diagnosis or a significant narrowing down of the potential causes. Either way, you will leave here with a clearer sense of what to do next.