A Guide to Psychological Testing

Psychological evaluations can be a helpful component in obtaining information about an individual's learning style, behavior, or mental health diagnosis. A psychological evaluation may be recommended by a therapist, medical provider, or school staff working with the individual who is looking for a greater understanding of the individual's presenting concerns. Licensed psychologists (Ph.D, Psy.D, Ed.D) or interns under the supervision of licensed psychologists are the only professionals trained to administer and interpret psychological evaluations.

A psychological evaluation may consist of a variety of procedures ranging from standardized tests of cognitive functioning to projective tests of social-emotional functioning. The procedures are administered as part of a comprehensive evaluation, or battery, and should reflect the referral question(s). The tests and/or procedures may require the individual to answer questions, to solve puzzles or problems, or to tell stories. In addition to the measures listed above, the evaluator will interview the individual and/or parents to get a good history of the presenting concern(s), and may also use rating scales to gain information from the individual, his or her parents, and/or teachers on their perspective of the current issue(s).

Results from psychological evaluations help the evaluator develop individualized recommendations to foster improvements in the area(s) of concern. These recommendations may help individuals and families make informed decision about the treatments or accomodations may be most helpful to the individual. Recommendations may also allow therapists working with the individual to adjust the therapeutic approach or treatment plan, and may assist educators in making adjustments in order to maximize the individual's learning potential in an academic setting.

Many health insurance plans cover a percentage of the fee for neuropsychological testing, however, prior authorization for testing may be needed. If you have questions about coverage, contact your health insurance company to better understand your mental health benefits.

Please see the following resources for more information:

From the American Psychological Association: Understanding Psychological Testing and Assessment

From Psych Central: What is Psychological Assessment?