A psychological assessment can include numerous components such as norm-referenced psychological tests, informal tests and surveys, interview information, school or medical records, medical evaluation and observational data. A psychologist determines what information to use based on the specific questions being asked. For example, assessments can be used to determine if a person has a learning disorder, is competent to stand trial or has a traumatic brain injury.
“Recent research has shown that many mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and certain personality disorders, as well as cognitive and behavioral impairments, may result from disturbances in brain functioning. As a result, techniques for evaluating brain function as it relates to these problems have gained wide use in the mental health field.”
The benefits for the patient are also significant when completing psychological testing. The interview and test process engages and empowers; it communicates a genuine respect for the patient and has them as an integral part of the process rather than just the ‘subject’ of an assessment. Testing lends legitimacy to an assessment process. Apart from objectivity, it also fosters rapport-building with patients in the form of a joint understanding and decisions on interventions or treatments.