At Advanced Counseling and Testing Solutions, we conduct Psychological Testing and Evaluations for many reasons, ranging from an individual needing an exact diagnosis to ADHD evaluations in Lancaster, PA, and Reading, PA. There are many reasons why an evaluation and/or direct psychological testing is necessary or requested. As you know, "Testing Solutions" is in our name, and we aim to do just that. We are here to provide an expert evaluation that will give you a precise diagnosis and elucidate your strengths and weaknesses. We will provide you or your referral source with precise and effective recommendations. We have skilled clinicians that are experienced and capable of any questions you may have. Our services are delivered promptly, meeting specified time frames in our Lancaster, PA, and Wyomissing, PA offices.
If you need an evaluation, we are your best choice in Lancaster, PA and Reading, PA. We also have clients that drive a great distance to be tested by our Evaluators. Come to see why we are one of the fastest growing practices in Lancaster, PA, and Wyomissing, PA!
If you or a family member is interested in or referred for psychological testing, you probably have 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.
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.
Psychological evaluations serve the same purpose. Psychologists use tests and other assessment tools to measure and observe a client's behavior to arrive at a diagnosis and guide treatment.
Psychologists administer tests and assessments for a wide variety of reasons. For example, children experiencing difficulty in school may undergo aptitude testing or tests for learning disabilities. Tests for dexterity, reaction time, and memory skills can help neuropsychologists diagnose conditions such as brain injuries or dementia.
If a person is having problems at work or school or in personal relationships, tests can help a psychologist understand whether they 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.
The underlying cause of a person's problems isn't always clear. For example, if a child is having trouble in school, do they have a reading problem such as dyslexia? An attention problem such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? Difficulty with impulse control? Psychological tests and assessments allow a psychologist to understand the nature of the problem and figure out the best way to address it.
Tests and Assessments
Tests and assessments are two separate but related components of a psychological evaluation. Psychologists use both tools to help them arrive at a diagnosis and a treatment plan.
Testing involves the use of formal tests such as questionnaires or checklists. These are often described as “norm-referenced” tests. That simply means the tests have been standardized so that test-takers are evaluated similarly, no matter where they live or who administers the test. For example, a norm-referenced test of a child's reading abilities may rank that child's ability compared to other children of similar age or grade level Norm-referenced tests have been developed and evaluated by researchers and proven to be effective for measuring a particular trait or disorder.
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 questions asked. For example, assessments can determine if a person has a learning disorder, is competent to stand trial, or has a traumatic brain injury. They can also determine if a person would be a good manager or how well they may work with a team.
One common assessment technique, for instance, is a clinical interview. When a psychologist speaks to a client about their concerns and history, they can observe how the client thinks, reason, and interacts with others. Assessments may also include interviewing other people close to the client, such as teachers, co-workers, or family members. (Such interviews, however, would only be performed with written consent from the client.)
Together, testing and assessment allow a psychologist to see the full picture of a person's strengths and limitations. Please refer to the comprehensive list of tests that we provide at ACTS in our Lancaster, PA, and Reading, PA offices.
Seeing a Psychologist
Psychological tests are not one-size-fits-all. Psychologists choose a specific set of assessments and tests for each client. And not just anyone can perform a psychological evaluation.
In many cases, psychologists who administer tests will then treat patients with psychotherapy. Some psychologists focus only on evaluating patients and then refer them to other specialists for treatment after they've made a diagnosis. In either case, the testing or assessment process will help ensure that the client receives treatment that's tailored to their individual needs.
What to Expect
Psychological testing isn't like taking a multiple-choice exam that you either pass or fail. Rather, psychologists use information from the various tests and assessments to reach a specific diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
Some people are tempted to peek at the tests ahead of time. If they suspect they may have a particular problem, they may look online for a practice test of that problem. That's a bad idea, experts say. Practicing ahead of time usually backfires — when you try to take the test in a certain way, the answers may be inconsistent and make you appear to have more problems than you do.
Remember, psychological testing and assessment are nothing to fear. It's not something you need to study for. Rather, it's an opportunity for psychologists to determine the best way to help you.
(APA, August 28, 2015; http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/assessment.aspx)
Please call our office today at (717) 208-6599 or (484) 987-7116 to schedule an appointment with one of our psychologists.