By Dr. Kristen Shultis and Claire Long
AGAPE is proud to offer a range of counseling services to support our clients and improve their quality of life. Psychological testing can be an important step in helping individuals understand the root of certain difficulties they’re facing and identify how to best address them. To learn more about psychological testing, continue reading below.
What is psychological testing?
Psychological testing is a structured process to identify potential explanations for an individual who is struggling in certain areas of life. This process incorporates multiple sources of information – such as various tests, interviews and observations – to reach a conclusion identifying the issue at hand and provide clarity or guidance for treatment.
Why would someone initiate psychological testing?
Psychological assessments are often recommended when individuals experience significant difficulties that affect their school or work performance, relationships or mood. One of the primary reasons to be tested is for an accurate diagnosis. Many individuals have received different diagnoses through the years, which can lead to confusion and ineffective treatment plans. Psychological testing is a precise, in-depth process that considers all possible factors and leads to a clear diagnosis.
Individuals may also be recommended or required to participate in testing for decision-making purposes. This is especially true for students because it can affect the services or accommodations they receive in school. Having an accurate diagnosis, such as Social Anxiety Disorder or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), can help inform treatment plans and lead to more effective school experiences. Individuals may also be tested as part of the approval process for international adoption or surgery.
What are common misconceptions about psychological testing?
Individuals tend to expect immediate results following an assessment, but it usually takes weeks to compile results, analyze them and then create a final report.
It’s also common to think that all personality tests are the same. While at-home personality tests may be fun and insightful, their purpose is more for an individual’s own understanding. An administered personality test, however, offers an outside perspective and compares behavior to specific clinical data for the purpose of a diagnosis.
What should you expect if you participate in psychological testing?
It’s important to remember that psychological testing is a process that typically takes several weeks to complete and will require multiple appointments – with some lasting a few hours each. Because the testing process is so thorough, an individual may be expected to answer questions he or she’s never been asked before or that may seem irrelevant to the issue at hand. The goal of this is to leave no stone unturned to provide the most accurate assessment possible.
When testing is over and the results are ready, clients should expect to receive a written report and a feedback session. Included in the written report are an in-depth analysis of the test results and recommendations for next steps based on any diagnoses. If the individual has previously had counseling, it’s important to note that testing will feel different from therapy, but the end result can be just as therapeutic because issues and potential solutions have been identified.
If you or someone you know might be a good candidate for psychological testing, contact us today to get started.