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Beyond Inkblots: The Benefits of Psychological Testing

Amanda Gregory, LPCP, EMDR

Have you considered psychological testing? You may want to. Psychologists perform psychological testing (also referred to as assessment) by providing a variety of standardized instruments or tests. Many people have found testing to be helpful for a variety of reasons. Here are ways that you might benefit from psychological testing.

Diagnosis clarification. Usually, initial mental health diagnoses are based on a clinical interview which can last 50-60 minutes. This process has limitations because it’s based on the clinician’s interpretation of your symptoms as you report them, which can be subjective. Some people receive inconsistent mental health diagnoses from different professionals. For example, your psychiatrist might give you a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, your therapist might give you a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and your primary care doctor can assign a diagnosis of Anxiety Disorder, Not Specified. Which of these diagnoses is correct? Psychological testing is more extensive and objective than a clinical interview, as testing involves standardized instruments. If you’ve had multiple diagnoses, testing can help to clarify your diagnosis. In addition, if you’ve received a diagnosis that you do not agree with, testing can be a good way to discover whether you meet the criteria for that diagnosis.

If you suspect that you have a severe or pervasive mental health disorder, you should consider psychological testing. Some mental health disorders are difficult to diagnosis in a short period of time. Many clinicians do not diagnose severe or pervasive disorders during an initial clinical interview. You might need to work with these clinicians for a period of time before they can accurately assess whether you meet the criteria for a certain diagnosis. Psychological testing may provide you with a severe or pervasive diagnosis if you meet the criteria in a shorter period of time when compared to a clinical interview.

Individualized treatment recommendations. Treatment is not “one size fits all.” Psychological testing can provide specific treatment recommendations that meet your individualized needs. Your testing results might indicate that you would benefit from group therapy, coupes therapy, an evaluation with a psychiatrist, or an appointment with a primary medical doctor. Testing results might recommend that you participate in a certain type of therapeutic intervention such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). If you need individualized treatment recommendations, you should consider psychological testing.

Improve your current treatment plan. You might already be participating in some type of mental health treatment. If you feel like you’re not making much progress, psychological testing can help by providing information that will improve your current treatment. For example, your testing results might recommend that you participate in individual therapy that provides cognitive behavioral interventions. Let’s say that you are already doing this. Yet, your testing also states that you need to focus on improving self-worth. If your therapist was not addressing your self-worth in your treatment plan, this could change once they review your testing results. With your permission, your testing results can be shared with any of your providers in order to assist in your treatment.

Symmetry Counseling provides psychological testing that takes place in three phases. First, you’ll meet with a clinical psychologist for an in-depth interview. During this interview you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your expectations and needs. This will help your psychologist determine which battery of tests to prepare for you. In the second phase you’ll complete the psychological tests, which may consist of a combination of computerized, oral, and written tests. The second phrase might take 1-2 sessions depending upon how many tests are needed. In the last phase your psychologist will compile the results and complete a report. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with your psychologist to discuss the results.

Would you benefit from psychological testing? If so, contact Symmetry Counseling today to schedule an appointment with a clinical psychologist.

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