Assessment always begins with an initial parent interview session, and is followed by multiple testing sessions (about 20 hours) and a final 45 minute parent interpretative session. (When testing adults, I may ask for an initial consultation with a parent or a spouse to take a history.) At the time of the initial consultation, it will be determined whether this type of psychological assessment (as opposed to a neuropsychological assessment, etc) is appropriate for you or your child at this time. Please be aware that I only conduct full psychological assessments. Unless I have previously conducted a full evaluation, I do not administer just IQ tests (e.g. WISC) or just projective tests (Rorschach, TAT etc) to fulfill a school application requirement.
The process - from initial interview to the final interpretive session - usually requires 6 to as many as 12 weeks, but this depends upon how many sessions you schedule per week ( one to as many as four sessions weekly can be scheduled). I have found that seeing you or your child over a period of weeks, and for many sessions, provides me with a great deal of information about them. If I were to see your child for just a few sessions in a few days, a single "bad day" could seriously skew the test results. I realize that assessment is a major commitment of your time and money, but I strongly believe that this method provides you with the best possible understanding of your child. Psychological assessment typically includes an intelligence test, achievement test, visual-motor assessment, auditory processing, personality tests (including projectives), developmental history, classroom behavior checklists, and home behavior checklists. Some of the information for these tests is collected from a teacher or a parent. An important part of the evaluation of school-age children is to have the child's teacher(s) fill out multiple behavioral rating scales. Similarly, adult patients will often have to fill out one or more of these checklists on their own and have spouses or work supervisors complete forms. It is vital that these checklists be filled out accurately and quickly. It is generally helpful if I can speak to a teacher, physician, or other professional regarding the patient. Explicit, written permission is required from the patient (or parent/guardian) before I will contact the other professional.
Testing sessions vary in length, from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours (depending upon the age of the individual being tested) and are scheduled during regular office hours. Please note that I do not do cognitive testing in the afternoon. In addition to fatigue negatively influencing test performance, my psychotherapy patients who have weekly psychotherapy sessions generally hold the afternoon appointment slots. School administrators are generally open to allowing a child to miss school due to such appointments. At the time the appointments are scheduled, I will let you know how long the appointment is for. However, if the patient appears to be fatigued, and I feel that the results will be invalid, the session will be terminated early.
A formal, written report will be released only to the adult patient, or the parents/guardians of a minor. You may provide a copy of the report to another professional. I do not release reports directly to anyone other than parents, unless an arrangement to do so has been made prior to the testing. The written report will generally be mailed to you 4- 6 weeks after the final, interpretive session.
A thorough Psychological Assessment can often uncover problems and difficulties that other evaluations or observations have missed. A child with behavior problems may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. However, the same behaviors can also be due to anxiety or depression. Similarly, learning problems can be due to a multitude of causes, such as poor intellectual ability, learning disabilities, thought disorder problems, anxiety, autistic spectrum disorders, or depression. If you decide to have yourself, or your child tested, it is important that you be open to various diagnoses and recommendations.
Psychological Assessment typically yields recommendations for academic placement, therapy, parenting work, or academic tutoring. Sometimes, additional evaluations are recommended as a result of the assessment. These may include evaluations such as an occupational therapy evaluation, a language evaluation, or psychiatric evaluation. Again, please be aware that I do not have any financial relationships with any practitioners.