Psychological testing can be a tremendous tool to help bring clarity to a wide variety of clinical, educational, and medical situations. Testing can offer insights, details, and solutions that are not possible to discern other ways. Consider that many medical tests are designed to provide information about aspects of our health that are not immediately obvious. Psychological testing performs that same function by helping us gather information about our emotions, behavior, thinking styles, coping tendencies, cognitive functioning, or academic abilities. Knowing more detailed information about these various areas allows us to recognize how we can be most helpful to a person by identifying strengths and also opportunities for growth. We can then develop a treatment plan that targets areas for growth more specifically and effectively, while also considering how to use identified strengths to enhance improvement.
What is it? How is therapeutic assessment unique?
Simply put, testing is like looking at a situation through a new and more detailed lens. Our practice has adopted a model known as “therapeutic assessment” which has a number of advantages and applications over other types of assessment. We focus on maximizing the positive, therapeutic impact of assessment by taking the time to get to know you as a real and complex person. We talk and write in a clear and easy to understand manner that takes all the confusing jargon of psychology and translates it into regular language that everyone can understand. We move beyond trying to put a label on you or your child and instead work WITH you collaboratively and respectfully to understand what is working and what is not working in your life, why you’ve gotten stuck in some spots, and most importantly, what we can do to get you unstuck and moving in a healthier direction. We feel it is crucial to make test findings approachable and easy to understand while providing specific, concrete, and accessible recommendations to help you pursue your individual goals. This approach is often more thorough, and thus can offer a more complete picture of the situation you or your loved ones are encountering. One of the other unique advantages of this model is it can be applied when assessing individuals, couples, or even entire families.
What can it show? What can/do we test for?
Perhaps you or your child are having trouble focusing at work or school. Maybe you or your therapist want to better understand your specific strengths as well as areas where you are having more difficulty. Or maybe you are experiencing difficulties in your relationships and want to understand more about what you can do about this. Testing can even help clarify aspects of your mental health so your doctor can ensure you are prescribed the appropriate medication for your wellbeing. You wouldn’t arbitrarily take antibiotics for strep unless your doctor performed a strep test first. Psychological assessment can be thought of in a similar way. It can get to the “heart” of difficulties you might be experiencing so you can accurately address the source. One common example of this is that children are sometimes misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when the “heart” of the problem is actually anxiety. On the surface, children might seem to show signs of hyperactivity, difficulty concentrating, inattention, or forgetfulness. However, they might not respond to therapy, medications, or behavioral plans for ADHD because the true source of the problem isn’t identified correctly. Proper assessment can help differentiate between ADHD and issues like anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, etc., to ensure you (or loved one) is being treated for the correct condition. Moreover, our goal is not to merely diagnose problems, but to offer solutions that are carefully customized to your unique situation. In this way, testing can provide needed clarity that offers a more complete understanding and also leads to more accurate diagnosis and treatment. We can assess for a variety of issues including but not limited to:
- IQ testing and general cognitive assessments
- Learning disabilities
- Diagnostic clarification
- Academic/social/behavioral problems
- Personality testing
How can we use this information?
What are the treatment options we have “built in” to our practice? (Neurofeedback, couples/individual/family tx) One of the primary goals of therapeutic assessment is to both inform and empower. It is crucial to have a roadmap (or GPS) that can guide you toward a desired destination, and therapeutic assessment can help serve this function In your situation. Moreover, we can not only help create this roadmap, but we are one of the only practices in Denver to also offer a diverse range of treatment opportunities for individuals, couples, or families to address the recommendations from your assessment. These can include various forms of talk therapy, EMDR, and one of our most exclusive treatment tools called Neurofeedback which can help improve conditions ranging from ADHD to anxiety and depressive diagnoses. We can also connect you with quality resources or providers in the community to help you get the customized services you want and need. Having a customized and personal plan can help you achieve the goals you desire. Test findings can give your therapy the jumpstart you are looking for, or can help provide guidance to teachers at school on effective ways to work with you or your loved one. It is easier to navigate challenges when you have detailed information that can inform you, guide you, and empower you.
How long does it take and how much does it cost?
Rather than waiting many weeks or months for an available testing appointment, we are often able to start assessment within 1-3 weeks of your consultation. Assessment is charged on a per hour basis, and we have a limited number of scholarships to assist if cost is a concern. We strive to efficiently complete assessments in thorough manner, and the process is typically completed within a few weeks. Every client’s assessment needs will be different so we welcome the opportunity to speak with you to both answer your questions as well as propose testing options we feel will benefit you. We begin by offering a complimentary consultation to help you decide how psychological testing can assist you or your loved ones. We then work with you to schedule the face-to-face portion(s) of testing with your individual scheduling needs in mind. Tests can involve completing self-report surveys, completing structured tasks, or responding to specific sets or questions. Once all testing is completed, we score and interpret the results, followed by an in-person meeting with you to explain what the tests reveal. Again, we explain results in everyday language and actively converse with you to ensure you understand. We then often provide a letter addressed to you or whomever you choose that will be a written resource to explain test findings and recommendations. You are free to consider as many of the resources and recommendations we offer, ultimately finding a plan that works for you. We will work with you every step of the way and support your growth process as well as we can.