Frequently Asked Questions about Therapeutic Psychological Assessment
What are some reasons for considering a psychological/neuropsychological assessment?
A common reason for considering a full diagnostic assessment is diagnostic clarification. For example:
What accounts for my child’s struggles with learning in school (math, reading, reading comprehension)? Does my child had a learning disability, ADHD, or a mood/anxiety disorder?
Why does my child not appear to listen very well despite normal hearing test results? Are there underlying attentional or sensory deficits?
Another reason is to help a family decide what course of treatment they should embark on and to help them develop treatment goals. For example:
My child was diagnosed with ADHD by their pediatrician. What kinds of treatment (besides medication) should I pursue?
How does my child’s ADHD diagnosis affect their learning?
My child’s school/school district has denied my child an IEP and I disagree. I believe I need to advocate for their needs but need help. I need a more thorough assessment of my child’s unique profile of learning and coping strengths and weaknesses.
My child has been on medication for ADHD for the past year and it has helped some, but they are still struggling and it’s affecting their self-esteem. What can I do to better understand how they learn and how to help them?
You or your child has difficulty self-regulating and current therapies I/we have tried have plateaued.
Your child had few notable problems with academics or social functioning during their elementary school years, but now they are struggling in middle/high school with one or both of these areas. You are not sure whether this is typical due to the normative struggles that accompany adolescence, or whether this is a signal of an underlying emotional difficulty, or a once-disguised learning disorder. A comprehensive psychological assessment can help you and your child understand what is really going on.
What is a Therapeutic Psychological Assessment?
A therapeutic psychological assessment is a patient-centered approach to psychological and neuropsychological assessment that relies on active collaboration between the psychologist and client – if the client is a child/minor, active collaboration between the tester and parents is also established.
What is the difference between a Therapeutic Psychological Assessment and typical assessments?
Good question! Traditional approaches to assessment rely on information gathering and typically result in a diagnosis – in depth feedback may be limited.The outcome of a therapeutic assessment, however, goes beyond just a diagnosis. My goal as a therapeutic assessor and psychologist is to work together with parents and their child to understand the child’s and family’s problems, to explore and possibly create new ways of thinking, feeling and being. Obtaining a thorough and comprehensive understanding of your child’s learning and personality (e.g., coping style) profile can help parents be more effective advocates for them.Furthermore, feedback is provided in language that is understandable to the parents and child.
Characteristics of my therapeutic assessments are similar to that of psychotherapy, where I seek to build therapeutic relationships with the client and those who are important to them, such as parents/guardians.The purpose of relationship building is to hear, understand and accept everyone’s voice/perspective, and develop a treatment plan with all relevant members of the treatment team, which may include teachers and other therapists (e.g., occupational therapist, psychotherapist, speech-language pathologist, pediatrician, psychiatrist etc.).
Particularly when testing children/teens for possible underlying learning problems, a group which often presents with histories of mental health difficulties, relationship-building is paramount because a sense of trust and safety allows the tester to observe that child’s abilities at their best.It is often the case that mental health difficulties such as anxiety, fear of failure or criticism and poor self-esteem, inhibit children/individuals from performing at their best.