FAQ–Psychological Evaluations

 I do not offer counseling or psychotherapy.

I do not prescribe medications.

I do not perform child custody evaluations.

 

What is a psychological evaluation?

A psychological evaluation is also referred to as a psychological assessment, psychological testing, or a psychological battery. It is a process that uses a number of measures and approaches to get a full understanding of a person’ reasoning and thinking, attitudes, choices and behaviors, social competency, personality features and other character traits that help shape them as individuals. Psychological tests are not one-size-fits-all. Psychologists pick and choose a specific set of assessments and tests for each client.

Not just anyone can perform a psychological evaluation. Licensed clinical psychologists are expertly trained to administer assessments and tests and interpret the results. Licensed psychologists possess a doctorate and are the only profession that is highly trained and is skilled / licensed to perform and interpret psychological tests and measures. Some mental health professionals with master’s degrees (e.g.., MFT or LCSW) may offer a psychological evaluation for adoption, fertility treatment, or immigration assessments. However, psychological tests cannot be used by master’s level clinicians, and the evaluation conducted by master’s level clinicians is restricted to a clinical interview.

Should I study/prepare for Psychological Testing?

You cannot “pass” or “fail” a psychological evaluation. Therefore, you do not need to prepare or study for the assessment.  It may be tempting to research psychological tests online in an effort to familiarize and prepare yourself for testing but note that doing so will affect your test results. Most psychological measures are quite sophisticated and can detect when the test taker is inconsistent in his or her answers, is over-reporting her symptoms (fake bad) or under-reporting his or her issues (fake good). It is best to approach testing as something that can help you gain knowledge about yourself and assist you in improving your life.

What Do Test results tell me?

Psychological tests are used to get information about how you are currently feeling and functioning in your life, and your thinking and behavioral patterns that interfere with your ability to live your fullest life. Some psychological tests are also used to determine whether you qualify for local, state and federal services.

What is the process of evaluation?

The process of psychological evaluation consists of:

  • Clinical Interview with the psychologist— This can take anywhere between one to two hours, during which time the psychologists gather information about your current state of mood and functioning, as well as detailed background information. Your available resources, as well as your stressors, are also discussed.
  • Review of medical records and other pertinent information–Depending on the reason(s) for testing, the psychologist may need to review your medical or psychiatric records to get a full knowledge of you as a person. In some cases, legal, occupational, or academic records may also be reviewed by the psychologist.
  • Test-taking — Following the clinical interview, you are given several paper-and-pencil tests and checklists to complete. In some cases, the psychologist also administers the testing. This portion of the evaluation can take an additional one to five hours to complete, depending on the referral question.
  • Psychological Report— After completion of data analysis, the psychologist writes a report outlining the background information, your current functioning, test results, diagnostic impressions and his or her recommendations about treatment or the next step. This report is mailed directly to the source of referral (e.g., your attorney in immigration cases, your medical team in cases of fertility or pre-surgical evaluation).

What can I bring to the testing appointment?

Please bring to the appointment the following items:

  • Your past medical records, including psychiatric information
  • Current medications & dosage
  • Name & address of your care providers (Medical & Psychiatric)
  • Name & address of your attorney (if applicable)
  • In immigration cases, please know the type of application your attorney has filed on your behalf, your green card number, and any other pertinent information about your case.
  • A healthy snack & a bottle of water

Before testing, please make sure to get a good night of sleep, take your medications as directed by your physician, and be sure to bring any visual or hearing aids you may need (e.g., glasses, hearing aids). Dress in layers to prevent becoming too hot or too cold and eat a good meal before leaving for testing. Also, illnesses like a cold or flu can affect your performance on the testing. Consider rescheduling your testing if you have active symptoms of an illness.

 

 

 

 

 

 



3120 Telegraph Ave Suite 11C
Berkeley, CA 94705

1777 Hamilton Ave Suite 2350
San Jose, CA 95125

DrMerrill@poupakmerrill.com
(650) 465-0203

Got Questions?
Send a Message!

Information submitted via this form is encrypted for privacy with the latest technology.