Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Psychological Tests and Assessments

Dr. Beth Grosshans has 25 years of experience as a clinical psychologist operating a private practice in Flemington, New Jersey. Now retired from her practice, one key element of Dr. Beth Grosshans’ work consisted of using psychological tests and assessments of her clients to gain an understanding of their strengths, as well as areas that might need attention. 

Psychologists use these tools to diagnose a patient’s behavior and determine treatment. Examples include testing for learning disabilities that cause hardships in a schoolchild, or looking for personality traits that hinder successful relationships.

Testing often involves the use of checklists or questionnaires. These measures are “norm-referenced” - standardized to allow respondents to be consistently evaluated by comparing to various average results. These tests compare results between similar people, such as children at a given grade level. Research has shown norm-referenced tests to be good guides for diagnosis.

On the other hand, psychologists employ assessments to gain insight from multiple sources, such as tests, medical and school records, and observations. Assessments can help determine how respondents would perform in certain situations, such as a managerial job or a court appearance. 

One favored assessment technique is the clinical interview, in which the psychologist asks the client about his or her history and current concerns. With the consent of the client, the psychologist might also choose to interview family members, coworkers, or teachers.