psychological evaluation

What Is a Psychological Evaluation?

January 27, 2022

Getting a psychological evaluation may seem intimidating, but speaking with a trained clinician could provide the answers you and your teen have been looking for. Despite the complex nature of psychological testing, the results of these sessions can actually simplify your life and provide a roadmap to mental wellness for your adolescent child. We understand that this process can feel overwhelming, so let’s break it down. With this information, you can make an informed decision on what is best for your teen.

When Might a Psychological Evaluation Be Necessary?

If you’re noticing drastic changes in your teen or if concerning patterns are emerging, it may be time to consider a psychological evaluation.

Some concerning changes or patterns include:

  • Different sleep patterns or energy level
  • Changes in hygiene
  • Sudden drop in grades
  • Difficulty remaining focused on tasks
  • Lack of interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Increased secrecy about their whereabouts and actions

Often, parents are the first to notice these changes, but teachers and school staff may pick up on them as well. Gathering information from different sources can be helpful in determining if these patterns are present in multiple settings.

Benefits of a Psychological Evaluation

The idea of having your child tested may seem off-putting, but the benefits of embracing this process can far outweigh any potential costs. A psychological evaluation allows for you and your teen to have a clear picture of the diagnosis, or diagnoses, that are affecting your teen’s ability to succeed both in school and at home.

With this information, a treatment team can set appropriate and evidence-based treatment goals with your teen’s specific needs in mind. Individualized treatment goals have been proven to have a greater positive impact on treatment, and a psychological evaluation provides a starting diagnosis for your teen’s treatment team to craft these goals around.

Components of a Psychological Evaluation

A psychological evaluation can consist of a number of different parts depending on the needs of your teen and the concerns you have. Often, these assessments include verbal and written components. For teens who are struggling academically or otherwise, this can feel overwhelming, so preparing your teen for what is ahead can help alleviate some of their concerns.

When discussing this with your teen, it’s important to assure them that a psychological evaluation is not a “test” where they will be graded, and the process is only to provide information to help them moving forward. A comparison you can use in having this conversation is a first practice for a sport, play, or band. The first practice is used to assess where the team or ensemble is starting from, so the coach or director knows what they need to work on in later practices. It’s important to have this starting point to ensure they spend time on the areas where the team or ensemble needs the most help, and it helps the coach or director identify the areas they don’t need to spend as much time on. A psychological evaluation does the same thing. It gives a treatment team insight into the areas that need extra help and the areas where your teen is already succeeding.

Where to Turn for Help

Psychological evaluations provide an opportunity for your teen to receive individualized treatment which will set them up for long-term success. If you’re wondering if a psychological evaluation could benefit your teen, contact The Forum. Our team of trained clinicians can answer any questions you have; schedule your psychological evaluation today.