When in graduate school for a degree in psychology or counseling, one learns a lot and reads a ton. But the most important thing grad students in my field do is practice what they preach.
So, when I was in a masters program in grad school, I took a psychological assessment overview course and the final assignment was to take a whole handful of tests that assessed my personality and then score, interpret, and report the results of these tests.
It was quite a process because some of these tests have a lot of questions to answer about yourself. I was nervous because I didn’t know exactly what the results would say about me.
Despite the process, the end result was pretty cool. The results confirmed some things I pretty clearly knew about myself. The results told me things about myself that somewhere, deep within myself, I knew, but didn’t have words to describe. The results told me things about myself that I was surprised by, that I never would have said about myself. The results told me things that I didn’t want to be said about me. The results helped me understand myself better so that I could take bold, but scary steps into a future that I didn’t even know was possible.
These understandings, realizations, and awarenesses are what psychological assessment is all about. Sure, sometimes the purpose of an assessment is to determine whether a diagnosis is present or not – think about all the assessments that happen when a medical doctor is trying to determine whether someone has cancer or a chronic illness. But underneath it all, the true purpose is to understand a person better, whether that be physically as in the case of a medical doctor or emotionally as in the case of a psychologist.
At the end of a psychological assessment, a psychologist expects that the client will understand more about him/herself and have some ideas about what his/her next steps could be to address the good and the I-wish-it-was-better results that come from the assessment. This may or may not include a diagnosis but will definitely include information about how the client thinks, feels, copes, and engages in the world around him/her.
If you have questions about yourself or your child and/or desire to have clarity about what might be going on inside of your heart, mind, or soul, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 573-8860 to discuss these things and determine if a psychological assessment might be beneficial for you. You can also find out more about our psychological assessment services here.
About the Author: Dr. Beth Cunningham, Psy.D.