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Psychological Testing / Evaluation / Assessment

A Substance Abuse Assessment is usually conducted when there is a question about whether a person’s alcohol or drug use has moved beyond recreational use, and developed into a problem. Substance Abuse Assessments are often court ordered, but can also be helpful for someone who has concerns about his/her own substance use. The evaluation can be used to help an individual make responsible decisions about substance use, identify the areas in her/his life that have been affected by using, and/or evaluate the effectiveness of ones' recovery program.

Court or judge-ordered evaluations of a family to determine the best interests of the children involved and to assess for abuse or neglect.

Adoption evaluations are indicated when a child is being considered for adoption. Many factors lead a child to be involved in child protective services and eventually available for adoption. Therefore, it is important to have a comprehensive psychological evaluation of a child’s attachment, mental health functioning, and personality traits to adequately determine if they are ready for adoption and which (if any) services may be helpful in the transition toward adoption. Suitability Evaluations for Emotional Support Animal: Evaluation to determine whether the client would benefit from an ESA and if they qualify for ESA services. In order to be prescribed an emotional support animal, the person seeking this animal must be diagnosed with a verifiable condition. A note from a physician or licensed mental health practitioner is required. Psychologists in this practice are familiar with the requirements necessary to provide this letter outlining the need for reasonable accommodations that generally include airline travel for the animal and flexibility in rules regarding pets in condominiums, apartments or other communal living situations.

Psychodiagnostic tests are valid and reliable forms of psychological assessment, providing complex understanding of thought processes, personality characteristics and mood states. They can be used as a part of comprehensive evaluation, to ensure diagnostic accuracy and to assist the clinician in planning appropriate treatment for the client.

Three-part evaluation. The first focuses upon historical information about the defendant, the second focuses upon the offense of their mental state at that time and the third assesses the defendant's present mental state. Although all three sections are important, the first section appears to be one of the most important aspects. Understanding an individuals historical background and how it pertains to his mental state at the time of the offense appears of most importance.

Vocational psychology, also known as career counseling, is a specialized field of counseling psychology that studies human behavior with regard to work related issues. Vocational psychology is mostly concerned with pre-employment topics such as how people’s individual skills and aptitudes align with specific job requirements, how people prepare for jobs, Pre-employment screenings determine whether the client would be a good fit for a particular job or well-suited to the company culture. These are very common in law-enforcement and military positions.

Risk assessment routinely involves the identification of risk factors. Risk factors are different variables that increase the risk for violence. Common risk factors for violence across different types of violence would include previous violence, substance abuse, psychopathy, employment instability, and early behavioral problems. These risk factors are normally referred to as either static or dynamic.

Forensic assessment is a part of the broader category of psychological assessment. The purpose of forensic assessment is distinct from that of traditional therapeutic assessment, and as such forensic evaluators have different training and practice guidelines. The settings in which forensic evaluations occur are vast, including law enforcement, correctional, and civil and criminal court settings.

Cognitive Assessments may include a variety of formal assessments of a child or an adult’s abilities and skills. Assessments may cover a wide range of areas that might (for example) include an assessment of IQ or level of intelligence, perceptual abilities, verbal and non-verbal skills, attention and processing or memory abilities.

An Immigration Psychological Evaluation is psychological assessment that is used to help immigration courts determine whether an individual will be able to remain lawfully in the United States. Immigration Evaluations include an in-depth assessment related to the immigrant’s mental health deficits related to immigration. Some common areas include: PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, Parental Issues, Learning Disabilities and Cognitive Impairments. Immigration evaluations can be utilized in cases of political asylum, extreme hardship, or spousal abuse cases when psychological factors may be significant.

The Mental Status Examination (MSE) is an evaluation of a client’s current overall functioning with emphasis on his or her cognitive and emotional functioning. The MSE is a structured observational system of the client’s behavior, emotions, and thoughts.

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