David Cranford, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
1800 Town Center Drive, Suite 420, Reston VA 20190
Phone: 240-303-2141 Fax: 703-662-0544 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Psychological Assessment?
Psychological testing, psychological evaluation, and psychological assessment are three different ways of basically saying the same thing. There is also a technical term for the science behind psychological testing, “psychometrics,” which includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and personality traits. Psychological testing is a highly focused form of assessment, conducted by a psychologist, with the intent of answering a specific referral question, or series of questions. It most often involves a face-to-face interview, paper and pencil and/or computer administered questionnaires and psychological inventories implemented to assess ability, personality, and behavior. The tests are scored, interpreted and eventually placed into a report that is completely confidential. The results are communicated to both the referring source and the client.
Psychological assessment can shorten treatment and reduce its cost when compared to treatment based solely on a clinical interview. Psychological assessment can also provide accurate and objective information to help answer questions posed by other health professionals and referral sources.
The following represents the types of assessments that are available:
Targeted ADHD Assessment
This assessment Includes a clinical interview, review of medical and educational records as necessary, comprehensive IQ test, test of sustained attention, structured interview of ADHD symptoms and screening measures related to mood factors that impact attention (as needed). The final report includes a full explanation of the results, an accurate diagnosis, documentation of appropriate accommodations, treatment recommendations, and referral information.
ADHD Screening/Diagnostic update
If test scores are available from the WISC or WAIS, or any other standardized measure that includes a cognitive working memory index, an ADHD diagnostic update may be appropriate. This evaluation includes a review of educational history and prior testing results, a test of sustained attention, and structured interview of ADHD symptoms. Report includes explanation of test results, an accurate diagnosis, documentation of appropriate accommodations, treatment recommendations, and referral information.
This assessment provides an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis regarding cognitive and learning processes. It provides documentation of learning disabilities, developmental delays, processing disorders, the eligibility/ need for accommodations (IEP, 504, university, work, standardized testing such as SAT, GRE, LSAT, etc.), and for differentiating between possible diagnoses. Evaluation includes a comprehensive clinical interview, behavioral observations, review of educational/ medical records as needed, cognitive, neurocognitive, and achievement testing. The written report includes a full explanation of test results, an accurate diagnoses, documentation of appropriate accommodations, treatment recommendations, and feedback. Test battery includes a measure of Full Scale IQ (working memory, processing speed, verbal, and non-verbal Indexes), measures of academic achievement, and tests evaluating attention, executive processing measures, and other cognitive processes (auditory processing, visual-motor integration, etc.) as necessary.
Comprehensive Psychological Assessment
This assessment evaluates both cognitive and personality factors and includes a comprehensive clinical interview, review of all relevant medical and educational records, a full assessment of cognitive and learning abilities (see Psych-Ed Assessment for description) plus a full evaluation of personality characteristics, mood states, behavioral functioning, and social-emotional functioning. A written report details all areas tested and provides an accurate diagnoses. Appropriate accommodations are documented and treatment recommendations and referral information are provided. A feedback session is also included, in-office, over the phone, or over email, depending on the client's preference.
This assessment evaluates both cognitive and personality factors and includes a comprehensive clinical interview, review of all relevant medical and educational records, plus an evaluation of personality characteristics, mood states, behavioral functioning, and social-emotional functioning. A written report details all areas tested and provides an accurate diagnoses. Appropriate accommodations are documented and treatment recommendations and referral information are provided. A feedback session is also included, in-office, over the phone, or over email, depending on the client's preference.
Individually Administered Personality Tests
MMPI with written interpretation
PAI with written interpretation
Occupational Inventory and related measure of areas of interpersonal strength with written feedback
Forensic Psychological Assessment
Forensic evaluations include a comprehensive clinical interview, review of all relevant medical, educational, occupational, and legal records; a full clinical assessment of mental status, cognitive abilities, personality characteristics, behavioral functioning, psychopathology, and motivational features as appropriate, attorney consultation, research (as needed), and a written report of test results, diagnoses, and recommendations. Expert Testimony is available.
Getting Started & Preparing for Testing
First, contact me by phone or email. I‘ll get back to you promptly to find out more about your concerns, discuss the testing process and payment, and answer your initial questions confidentially.
1. We set up an initial face-to-face consultation. This is an opportunity to understand the problem that is leading you to seek testing, to exchange information, and to begin the process of gathering the history and data that are needed to fully understand the problem. (If you do not live near my office, we can do this consultation by phone or email or letter).
2. I gather and review relevant records, including work/school records, reports on any previous testing, and questionnaires completed by spouse/partners and co-workers (if applicable).
3. I schedule interview/testing sessions with the person who is to be tested. Testing varies depending on the referral question and may require two sessions lasting two to two-and-one-half hours each.
Preparing for testing will minimize anxiety and stress. Before the day of testing, it is helpful to remind yourself what the day will be like. Try to avoid calling it “testing,” as this word itself can often make people unnecessarily anxious. Remember that is the tasks are completed on your own or with the psychologist. Remember that people learn in different ways and that the tasks will help you understand how you learn best. The day will include a variety of questions, puzzles, drawings, and stories as well as some school-like tasks like reading and math. While you will be challenged, you will probably have fun with some of the tasks. On the day of the assessment, make sure you are well rested and have eaten a good breakfast. Feel free to bring along any healthy snacks and drinks you may like. Arrive a few minutes before your scheduled time to become familiar with the psychologist and to get settled before starting. To avoid fatigue, breaks will be taken during the tasks to allow you to use the restroom and have a drink or snack.
What happens after the testing?
Approximately two weeks after the testing, you will return to the office for a follow-up session to discuss your results and recommendations specific to you. The follow-up appointment generally takes between 45 and 90 minutes. At the follow-up appointment, the psychologist will review the testing results, discuss recommendations, and answer any questions you may have. You will be provided with a written report during the follow-up session or within one week of the appointment. The report provides a written record of the testing that was completed, along with some specific recommendations to help you towards achieving your goals. You may be asked to sign a release so that the report can be sent directly to specific professionals working with you.