Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a psychological assessment?

A psychological assessment is a series of tests that utilize a combination of many different psychological techniques to help develop some hypotheses about a person and their cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral functioning. Psychological assessment seeks to provide diagnostic clarification, develop treatment recommendations, identify personality strengths and weaknesses, aid in the development of educational planning, and provide understanding into human behavior.

Who is qualified to conduct psychological assessments?

Psychological assessments are almost always conducted by individuals licensed in psychology at the doctoral level. Sometimes masters level clinicians achieve specialized credentialing to be able to provide psychological testing. Qualified professionals have undergone graduate level training in assessment techniques, psychopathology, diagnostics, and human behavior.

What does a psychological assessment entail?

A psychological assessment usually requires approximately 10 hours of face-to-face contact with the client. A psychologist will meet with the individual to gather background information and administer the testing instruments. The duration, type, and intensity of testing will depend on the specific referral question. While the client will complete the majority of the testing, their parent(s), and/or current therapist may be asked to complete some measures. Objective testing instruments entail the psychologist asking direct questions to the client, client’s parents, or therapists about the client’s functioning. Projective measures involve the presentation of ambiguous stimuli and the psychologist interprets the client’s responses. At the conclusion of testing, the psychologist will provide a comprehensive written evaluation and verbal feedback to interested parties.

How much does a psychological assessment cost?

Psychological assessment is a highly specialized area of psychology that requires extensive training, a significant amount of time, and expertise. The cost of psychological assessment depends on the type of assessment being conducted and the instruments used to answer the referral question. Biltmore Psychology Services strives to provide competitive pricing for the high quality assessments that are conducted. All assessments include a written report and the provision of verbal feedback. Please call to discuss how much your specific assessment battery will cost.

What are the types of psychological assessment?

There are a number of different types of psychological assessments. The most comprehensive and useful testing is an Integrative Battery. This examines an individual’s complete functioning. It assesses an individual’s cognitive ability, academic achievement, interpersonal style, coping strategies, potential psychopathology, and overall strengths and weaknesses. Psychoeducational testing examines an individual’s cognitive functioning only. This usually involves IQ, Achievement, and neuropsychological testing. Personality testing is designed to examine an individual’s social, emotional, and behavioral functioning.

What questions do psychological assessments help answer?

Psychological assessment is designed to provide diagnostic clarification, identify learning disabilities or other cognitive impairments, develop treatment recommendations, offer insight into individual functioning, and aid in the development of therapeutic interventions. It is typically used to answer the following questions (note that this is not an exhaustive list and assessments can be tailored to address many other specific questions).
• I/my child/my client presents with many complex issues that could be explained by numerous different diagnoses. What is the underlying diagnosis?
• I/my child/my client is ready to transition to a different level of care. Which level of care is most appropriate?
• I/my child/my client has stopped responding or regressed in therapy. How can I tailor my interventions to better assist me/him/her?
• My child/ client has just revealed a previously undisclosed trauma. How can I tell if he/she’s ready to address it in therapy and what is the best approach? How much of his/her symptoms are being driven by this trauma versus other problems?
• My child/client is still in the honeymoon phase of therapy. How can I jumpstart therapy and find a place to begin?
• My child/client comes from a very disruptive home/school environment. How can I tell how much of my client’s problems is due to organic psychopathology versus environmental factors?
• I/my child/my client has a history of substance abuse. How can I tell if their substance abuse is a symptom or a contributor to my/their adaptive difficulties?

How long does a psychological assessment take?

Timing of testing depends on the availability of the client, referral sources, and parents. If all parties are available and willing to move forward, testing can take as little as one week. If there are delays due to clients’ resistance, scheduling conflicts, or incomplete testing procedures, testing could take slightly longer. It is the policy of Biltmore Psychological Services to provide written or verbal feedback within 5 to 10 days of the completion of testing.