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Psychological Testing


Beyond Talking
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.
Here are the benefits of Psychological Assessment:
  • Provide more objective yardstick to measure personal characteristics.
  • Provide important treatment related information that may be difficult for the client to express directly in interviews.
  • Provide reliable and valid information about the client based on comparisons with research data gathered from large groups of people.
  • Measure a large number of personality, cognitive, or neuropsychological characteristics simultaneously.
  • Offer information from a wide range of sources, including self-reports, performance tasks, and other assessment strategies.
  • Provide central information needed at the start of or early in treatment.
  • Guide the selection of appropriate treatment methods, particularly for clients who have not sufficiently benefited from previous treatment or whose treatment needs are complex.
  • Highlight potential obstacles in treatment and suggest alternatives.
  • Identify client's strengths that can be used to facilitate and speed treatment.
  • Clarify the goals and focus of treatment.
  • Provide a baseline to measure the progress of treatment and to evaluate the effects of treatment.
  • Serve as a kind of "outside opinion" that informs both client and health care professional in their planning for and reassessment of treatment.
  • Give the client information to enable more confident and active participation in treatment decisions, thereby increasing the client's sense of independence and satisfaction.

You may try and search online for copies of standardized professional tests, but you most likely won’t find any. That is because the tests are copyrighted by the test publishers. For obvious professional reasons the security of the tests must be maintained, otherwise the accuracy of the test measures would be compromised. All mental health professionals are under strict ethical guidelines, enforced by their respective licensing boards, to properly maintain test security. The psychological tests you will find online are for your own personal use. They are not recognized as valid or reliable standard tests measures as they were not created or extensively researched on normative populations.  

Psychologists are fully trained in the administration, scoring and interpretation of psychological tests. As such, the use of psychological tests, in a therapeutic or diagnostic setting, should be restricted to licensed psychologists. Other mental health professionals (psychiatrists, social workers, counselors) are usually not professionally trained in the administration, scoring and interpretation of psychological tests. Please be aware and be careful of who you entrust to conduct your assessment.


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