Psychological Testing 101

What is psychological testing?


Types of Testing

Comprehensive psychological testing involves administering, scoring, and interpreting psychological tests, as well as providing a clear and detailed report of findings and recommendations. It is highly useful in determining or clarifying psychological basis(s) for behavior, diagnoses, informing medical and/or mental health treatment options, assisting in possible education aide, and so much more. There are several different types of testing that our practice offers. We provide psycho-educational, psychological, and neuropsychological testing services. 

Psycho-educational testing typically involves academic, intellectual, adaptive, and other types of assessments depending on the referral question(s). For instance, parents may request this type of testing to determine whether their child has a specific type of learning disability. Parents are encouraged to share the evaluation results with schools and medical providers. Recommendations are customized to each individual and crafted with the TN public education system in mind. 

Psychological testing tends to be more comprehensive, yet tailored to the referral question(s). This type of testing may include various cognitive, emotional, behavioral, social, and adaptive assessment measures. An individual may seek psychological testing to provide an accurate diagnosis or understand the basis of their behaviors. For instance, many behaviors may look like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but in fact be better explained by anxiety, trauma, oppositional/defiant, and/or a possible organic medical condition, among others. Understanding the underlying basis for behavior directly impacts treatment options. 

Neuropsychological evaluations are designed to assess cognitive and adaptive functioning. This type of assessment examines current mental status, and various cognitive domains, such as memory, attention, language skills, visual-spatial skills, judgment, and cognitive flexibility. A family member may seek neuropsychological testing to aid with diagnosis, to better understand current functioning, and monitor the progress of a disease process.

Neuropsychological testing helps to differentiate between traumatic brain injury, concussion, stroke/TIA, demyelinating diseases, and various dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lewy Body Disease, and Frontotemporal Dementia. For example, a patient may request an initial baseline test to get a clear picture of their cognitive functioning, and engage in annual re-evaluation to monitor possible change.