What is a Psychological Test / Evaluation (and Do I Need One)?

Neuropsychological Testing

Neuropsychological testing and evaluations are used to assess brain functioning by measuring memory, learning, attention, perception, language, processing speed, etc., and are performed by a licensed neuropsychologist. Neuropsychological testing is often used for individuals who are experiencing cognitive dysfunction, such as Dementia, Epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, or another brain-based impairment. 

Psychological Testing

Psychological testing and evaluations are used to assess a number of different areas, such as personality, IQ, emotional intelligence, and more. These tests are conducted by a licensed clinical psychologist. Psychological testing can also be used to determine if a child has a learning disability or is gifted, as well as provide insight into one's behavior, personality, and mental health conditions. 

Neuropsychological & Psychological Testing: When to Consider Them

Neuropsychological testing is a more comprehensive type of evaluation that focuses on how the brain is functioning and measures neurological impairments, while psychological testing is used to explore the nature of one's behavior, personality, and mental health conditions. Neuropsychological or psychological testing can include more than just the test itself. These tests may also include observations, medical records, school records, and/or interviews with family members, friends, employers, teachers, etc.

Neuropsychological or psychological testing is necessary when it's needed to obtain certain accommodations, such as disability benefits or school/work accommodations. To determine if neuropsychological or psychological testing is necessary, it is best to consult your physician, school psychologist, or therapist.

Length of Testing 

Neuropsychological or psychological testing can take anywhere from 2-8 hours, depending on the test. Testing can also be broken up into multiple sessions over a number of days, and short breaks may be offered during the test. Some neuropsychologists and psychologists will continue to work with the client after testing to provide talk therapy, while others only provide testing and evaluations and will refer out for talk therapy.

Cost of Testing

Neuropsychological or psychological testing often costs upwards of $1,000. Most psychologists and neuropsychologists charge per hour, which includes testing, conducting interviews, scoring the test, and writing the official report. Insurance companies may cover part or all of neuropsychological or psychological tests, but only if it is deemed medically necessary. It is recommended that you contact your insurance company first to see how much your plan will cover. 

Testing and Talk Therapy

Neuropsychologists and psychologists are able to provide neuropsychological and psychological tests, but therapists are not able to provide these tests. However, therapists are also trained and skilled to assess and evaluate a person's mental health condition. Please refer to this article here for a more in-depth look at each license and what services they can provide.

Depending on your symptoms and reasoning for wanting a psychological test or evaluation, it may or may not be necessary. In cases where an official diagnosis or psychological test or evaluation is not required, it's up to your discretion to move forward with this course of action. Therapists can assess your symptoms and compare them to the DSM-5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, to come up with a plan to treat the presenting symptoms. 

 

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