A Clinical Psychological Assessment (or mental health assessment) refers to collecting information and drawing conclusions through the use of observation, psychological tests, and interviews to identify symptoms, provide diagnosis, and planning treatment.
This collection of information involves learning about the client’s skills, abilities, personality characteristics, cognitive and emotional functioning, social context (e.g., environmental stressors), and cultural factors particular to them such as their language or ethnicity.
A Clinical Assessment often conducted at the beginning treatment, but may be used for medico-legal purposes.
What is a Clinical Psychological Assessment?
A Clinical Psychological Assessment is used to understand an individual’s mental health and behavioural problems and how they may be helped.
Three main purposes of assessment include diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment planning. Clinical interviews, behavioural assessments, checklists and rating scales, observations of behaviour, and standardised psychological testing are used to assess. Some tests that are commonly used for assessing include: mental status examination, psychometric tests, intelligence tests, personality tests, and neuropsychological tests.
Although it is recognised that each individual unique, a diagnostic classification may useful for professionals to compare and make decisions regarding any mental disorders or illness, and to guide interventions.
A Clinical Psychological Assessment will include, but is not limited to, the following:
- A structured or semi-structured clinical interview
- A thorough psychosocial life history
- Mental status examination (e.g. appearance, mood, affect, awareness)
- Review of developmental considerations
- Review of current psychological, social and occupational functioning
- Review of personality traits
- Behavioural assessment (antecedents, behaviours and consequences)
- Clinical testing & screening using standardised assessment tools
- Diagnostic interpretation and prognosis
- Treatment planning & recommendations
- Reporting and feedback.
Life Psychologists can also assist with matching appropriate psychologists and/or the provision of psychological treatment services.
Clinical assessments are usually run over two to four 50-minute sessions depending on complexity. Sessions include a structured clinical interview, observation, psychological testing, diagnosis, treatment planning, and a report preparation outlining all findings with recommendations.
Note: Additional time/fees may be incurred for detailed psychological testing e.g. IQ testing, personality and/or aptitude tests, when appropriate.
- Clinical Interview (1-2 sessions)
- Psychological testing & screening (1-2 sessions)
- Report preparation & feedback (1-2 sessions)
Which clinical tests do you provide?
Following is an outline of validated clinical psychology tests provided by Life Psychologists:
The Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI-Plus) is an objective inventory of adult personality which assesses psychopathological syndromes and provides information relevant for clinical diagnosis, treatment planning, and screening for psychopathology.
The PAI has 22 non-overlapping scales of four varieties:
- Validity scales – The validity scales measure the respondent’s overall approach to the test, including faking good or bad, exaggeration, defensiveness, carelessness, malingering, or random responding.
- Clinical scales – these measure the respondent’s psychopathology using diagnostic categories representing a particular trait:
- Somatic concerns (SOM) measures a respondent’s physical concerns and complaints.
- Anxiety (ANX) measures a respondent’s general feelings of tension, worry, and nervousness.
- Anxiety Related Disorders (ARD) measures more specific anxiety symptoms that relate to different categories of anxiety disorders.
- Depression (DEP) measures a respondent’s general feelings of worthlessness, sadness, and lethargy.
- Mania (MAN) measures a respondent’s level of high energy and excitability.
- Paranoia (PAR) measures a respondent’s suspiciousness and concern about others harming them.
- Schizophrenia (SCZ) measures a respondent’s unusual sensory experiences, bizarre thoughts, and social detachment.
- Borderline features (BOR) measures a respondent’s problems with identity, emotional instability, and problems with friendships.
- Antisocial features (ANT) measures a respondent’s level of cruel/criminal behavior and selfishness.
- Alcohol Problems (ALC) measures a respondent’s problems with excessive drinking.
- Drug Problems (DRG) measures a respondent’s problems with excessive recreational drug use.
- Treatment consideration scales – measure factors that may relate to treatment of clinical disorders or other risk factors but which are not captured in psychiatric diagnoses.
- Aggression (AGG) measures the respondent’s different kinds of aggressive behaviors toward others.
- Suicidal ideation (SUI) measures a respondent’s frequency and severity of suicidal thoughts and plans.
- Nonsupport (NON) measures how socially isolated a respondent feels, and how little support the respondent reports having.
- Stress (STR) measures the controllable and uncontrollable hassles and stressors reported by the respondent.
- Treatment rejection (RXR) measures certain attributes of the respondent that are known to be related to psychological treatment adherence, including motivation, willingness to accept responsibility, and openness to change and new ideas.
- Interpersonal scales – measure two factors that affect interpersonal functioning for the respondent.
- Dominance (DOM) measures the degree to which a respondent acts dominant, assertive, and in control in social situations.
- Warmth (WRM) measures the degree to which a respondent acts kind, empathic, and engaging in social situations.
Test age range: 18+ years
Duration: 50-60 mins