Psychological Evaluation takes a few hours to complete. Usually, in our clinic, the patient comes around 9 am, and works with our doctors on test completion till 2 pm and sometimes longer. Test usually require, writing, reading, answering questionnaires, drawing and working on computerized tests. Those tests are standardized and measure human abilities, traits and characteristics. Primarily, psychologists use tests to measure personality characteristics, intelligence and cognitive (e.g., thinking, attention, memory, learing, and decision making capacities) characteristics. The patient can request lunch break after which they come back and complete rest of tests that were planned to complete. At times, the patients are asked to return on another day for more testing. Returning for testing indicates that the psychologist obtained results during which more questions occured that can be answered during second test visit.
A psychological test is a research tool built according to the principles of psychometrics. That is, they are prepared questions or tasks that have been established and approved as reliable by psychologists and mathematicians who deal with statistics.
Already ready-made psychological tests are used by psychologists and examine a given disease or the functioning of intelligence or the scope of learning. A set of specific tests is what is commonly referred to as the psychological test. So when you submit a patient to a psychological test, it usually means that this person will be taking part in completing several tests. One of them is the intelligence test. Others may include a study of personality characteristics. And still others test whether a person suffers from depression, neurosis, and schizophrenia, etc. The psychological test lasts several hours and when it is finished, the psychologist describes the results in the form of a report. In our clinic, such a report is usually 1 to 6 pages long. After the report is completed, the report is presented to the patient. If the report is to be sent to a doctor, family member or lawyer, a written release of information is essential. Testing should be a situation in which the patient participates voluntarily and is aware of the purpose of the tests. The interpretation of the results of the psychological test includes a statement about the cooperation of the examined person with a psychologist. In short, each patient is asked not only to cooperate but also to be truthful. If the patient lied, exaggerated or underestimated his skills, the test results will not be a good reflection of functioning and this information will be included in the report.
Neuropsychological tests are designed to assess cognitive skills of the patient. Cognitive skills include memory, concentration and attention, the ability to deal with or do more than one thing at a time, the ability to think flexible and quickly, to recognize things and remember their names and purpose, the ability to organize and plan. Those are skills that we need at every moment of our lives.
Neuropsychological tests are performed in cases where it is possible to diagnose probable Alzheimer’s or dementia, and other dementia that have various idealogies such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, HIV, Parkinson’s, and so on.
Examples of situations when patints are tested:
- Victims of car accidents or people who suffered head injuries due to work injuries, sport injuries, etc.
- Students who have learning difficulties. Many parents want to help their children who have problems with attention and concentration, because the chances of such children for educational success drastically decrease. In the long run, poor learing may result in worse prognosis for professional success. In addition, many parents are skeptical about administering psychotropic drugs to their children, especially stimulants. Therefore, neuropsychological tests help in such decisions by providing objective results that accurately determine the state of attention, skills and concentration or learning.
- Older people may be aware that they need help. Their doctors and family may have similar observations. They wonder whether a given person should really live alone or does he or she need outside help? Not all, but a significant proportion of older people should not live alone and be left unattended. There are elderly people who forget to take their medications as prescribed by their doctor. There are elderly people who forget about daily hygiene, about meals or have problems with expenses and their control. To protect these people from these and many other dangers, neuropsychological tests are necessary. These tests show everything that the medical doctors or family cannot see. It should be understood that some cognitive changes occur very slowly and adult children of elderly parents, may not notice the changes. In addition, those children hope that their parents are and will always be healthy, so they do not allow the thought that something could be wrong. It is even easier to miss the first symptoms of the disease when contact with parents is only by phone. Children don’t see their parents’ day-to-day functioning, and the phone conversation usually goes the way it did 20 years ago. That’s why testing is so important. They allow to determine the actual state of functioning of an elderly person, their reasoning and understanding of the world, and to know their actual state of mind. The tests are objective and allow patients, doctors and families to take appropriate steps and decisions regarding their parents and family. Such decisions are often difficult, but also necessary for the health of patients themselves and those around them. There are many questions to answer when making them: Should my father live alone? Should my mom drive a car? Are you sure my parents are taking the way their medications were prescribed? Does mom forget that she has the stove/oven on? Is mom able to cook safely? Will she remember the cake is baking? Does dad remember which cupboard contains certain everyday items?
In summary, the Neuropsychological Tests not only indicate the diagnosis of psychiatric diseases but also state what is the cognitive state of a person, can a given person learn new material? Drive a car? Live alone? Taking care of themselves? Take care of someone else? Can they decide for themselves or others? and much much more.
Personality Scales, these are tests that measure person’s personality characteristics. They are generally not used separately, they are usually part of psychological tests and measure: self-criticism or lack thereof, social or antisocial attitude, extraversion-introversion, non-neuroticism, stoicism, manic tendencies, depressive life style, schizoid, paranoid behavior, etc.
- Emigration Hardship Evaluations – the purpose of this evaluation is to assist emigration attorneys in determining the lack of psychological well-being of an individual that is a U.S. citizen and is in danger to be separated from a love one. In this case, people who have a residence permit or citizenship in the USA and want to legalize permanent residence for a very close person could apply for the so-called “extreme hardship.” This means that a person who is legally residing in the US and wants their spouse, child or sibling who is threatened with deportation may file a petition with the immigration office to legalize their stay. In order to prove “extreme hardship.” A person who decides to submit a petition must meet a number of requirements. One of them is psychological evaluation, which we offer in our clinic.
- Child Custody and Visitation Evaluations – the purpose of the evaluation is to assist in determining whether the parent is able to take care of their child.
In our clinic not one evaluation of this kind would be initiated without a court order.
- Personal Injury Evaluation – evaluations of emotional damage deriving from personal injury, sexual or racial harassment and sexual abuse using objective psychological tests.
- Competency to stand trial – competency to stand trial is a concept of jurisprudence allowing the postponement of criminal proceedings for those defendants who are considered unable to participate in their defense due to emotional or cognitive constraints. Such requires forensic psychological and or neuropsychological evaluation that we provide.
- N-648 – people who want to become US citizens must pass the USA history exam and speak English. There are people who can’t handle this task. Neuropsychological tests are the only tests that show whether a person is able to learn new material, concentrate, remember or recall information required at a given moment.