What is the Psychological Evaluation?
Most individuals choosing to enter our program have struggled with a group of feelings and thoughts that have created difficulty in their daily lives. Many report to us that they have felt isolated with their symptoms, and struggled to find answers to their questions focusing on why they may think or behave in the manner that they do, and if their symptoms meet a mental health diagnostic label. For some, the discovery that they meet a mental health diagnosis can provide a tremendous sense of relief and realization that they do not need to feel alone and confused as to what is going on for them in their minds. At our residential program, we offer patients the opportunity to engage in either a brief screening assessment or a full Psychological Evaluation to explain and classify their emotional struggles into diagnostic categories. The Clinical Team then utilizes the information gathered from the assessments as an integral aspect of the treatment plan to guide the care of the individual and to help make appropriate aftercare recommendations.
The Psychological Evaluation is the first step in understanding how one’s problem solving and difficulty addressing complex emotional problems can be described in terms that are useful to the individual and their treating providers. It is often said that one cannot begin a journey until they first are aware of where they must begin. Thus, our psychological assessment program utilizes cutting edge, empirically supported assessment measures to provide our clients with a holistic understanding of their emotional and cognitive functioning. We utilize the expertise of neuropsychologists and clinical psychologists whose training and understanding of the mind allow insights into mental health diagnoses and cognitive functioning that can advance the treatment of the individual tremendously. The focus of the Psychological Evaluation is upon how the individual functions both in our community and in their daily lives by obtaining the perspectives of treating providers and family (with appropriate consents) to develop a comprehensive picture of what areas of strength and weakness are present for the individual. Our clinicians seek to provide a strength based, consumer friendly report that is written in a manner that is useful to the individual in their continued aftercare.
The Psychological Evaluation, often recommended by the primary therapist assigned to work with the client, is an integral aspect of our treatment program. The primary therapist closely collaborates with the entire clinical team to provide information to the evaluator and is informed of issues and information as it develops in the evaluation to inform the treatment and guide the team toward the most effective strategies to address the issues The evaluator may also encourage the client to bring the issues raised in the evaluation into their individual therapy appointment to help them continue to work on the insights gained As the evaluator is also an integral member of our holistic treatment team, the themes and issues raised within the evaluation are also presented in the weekly treatment team meeting so that the entire treatment team is aware of the successes and challenges of the client.
Bridges to Recovery offers individuals with an added component in the evaluation process whereas the evaluator will provide the individual with detailed discussions of areas of concern in combination with descriptions and discussions of possible underlying motivators for the issues the individual identifies as areas of struggle. This opportunity, done in a compassionate and caring manner, allows the client to understand their mental health diagnosis and emotional struggles within the context of their psychological experiences thus deepening their personal explorations and increasing the benefits gained from their treatment program. For example, a client who was in his early 30’s related that he had struggled with learning new concepts and focusing on relationships since a traumatic event when he was 15 years old. The clinical team determined that a psychological evaluation would be helpful to clarify diagnosis and to focus the treatment in the most needed areas of the clients’ functioning. The evaluation process uncovered underlying mental health issues (i.e. a Learning Disorder never previously diagnosed). Through the process of the evaluation, the treatment team then modified the presentation of information and the structure of the program to help meet the learning style of the client and help him address his emotional needs in the most effective manner
How does the Psychological Evaluation work?
The Psychological Evaluation process is unique to each individual but typically encompasses measures that provide information on cognitive and emotional functioning. The measures are the most up-to-date tools that are used by psychologists to help gather information useful to understanding the functioning of an individual. The process begins with a clinical interview that reviews the mental health history and functioning of the client and encourages a discussion of areas of strength and weakness. The evaluator then determines the measures to be used based on the discussion with the client and their treating providers and the data-gathering portion of the evaluation begins. The evaluator often will contact outside individuals and providers, with a release, and obtain further information to help inform the assessment and focus the providers toward the most effective path.
What happens if someone is reluctant to engage in the evaluation?
It is not uncommon for a client to be resistant or anxious to undergo a Psychological Evaluation. The evaluator makes every effort to help discuss the evaluation process and to reduce the level of client anxiety to help them reach perform consistently and with their greatest effort to provide the most informative results.
What should the Psychological Evaluation accomplish?
A Psychological Evaluation should provide the individual with a concrete set of recommendations and findings that help them move forward with their treatment with a greater understanding of their needs and their unique problem solving skills and weaknesses.
Bridges to Recovery utilizes psychologists who are experts in the field of Psychological Evaluation and who demonstrate a strong motivation to help clients reach their full potential and reach their goals and dreams.