Psychological assessment is a process in which people meet with a psychologist in the attempt to gain clarity about and to develop recommendations for persistent or distressing problems. Formal assessment aims to answer specific questions as clearly as is possible posed by patients themselves or by those who refer them. Our approach to assessment is “Individualized” and “Collaborative” and is based on the pioneering work of Constance Fischer, Ph.D. who has trained and mentored psychologists who practice in Unity Care (i.e., Dr. McElfresh). Dr. Fischer’s approach titled “Collaborative Individualized Assessment” has also been reflected in Stephen Finn’s “Therapeutic Assessment.” These approaches to assessment are the foundation for our work with people referred to our practice and have grown to be the most accepted paradigm through which to engage people. In this regard, we understand the assessment enterprise as a means to help people to understand the difficulties they aim to address in as full, contextual, and individualized a manner as possible. Our assessment process is “collaborative” in that we work together with our assessees as “co-laborers” and aim to keep dialogue, feedback, and disagreement open in our exploration throughout the assessment process in the attempt to establish as much clarity and potential for growth as is possible.
Our assessment encounters will most often include the use of formal psychological test instruments with the intent of trying to observe and describe together how a person approaches or “moves through” the world when faced with unique tasks. The test instruments involve answering paper and pencil questionnaires, taking part in tasks that assess thought and emotion, or novel tasks that might require creativity and interpretation from the persons utilizing them (see “projective testing”). The sum of our assessment discussions, psychologist and patient feedback, and formal test data are utilized for the purpose of writing a psychological assessment report that summarizes our work together. Our reports are written in accessible language, aim to be useful to the people who participate in the assessment, and are descriptive, individualized, and structured.
Please visit the articles and URLs on our home page to further explore our approach to assessment. Please call 412-371-7330 to schedule an appointment or with questions.