*Psychosexual/Sex Offender Risk
Cognitive tests asses what a person is capable of learning and what the person has learned. Aptitude, achievement, and IQ tests are cognitive assessments. These tests are commonly requested by parents who want to enroll their child into a school for gifted children, a school counselor who suspects a student has a learning disability, or persons who are not able to pass court-mandated programs due to comprehension deficits.
Neuropsychological tests identify concerns related to brain functioning. Damage to the brain can cause problems with organization, attention, memory, visual acuity, etc. Neuropsychological tests are most often requested when a person has experienced head trauma from a car accident or physical assault. It is also commonly requested when an elderly family member is suspected of developing dementia. When combined with personality tests, it can be useful in differentiating "true dementia" from depression (which appears the same in the elderly population).
Personality tests identify a person's characteristics, temperament, and proclivities. These tests also identify when the person is distressed, emotionally dysregulated, or is experiencing mental health symptoms. Personality tests are often requested when the person is not able to live a prosocial life. Some examples are when the person is not able to sustain healthy relationships with friends, romantic partners, and family members; the person is not able to maintain employment; or the person is not able remain out of jail or prison. Personality testing is useful in that it can help the person gain insight into their core attributes that cause them to experience the same types of problems over and over again. Personality tests also highlight depression, anxiety, anger, mania, hallucinations and other mental health symptoms. Maintenance of these symptoms help many professionals sustain their careers as extraordinary engineers, musicians, business investors, etc.
Projective tests also identify personality and mental health symptoms, but are ambiguous. The "Inkblot Test" is a projective test. These tests are particularly useful with children who are not always able or willing to articulate the source of their pain. The tests can include drawings and storytelling.
Gender assessments are requested by persons who want their outside appearance to match their mind and spirit. For more information, scroll to the top of this page, and then select the tab "Gender Assessments."
Substance Use assessments have many acronyms. The acronyms are different based upon the treatment program, the state, or the court system. In Wisconsin, where Psych Connection is located, the acronym is AODA. Aside from being performed by a treatment program to determine treatment need, this assessment is commonly requested by court officials to assess addiction in DUI and Possession of a Controlled Substance cases.
Psychosexual Assessments are also called Sex Offender Risk assessments. These evaluations are often completed to assess whether a person is in need of sex offending treatment. If so, the intensity and length of treatment is determined. If there are concerns about risk factors or risk levels, the assessment tools render a statistic that suggest the likelihood the person will commit another sexual assault. Aside from treatment programs, this assessment is often requested by attorneys and judges to gain an understanding of the person's profile and to determine suitable restrictions (or liberties) for the offender.
Malingering is an attempt to feign mental health symptoms for a personal gain. The "gain" could be money or income from a social service agency, an extended leave of absence from work, a reduction in sentencing by the court, or any other gain. Malingering assessments are often requested by agencies who are not equipped to evaluate the presence or severity of symptoms, but who suspect deception.
CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATIONS
Child custody evaluations are usually pursued by a family member who is interested in gaining or maintaining custodial rights. This evaluation is done to determine "the best interest of the child" and can only be completed if all parties (i.e., all potential caregivers and the child) participate in a mental health assessment. Child custody evaluations often require a motion by a judge before the assessment can be completed. Unlike other assessments that may take one to three hours, this process can take one to three months.
A person can apply to remain in this country for multiple reasons. One rationale is that he or she experiences a mental illness that prevents transport back to the country of origin because said illness will not be effectively treated in that country. Immigration Evaluations include personality, projective, and malingering assessments to validate the person's testimony.
Any test discussed above (e.g., a cognitive test) can be administered separately to answer a specific question. For example, an IQ test can be administered in two hours to determine someone's IQ score. However, the term PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION is reserved for a multitude of tests that are administered to gain a comprehensive profile of the individual being assessed. All psychological evaluations by Psych Connection include a complete social history to help the person (or referring agency) understand the neurological, biological, familial, and environmental influences that led to the development of a person's concern. All psychological evaluations include treatment recommendations. Forensic psychological evaluations are used within the court setting and are predominantly sought by court officials; however, the individual (who is being assessed) will find it comforting that he or she can use it for secondary purposes: pursuing SSI, Medicaid, housing assistance, and education assistance.