There are a variety of benefits from participating in a comprehensive evaluation. Developmental, psychiatric, and neurocognitive disorders are not easily determined in a brief 30-60 minute session. Through the course of psychiatric interviews or brief psychotherapy, sometimes important information is not revealed or addressed. Our evaluation process is designed to assess functioning in several areas through in-depth interviews, behavioral observations, review of records, and the completion of standardized assessments.
Our evaluations are used to guide treatment and education decisions. Diagnostic clarification helps therapists and medication prescribers to more effectively address client's symptoms. This diagnostic clarification also assists educators in the identification of supports and services through a 504 plan or Individualized Education Program. Identifying an accurate diagnosis can help adolescents or adults with psychiatric disorders by uncovering emotional and relational issues that contribute to dysfunctional behaviors. Recognizing the impact of traumatic brain injury or dementia can help individuals, caregivers, and treatment providers identify the most appropriate supports to optimize independence. Our patients have often shared that the evaluation process provides relief and feelings of validation. Individuals and families often feel empowered as they discover the reasons they have always struggled as well as ways they can strengthen areas of weakness.
Some of the benefits available from assessment include:
- Attain a better understanding of yourself or your child
- Identify individual strengths and ways to build on those strengths
- Identify areas for growth and strategies to address weaknesses
- Develop specific recommendations that will promote success
- Improve academic, social, and emotional functioning
Individuals are referred for assessment for a variety of reasons. Individuals may be struggling with depression, anxiety, or anger. Children may be experiencing learning, behavioral, or social difficulties. Children and adults may be struggling with attention, organization, or memory. Individuals are often referred for assessment following a significant accident or injury to determine their current functioning.
A psychological and neuropsychological evaluation is different than a pass or fail test that you would typically study for. Rather it is a variety of relatively brief activities designed to provide an understanding of an individual's cognitive abilities, academic skills, language, executive functioning, fine and gross motor skills, social development, behavior, and emotional functioning. A comprehensive assessment typically include the following components:
- In-depth clinical interview with individual or parents to learn about history, strengths, symptoms, previous treatment attempts, etc.
- Observations of an individual's communication, social interactions, attention, and behavior throughout the assessment process.
- Completion of a variety of standardized assessments that are tailored to the individual's specific needs. Assessments are selected based on the individual's age, history, and specific referral question. Each test has been normed to allow the comparison of an individual's scores to other people of the same age.
- Review of medical, school, and legal records as necessary.
- Parents, teachers, or significant others are asked to complete rating forms to help provide a picture of an individual's functioning at home.
- School observations are conducted when necessary to obtain a more accurate understanding of the child's functioning in the classroom.
These types of assessments should be administered and interpreted by specially trained licensed psychologists. Test publishers specify qualifications and credentials necessary to administer, score, and interpret different types of psychological and educational assessments. Individuals who administer psychological and neuropsychological tests should have adequate psychometric and measurment knowledge including the selection of appropriate tests, reliability and measurement error, validty, test administration procedures, and normative interpretation of test scores. It is also essential that test users understand the impact of ethnic, racial, cultural, gender, age, educational, and linguistic characteristics on the selection, administration, and interpretation of tests.
It takes about two weeks after the final testing appointment to score all of the assessments, compile the data, and prepare a report summarizing the results. A review appointment will be scheduled with the individual or the child's parents to explain the results. We will discuss the test findings, strengths and areas for growth, and diagnosis if one is appropriate. After a thorough discussion of the assessment results, we will review recommendations that will promote growth and facilitate success. You will leave this appointment with suggestions, resources, and next steps.
The final report is given to you at the review appointment. You are welcome to share the report with whomever you like. We will keep a copy archived in a locked storage area. We cannot share any of your information without your permission due to strict rules of confidentiality. We can only share a copy of the evaluation if you give us written permission to do so. The only exception is if a judge makes a court order to obtain a copy of the evaluation.
Yes, we are in network with Tricare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming. To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount for assessment?
- How many assessment units does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
- Is pre-authorization required prior to beginning services?
We will also verify your benefits for you and submit claims on your behalf.
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychologist. Successful assessment requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is not discussed anywhere but the psychologist's office. We provide a written copy of our confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss during the assessment will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. However, it is important to remember that information you share may be written in the final assessment report if it is relevant to the overall clinical picture. It is then your decision whom you share the report with.
It is often beneficial for us to gather collateral information or speak with a third party such as a teacher, primary care physician, psychiatrist, or therapist. This enables us to obtain more information about an individual's functioning or treatment from other professionals. If you would like us to contact a third party, you can sign an authorization form, by which you grant us permission to contact a specific individual. By law we cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission in advance.
State law and professional ethics require psychologists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders.
* The psychologist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.
In the above situations, we will take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our client and others, including contacting law enforcement when appropriate.