The realm of psychological testing is broad and complicated. The range of emotions and behaviors humans experience is just as vast and complicated, so it’s only fitting that the field of psychological testing mirrors that. You may have taken some kind of psychological testing without even realizing it. The quizzes found in newsstand magazines are examples of this kind of assessment as are college exams, in a way.
Any one or more of the psychological tests available are hugely beneficial to psychologists and counselors, and to you. For example, if you’re considering treatment for a mental illness or a substance abuse problem, psychological evaluations can help to better develop a treatment plan and assist clinicians in understanding your vantage point.
More About Psychological Evaluations
Successful psychological evaluations must be able to observe and measure a behavior of someone. These behaviors must in turn be used to measure some attribute of one’s personality, like paranoia, intelligence, or hostility. These test assess the strengths and weaknesses of those traits and how they relate to someone’s personality, behavior, and intelligence. While they cannot determine the future or potential of a person, they do gauge the person’s “present functioning,” according to PsychCentral.
Kinds of Psychological Testing
Like those quizzes in magazines and “pencil-and-paper” tests, there are other methods used in psychological evaluations. They come in computerized versions, picture formats, verbal interviews, and in observing someone in a natural environment. There are four primary types of tests that cover main components of a person’s psyche:
- Clinical interview. The clinical interview can also be known as an admission, diagnostic, or intake test. Generally, they are administered at the onset of treatment plans or therapies in order for the psychologist to gain a better understanding of the individual’s situation. They don’t take long, maybe a couple hours at the most, and are used to glean information about family and personal background.
- Assessment of intellectual functioning (IQ). These types of evaluations don’t necessarily measure one’s actual intelligence, but they do indicate general intelligence. PsychCentral notes two kinds of these tests: neuropsychological and intelligence. Neuropsychological assessments are typically administered to measure cognitive abilities after a person has suffered brain damage or abnormalities. Intelligence tests are the most common and help to determine cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
Perhaps the most well-known intelligence test is the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV). Comprising of a variety of questions that measure verbal, performance, and full-scale intelligence, WAIS-IV is helpful from both an educational and scientific perspective.
- Personality assessments. Evaluations like these can help psychologists better diagnose and comprehend mental illness. Personality assessments can be objective or projective. Objective tests like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2) and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory – III (MCMI-III) are the most commonly used and help to identify a dysfunction within a person’s personality. Projective tests, on the other hand, are very beneficial in helping psychologists to diagnose a person with a mental illness.
The infamous Rorschach Inkblot test evaluates personality characteristics in children and adults. Finding images out of inkblots may seem silly, but it does serve a purpose. By describing what you see and how you feel about the images, psychologists can determine thought disturbances and get a more detailed view of your personality.
- Behavioral assessments. This often involves observing a person in a natural or comfortable setting and then examining those behaviors. Behavioral assessments are great in helping to understand addictions and how certain triggers incite a particular response. Self-monitoring methods like journaling can be useful in understanding a person’s behaviors as well.
Psychological tests are invaluable to addiction and mental health treatment. By administering assessments like those mentioned above, clinicians and psychologists can learn more about you. Especially if you’re enrolled in or are considering treatment for a mental illness or substance abuse problem, these tests can only be advantageous to your recovery. Call FRN today to learn more about how psychological testing can benefit you.
David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.
Reviewed by: Kim Chin and Marian Newton