Many people are unaware of the usefulness of psychological testing, or they confuse psychological assessment with a simple clinical interview. In fact, psychological testing can be greatly beneficial to treatment because questionnaires, computer-based instruments, interactive tests, and visual/expressive tests can clarify clients’ issues and identify the best course of treatment much more quickly and efficiently than interviews alone. Often, therapists and psychiatrists refer clients to Sankofa for an assessment to help them gain a better understanding of their treatment process. Not only do assessment findings help therapists and psychiatrists work more effectively, clients consistently report that the process of assessment helps them improve their understanding of themselves and others.
Sankofa psychologists and psychodiagnostic technicians are proficient in recognizing when psychological assessment will be useful and determining the type and level of testing required. Some common reasons for psychological testing are described below.
Mental Health Testing
Emotional and Psychological Testing for Mood, Anxiety, and Interpersonal Difficulties
Clients or their therapists request psychological assessment at the beginning of treatment or when treatment progress has stalled. In the beginning of treatment, assessment is most useful for identifying goals for therapy and examining which types of treatment will be the best fit for a client. Sometimes, clients find that they have addressed many concerns in therapy but still feel that their general functioning and well-being is not improving. In this case of stalled progress, psychological testing is useful to determine what kinds of emotional and personality traits might be impeding the process of treatment, and consult with the client and therapist to determine what next steps will be most helpful.
Complicated Psychiatric Diagnosis
With the advances in psychiatry over the past several decades, accurate diagnosis is essential to proper medication of psychological issues. In particular, clients who may qualify for multiple diagnoses (e.g., Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) or unconventional presentations of psychiatric disorders (e.g., Bipolar Disorder in a person who is experiencing cultural and environmental factors) are especially vulnerable to misdiagnosis and incorrect medication. Clients often self-refer, or psychiatrists request psychological evaluations to clarify symptoms, the influence of situational factors, and the impact of family or interpersonal issues. Psychological assessment for complicated psychiatric diagnosis is available for clients of all ages, and Sankofa staff collaborate with families, teachers, and other healthcare providers to gather information from multiple perspectives.
Neurologists and primary care physicians often refer clients who are experiencing problems with memory, attention, or learning to complete cognitive testing to get a better understanding of how a medical or neurological disorder is impacting cognitive functioning. The results of the cognitive tests are used to provide recommendations and available treatment options to you and your family that are geared toward optimizing quality of life across work, home, and community settings.
Sankofa offers the option of combining cognitive testing with emotional tests to determine how these factors interact and impact functioning.
Referrals are commonly made for the following:
Adult Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD
Educational and Career Accommodations
Dementia (now called Major Neurocognitive Disorder) and Mild Cognitive Impairment (now called Minor Neurocognitive Disorder)
Complex Medical Conditions
– Concussion or Post-Concussive Syndrome
– Traumatic Brain Injury
– Psychogenic Amnesia
– HIV/AIDS related cognitive decline
Full Psychological Evaluations for Military, Federal Aviation Administration, and Civil Service Fitness-of-Duty
Sankofa psychologists are experienced in performing Fitness-for-Duty evaluations for a variety of professions and activities. After an illness, injury, or serious personal issue, individuals who serve as emergency first responders, security personnel, medical care providers, and those who operate vehicles or heavy machinery are often required to submit to a psychological evaluation before returning to activities. Employers may refer employees to Sankofa, or employees may self-refer if they require a second opinion with regards to another fitness for duty assessment. The transition from the military to civilian life for veterans can be difficult. Psychological evaluations can help veterans translate their military skills to the civilian sector and help veterans identify careers and work settings where they would flourish. Veterans and those involved with the Federal Aviation Administration are encouraged to call to find out more about potential evaluations through Sankofa.