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The Psychological Evaluation Process

Counselor taking notes during a psychological evaluation

A Comprehensive Assessment

In some of our recent blogs, we’ve been pulling back the curtain, so to speak, on some of the methods we use in the healing process. Upon admission to Creative Care, each client receives a comprehensive assessment by our expert staff. This creates a complete diagnostic picture and is essential to get to the roots of the issues that brought the client to our door. It also includes a psychological evaluation, and, since this can sound a little intimidating to the layperson, we’d like to explain what that means today.

Creating a Complete Diagnostic Picture

Simply put, a psychological evaluation will give our team a snapshot of a client’s emotional state. When a patient is feeling physically ill to the point of seeking medical attention, a doctor will run a battery of tests on that person. For example, if someone had unexplained fatigue, the doctor may run blood tests to check the patient’s iron or oxygen levels. On the other hand, if a patient had pain in their knee, the doctor might order an x-ray to see what was going on. A psychological evaluation works in a very similar manner.

An Example

The specifics of the evaluation will vary from case to case, but most include interviews, informal tests, questionnaires, and surveys. The information gives mental health professionals a much clearer idea of what’s going on. Sometimes, when a client joins us, the symptoms of their problem may be obvious while the underlying issues may be hidden. Other times, the client can be unaware of certain symptoms that could point to another issue entirely. Here is a fictional example to help elucidate these points:

A person goes to their family doctor with complaints of trouble sleeping and fatigue. They’re also experiencing a lack of appetite and digestive problems, and unexplained aches and pains. The doctor runs some tests, including some blood work, and determines that there is no physical cause to these ailments. However, because all of the person’s complaints are also symptoms of major depressive disorder, the doctor refers them to a mental health specialist.

During the course of the surveys, assessments, and interviews that comprise the psychological evaluation, the person reveals that they had lost a child several years ago. Furthermore, they also state that they have been drinking alcohol every night for the past few years as a means to combat insomnia. They’ve recently been experiencing blackouts due to the alcohol. However, they don’t want to discontinue use as it’s the only way they can get to sleep at night. The traumatic experience of losing a child and the problem drinking are two critical aspects that would have been glossed over without a proper psychological evaluation. This client is struggling with major depressive disorder as well as a co-occurring substance use disorder. And now that we’ve gotten to the roots of the problem, we can begin to devise strategies for healing.

Innovative, Creative Care

The psychological evaluations and assessments at Creative Care include:

  • Biopsychosocial evaluation
  • Mental Status Evaluation (MSE)
  • Initial Psychiatric Evaluation
  • Nursing evaluation
  • Record Review
  • Symptom Distress (OQ45.2), Depression (PHQ-9), and Attachment (ECR) questionnaires
  • MMPI, Millon, or PAI

We’ll get into some of the details of these in future blogs. And a psychological evaluation is just the beginning of the journey to mental health wellness at Creative Care. As part of our comprehensive, whole-person approach to mental health, we also offer individual and group counseling, medication, family or couples therapy, art therapy, and much more. If you or someone you love is struggling with your mental health, please consider giving Creative Care a call. Begin your journey to recovery today.