Psychological Testing

by Alan Brandis, Ph.D.

It is generally considered to be true that psychologists are the best-trained, best-qualified professionals to administer, score and interpret psychological tests. At one time, in the early years of the profession, that was mostly what psychologists did, and most of the tests available today were developed by psychologists.

The administration, scoring and interpretation of psychological tests can benefit the patient in several specific ways. First, it can shorten the time spent in trying different approaches to solving a problem, since it can often accurately pinpoint the emotional dynamics which are leading to the symptoms. Second, it can highlight areas of relative strength and ability so that these can be used as the basis of effective solutions.

Third, psychological testing helps determine specific areas of difficulty, quantifies (gives a numerical value to) the severity of the problem, and creates a reference (baseline) which can be used later on to measure progress (by re-testing and comparing the earlier and later scores).

Problem areas which can benefit by psychological testing as a part of treatment include Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Chronic Pain Syndrome, Depression, and Anxiety and Panic Disorders.

For children or adults with academic performance problems, Educational and Achievement Testing can provide a "snapshot" of current strengths, abilities and weaknesses, showing where extra effort needs to be applied, and can point towards effective ways to compensate for areas of lower ability.

In Career Counseling, testing can identify areas of interest, aptitudes for various types of work, and compatibilities with different work environments. In addition, employee selection, performance evaluation, and team building in the business environment always begin with systematic assessment procedures.

Marriage Counseling, as well as Custody Evaluations, often utilize psychological tests to identify personality traits and attitudes which may lead towards compatibility or conflict between partners, or between parents and children.

Atlanta Area Psychological Associates provides a comprehensive psychological testing service, including intelligence and personality testing, learning disability testing, two specialized computerized tests for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, family and relationship assessment, educational and achievement testing, and neuropsychological testing to assess possible brain impairment.

Intelligence and Personality Testing includes such tools as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale - Revised, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale For Children - III, The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Intelligence Scale - Revised, The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory - 2, The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory - Adolescent, The Rorschach Inkblot Test, the Thematic Apperception Test, The 16-PF, The Beck Depression Inventory, and many others too numerous to mention.

Educational and Achievement Testing includes the Wide Range Achievement Test, The Test of Written Language, the Wechsler Intermediate Achievement Test, and many others.

Neuropsychological Testing has as its centerpiece the Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery, a comprehensive test of brain functions which (in the hands of a skilled administrator/interpreter) can pinpoint the location of brain damage, as well as point the way towards effective rehabilitation stategies. Included in this category are various screening tests such as the Wechsler Memory Scale, the Bender-Gestalt Visual Motor Test, the Test of Visual-Motor Integration and the Luria-Nebraska Screening Test.

Our two tests for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the Test of Variables of Attention and the Intermediate Visual and Auditory Continuous Performance Test, were specifically designed to assess the presence and severity of this disorder. Knowing the specific level of severity is especially useful when trying to determine if medication is really increasing the patient's ability to pay attention, since we can test before and after the medication is given.

Please ask your psychologist about the benefits of psychological testing and whether it might be helpful in your situation.