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What's the difference between an assessment and treatment with a Psychologist?

Beginning your journey to focus on mental health can be an overwhelming process. Terms such as “assessment” and “treatment” may seem quite straightforward, but what do they actually entail?

Psychological assessment and treatments are two distinct but interconnected aspects of mental health care. Let's explore each of them.

Seeking an assessment and treatment with a Psychologist
Seeking an assessment and treatment with a Psychologist

Psychological Assessment

Assessment involves the systematic evaluation and measurement of an individual's psychological, emotional, cognitive, and behavioural functioning. This means that we use a methodical, organised and structured approach to achieve a particular goal or outcome, such as a formal diagnosis.

The goal of assessment is to gather information to better understand a person's mental health concerns, strengths, and needs. This process typically involves:

  1. Diagnosis: Assessments can help diagnose mental health disorders by identifying symptoms and patterns of behaviours that align with specific conditions.

  2. Evaluation: We use various tools such as interviews, questionnaires, standardised tests, and observations to gather data about an individual's thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and overall functioning.

  3. Clarification: Assessment can help clarify the underlying causes of distress, which is important for developing an effective treatment plan.

  4. Baseline: It establishes a baseline of an individual's mental health status, which is useful for tracking progress during treatment.

In particular, diagnoses for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ADHD, intellectual abilities, and levels of adaptive functioning require formal assessment. These assessment sessions will first involve an initial interview with your psychologist. Afterwards, subsequent formal testing using standardised assessment tools will be conducted – the number of these testing sessions may vary depending on the type of assessment being done. After the initial interview, your psychologist will inform you of what the next steps for the assessment process are.

Psychological assessment also provides you with a completed report based on the entirety and findings of the assessment. This may take a couple of weeks to be completed as we thoroughly score, measure, analyse, and integrate the findings of your assessment. Once the report is completed, your psychologist will then invite you in again for a feedback session where they will be presenting and discussing the results of the report with you, and give you an opportunity to clarify and ask any questions.

Psychological Treatment

While psychological treatment also begins with an assessment (usually an interview), psychological treatment (also referred to as therapy or counselling) involves interventions aimed at improving an individual's mental health and wellbeing. Psychological treatment, the number of sessions, and frequency of sessions will depend on the individual's needs, symptoms, and preferences.

Some common types of psychological treatment include:

  1. Supportive Therapy

  2. Evidence-based modalities

  3. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

After your initial interview, your psychologist will discuss which psychological treatment will be most suitable for your needs!

In summary, psychological assessment is the process of gathering information about an individual's mental health status, while psychological treatment involves interventions aimed at improving mental health and wellbeing.

Both assessment and treatment are provided by our team of psychologists at The Mind Body Practice. If you’re unsure which one you may need, that’s okay. We can help you determine whether an assessment, treatment, or a combination of both is appropriate for your situation. Our team of highly skilled and well-experienced psychologists are here to help. Reach out to us through email or phone and we can figure it out together!


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