Psychological Testing and Assessment Paper

Psychological Testing and Assessment

There is a distinct relationship between psychological testing and assessment in conjunction with the DSM-IV. First, testing provides a systematic means of assessments that provide insight into the potential mental complications of a patient. Further, psychological testing provides a means of flexible evaluation which can better conform to the changing needs of the public. By providing flexibility in its approach to assessment, psychological testing can better adapt to changing and varying conditions within the mental health profession. Much like the internet, new health issues arise yearly with profound implications for the general public. Psychological testing and assessment attempts to abate or diminish the influence of these changing dynamics on the health profession and the community at large.

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What is case history data?

The American Heritage Medical Dictionary defines case history data as, “A detailed account of the facts affecting the development or condition of a person or group under treatment or study, especially in medicine, psychiatry, or psychology (1).” Case history, is very important in the overall preparation process as it provides insight into the individuals past experiences. These experiences, especially in regards to mental health aspects, can have a profound impact on the diagnosis of the individual. For example, in many cases of mental health complications, the individual suffering experienced traumatizing events in the past. These events include, rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence, war, and other difficult situations. The prevalence of these experiences and the complications that arise from these experiences, provides insight for the examiner to use in the overall diagnosis process.

What is a clinical interview?

A committee chair by pioneer Allen Frances created and published what is now known as DSM-IV. In it, Frances and his team of 27 helped identify nearly 300 disorders in a 900-page manual. The categorization of these disorders allowed for the identification of specific symptoms and their associated complications. A clinical interview is a method in which these disorders can be identified. These interviews can vary in their overall structure somewhat as the person administering the interview has certain inherent biases imbedded in the overall interview process. However, in many instances the clinical interview consists of a numerous components used to assess the victims potential medical condition. For instance, the introduction phase of the clinical interview has a profound impact on the overall success of the interview. During this phase, the interviewer usually attempts to establish rapport in a comfortable environment for the client. Some interviewers follow a certain standard procedure to avoid biases in determining a potential diagnosis. However, a balance between standardization and flexiblility is required for optimal results. This is phase is subsequently followed by opening phase. This phrase usually consists of various observations and activities. These activities as mentioned earlier vary depending on the individual who is administering the tests. The body of the clinical interview attempts to address the concerns of the client through these activities. Finally, the closing phase consists of a systematic shift from assessment to that of conclusion. Usually this phase consists of diagnosis and assessment of the client. In some instances however, especially with mental disorders, more information will be needed to make a better informed decision.

What is a mental status exam?

A mental status exam is the assessment of the patient’s cognitive ability, emotional mood, and speech. Much like the clinical interview, the mental status exam is key component in diagnosis. The examiner in this exam is looking to assess the individual’s attitude and his or her ability to answer questions in a dynamic and cogent manner. Through these tests, the examiner can better access the client’s extent of mental impairment. While the clinical interview provided the foundation for diagnosis, the mental status exam provides a more in-depth view as to the extent of this impairment. According to the medical dictionary, the assessment used in the mental status exam include, “include the person’s sense of time, place, and personal identity; memory; speech; general intellectual level; mathematical ability; insight or judgment; and reasoning or problem-solving ability (2)”

What is a psychological report?

Finally, the psychological report provides a summary of the information provided in the overall assessments and testing. Within the report, detailed information is provided as to the overall diagnosis as well as the justification for such diagnosis. The report begins with a purpose for the overall evaluation. This section usually introduces the patient and the problem that is plaguing him or her. This section provides the foundation for what will eventually be the body of the overall report. This will provide the reader with a focus, that can used throughout the entire duration of the report. The purpose is subsequently followed by the assessment procedures. This section simply highlights the tactics used to assess and diagnose the patient’s condition. This section is important because assessments can vary in how they are administered or conducted. This section attempts to highlight these differences so the reader can again determine the viability of the procedures used in the examiners assessment. Finally, the report concludes with a result and recommendation section. These sections are similar in that they both provide closure to the document. The results section highlights the outcomes of the assessment used throughout the testing process mentioned earlier. Through these assessments the examiner attempts to prove that the recommendation issued is justified.


1) “Clinical Interview (psychology) — Britannica Online Encyclopedia.” Encyclopedia – Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 26 Jan. 2012. .

2) “Psychological Report Format.” Untitled 1. Web. 26 Jan. 2012. .

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