The study of understanding, interpreting, and classifying the multitude of characteristics of human behavior is known as psychology. Psychologists study and work at comprehending the role of mental functions in a person’s behavior. Attention, perception, motivation, cognition, personality, interpersonal relationships, emotion, and behavior are just some of the concepts explored by psychologists. Within the field of psychology, many processes and methods have been established and standardized to recognize, evaluate, and treat abnormal behavioral conditions, mental illness, and mental disorders. Among those methods is the psychological evaluation.
A psychological evaluation is a type of independent medical evaluation in which the focus of the evaluation is on the psychological functionality of the individual being assessed. Neutral physicians—meaning the physician has no relationship of any kind with the individual being assessed—conduct these types of psychological evaluations in order to guarantee the evaluation is as nonbiased as possible. A nonbiased physician will not advocate for either party, and the final opinion will therefore be as fair as possible.
Insurance companies and employers request certain individuals to get a psychological evaluation for various reasons. Insurance companies sometimes need an individual to have a psychological evaluation to evaluate the status of the individual’s disability. Employers will request that an employee have a psychological evaluation to determine the workers’ compensation benefits the employee is entitled to after a work-related incident occurs. Some job positions, such as law enforcement, require applicants to pass a psychological evaluation before they can be hired for employment.
Included in a psychological evaluation is an analysis of the individual’s medical records, a medical interview, a behavioral observation of the individual, and any psychological tests that the psychologists may order. Once the evaluation is complete, the psychologist writes a final report that includes any findings and recommendations for treatments, if any. The final report also addresses any concerns initially expressed by the referral source. The psychologist’s role is only to assess the individual, provide an unbiased opinion of their psychological state, and to make any treatment recommendations necessary; the psychologist does not provide the actual treatment of the individual’s condition.
In order to detect and evaluate the extent of the presence of mental disorder, mental distress, or abnormal behavioral problems in the individual, the psychologist uses specialized diagnostic procedures. These tests are performed during a psychological evaluation and use written, oral, and projective instruments to help evaluate the individual’s mental processes that can impact their behavior. The psychologist recommends the treatment most appropriate at the conclusion of the psychological evaluation.
A copy of the final report of the psychological evaluation is given to the individual, the referral source, and other parties involved.