At Graff Psychological Services, our psychological testing is informed by something called Therapeutic Assessment. This approach blends the best things about therapy, like creating emotional safety and helping clients make real changes in their lives, with the evidence, data, and systematic nature of testing. Below are three ways that this approach sets our testing apart.
Right from the start, I prioritize communication. I like to have a 15-minute phone call with anyone considering undergoing testing, either for their own information or because another provider has recommended it. If you are in this position, expect that I might ask you what you hope to learn, what your hopes are for the testing, and also what your fears are. Maybe you don’t have any fears about it (great!). But psychological testing is a unique experience – most people have not done this, or anything like it, before – so it’s understandable to feel anxious, and letting a psychologist examine you might feel daunting. I love when clients tell me how they are feeling upfront so I can address any specific worries, concerns, questions, or hesitations.
Additionally, throughout testing, you can expect a lot of communication about each next step as it comes. Allow that to give you permission to speak up if you need something.
Lastly, if you notice that I seem unwilling to tell you something (usually something about a test we are using), it is probably because I need to keep you in the dark on purpose. Sometimes, if I tell you information about test, it can affect the legitimacy of the results, meaning that we might not be able to trust that the results are accurate. Since I place a high priority on getting good data that can really help you, I may have be limited in what I can say sometimes. Please know that I am telling you as much as I can. Plus, learning how you respond to uncertainty could be an important piece of data that we incorporate later in the results.
Your wellbeing matters here. It’s important to me that your needs are taken care of. You will hear me ask if you got a good night’s sleep or if you have had a snack. Do you need a bathroom break? Maybe there’s a topic that’s hard for you to discuss. I want to know and respect your limits. If there are parts of your history that are painful, let’s go slowly and gather just the information that’s necessary and important…and then maybe take a break. If I’ve asked you to sit for awhile, let’s get up and stretch. Your comfort is important, so even if some moments in the assessment are difficult, I want to make the experience a positive one overall. And when you finish on a testing day, give yourself a chance to rejuvenate afterwards. You earned it!
I approach every feedback session as a chance to have a conversation, and your participation is vital. I am curious to know how you are responding to the information I am sharing. Does it sound right, based on your experience? How are you interpreting what you are hearing? My job is to make sense of the data that we gathered and share with you what I think the data says. You might have insight into exactly how the data fits for you. I can bring in information about what the field of psychology has learned through years of research, and you bring information about your life, your situation, your perspective. Let’s put our heads together.
Ultimately, the feedback you hear should be a combination of information you know about yourself, information you kind of thought might be true, and new information you’ve never considered before. After we’ve concluded our work together, it is often helpful to take the feedback to a therapist and continue the conversation.
While it may be a bit intimidating to undergo a psychological assessment, we can work together to make the experience positive, helpful, productive, and worthwhile. I want you to get the most out of it. Think of me as part of your dedicated treatment team, a group of trained, passionate professionals all pulling together to help you thrive.