A psychodiagnostic assessment is a type of specialized assessment that is used to determine whether someone’s mental health symptoms match the specific criteria for any mental disorder, including disorders related to psychosis, mood, anxiety, trauma, impulse control, substance use, and personality. Psychodiagnostic assessments go beyond simply listing all the individual symptoms that someone is experiencing by offering diagnostic labels to summarize a group of symptoms that tend to occur together. For example, the diagnosis of major depressive disorder could be used to summarize someone’s symptoms of low mood, poor concentration, difficulty sleeping, feelings of worthlessness, and low appetite.
What happens during a psychodiagnostic assessment?
These assessments always involve a clinical interview with the client, which in comparison to a regular intake assessment, covers a broader range of symptoms and goes into greater detail about the nature, course, and severity of these symptoms. On a case-by-case basis, additional sources of information may also be integrated as necessary. For example, clients might be asked to complete standardized questionnaires about their experiences, which provide information about how clients’ symptoms compare to those of others.
Other times, clients may have had prior contact with other clinicians (e.g., family doctor, prior therapist), whose clinical notes can be accessed and reviewed to get a sense of how long symptoms have been present or how the symptoms have varied in different settings.
In some cases, clients may identify trusted people in their lives who could also be interviewed to provide an outside perspective on the clients’ emotional or behavioural patterns.
At ThinkWell CBT, the decision about which sources of information to incorporate in a psychodiagnostic assessment is made collaboratively with the client based on the goals they identify during the informed consent process and the needs they identify during the screening process
Who completes psychodiagnostic assessments?
In Ontario, the act of communicating a diagnosis of a mental illness is a “controlled act.” In other words, there is legislation in place to restrict who is allowed to communicate a diagnosis because this activity has the potential to harm the person being assessed if the diagnosis is communicated by an unqualified person. In Ontario, the only professionals who are deemed qualified to communicate a diagnosis of a mental illness are psychologists, physicians, and nurse practitioners.
What are the benefits to a psychodiagnostic assessment? Why not just do the regular intake assessment?
There are many benefits of beginning services with a psychodiagnostic assessment. Most notably, much of the research that therapists use to guide their treatment recommendations has been conducted by grouping people based on their diagnosis and seeing which people, with which diagnoses, respond best to which treatments. Therefore, by knowing whether you meet criteria for specific mental illnesses, your therapist will have a head start in recommending a treatment for you that has worked for other people with similar concerns, and your therapist will be able to give you a better sense of how long it could take for you to start feeling better.
Another benefit of psychodiagnostic assessments is that a lot of people find that having a name for their difficulties provides a sense of hope because it means that other people have had what they have and that they’re not alone.
Finally, having a diagnosis can also open doors for services: sometimes a diagnosis may be needed to access extended healthcare plans or to be eligible to participate in certain community-based treatment programs.
What does it cost for a psychodiagnostic assessment?
Psychodiagnostic assessments range in price—typically between $900 to $2,800—depending on the complexity of your mental health needs and the level of detail you require in the written report. In order for us to be able to provide you with the price of a psychodiagnostic assessment in your unique situation, you will be asked to complete some screening questionnaires through our secure online portal. There is a fee of $95 to complete this screening process, but this fee is credited to your final invoice if you decide to proceed with the psychodiagnostic assessment. There is no cost for scheduling a telephone call for you to gather more information about the psychodiagnostic assessment process.
How do I get started?
To begin a psychodiagnostic assessment, head to our booking portal to schedule your free telephone meeting to discuss the process. Upon booking, you will be sent some written material to review ahead of your scheduled phone call. During the phone call, you will discuss the purpose, risks, and benefits of the psychodiagnostic assessment, as well as the procedures involved. If you consent to move forward with the assessment, you will be sent a secure link to complete the screening questionnaires. Within one week of your completion of the screening process, we will review the information you provided, advise you of the cost of your assessment, and schedule your assessment should you wish to move forward.
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