Benefits Of A Psych Evaluation

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated June 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Gaining insight into your mental health may be a valuable way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A psychological evaluation, often referred to as a psych eval, may help you answer questions regarding your mental well-being. Whether you're seeking treatment for a mental health disorder or seeking insight into your personality, a psychological evaluation can allow you to find effective treatment options. 

While they may serve a similar purpose, a psychiatric evaluation is different from a psychological (psych) evaluation. Some situations may call for a psychiatric evaluation, but these can involve separate processes, professionals, and determinations of treatment. 

Psychologists conduct psychological testing to diagnose mental health conditions and provide treatment options. These tests might help individuals clarify their symptoms and behaviors, identify any underlying psychological concerns, and develop strategies to manage them. Psych evaluations might also help identify potential risk factors, allowing for early intervention and treatment. Learning how a psych assessment might benefit you can be a first step in the process of understanding your mental health.

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Types of psychological evaluations

Below are a few of the primary types of psychological examinations and how they are performed. 

Clinical interviews

A clinical interview, which can now also be conducted through an online psychological evaluation, may involve a conversation between a mental health professional and a client. The purpose of this is to gather information the professional can use to assess the client’s mental well-being. It could occur during a therapy session or as a standalone appointment. Often, clinical psychologists perform these interviews. 

During the interview, the professional may ask about your medical history, family history, symptoms, and behavior. They may also ask about other aspects of your personal history if they believe it will help the assessment process. This information might be used to get an idea of your current mental status, form a diagnosis, and determine treatment options. Individuals may sometimes attend several interviews or sessions before receiving an accurate diagnosis from a mental health professional. 

Psychological tests

Psychological tests are a standardized method of measuring certain aspects of an individual's mental health and behavior. These tests might include self-report measures, projective tests, and objective tests. Self-report measures are questionnaires asking the individual to rate their symptoms and behaviors. 

Projective tests involve presenting the individual with ambiguous stimuli and asking them to interpret or describe them. Part of the assessment process may involve a patient being asked to respond to an image or a word during projective tests psychology. The Rorschach inkblot test is an example of a projective test. Objective tests include tests of intelligence, memory, and other cognitive abilities. Other tests you may have heard of can fall under the definition of objective test (one example being the intelligence quotient or “IQ” test.)

Neuropsychological assessments

Neuropsychological testing may be used to evaluate the relationship between the brain and behavior. These assessments may include tests of cognitive abilities and intellectual functioning, such as tests on memory, attention, language, motor skills, and coordination. They might also include a physical exam or test, like a brain scan. In some cases, neuropsychological assessments are provided along with psychological testing to check for certain symptoms, common mental health conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or the presence of a physical disorder.  

Behavioral observation

Behavioral observation assesses an individual's behavior in a naturalistic setting and can help determine whether they have an increased sensitivity when subjected to certain stimuli. This type of psych evaluation might include observing an individual in their home, school, or work environment. Observation could provide insight into how an individual's behavior may impact their daily lives and relationships between family members, colleagues, and other individuals.

Each type of psych evaluation may be unique and has its strengths and limitations. Mental health professionals may often use a combination of these methods to gather a complete understanding of an individual's mental health and develop an appropriate treatment plan if therapy is going to be completed.

How much does a psychological evaluation cost?

The cost of a psych evaluation can vary depending on which type you utilize, how many sessions you attend, and what conditions you are testing for. Some tests, like neuropsychological testing, may not be covered by insurance and can be costly. Diagnostic testing or interviewing by a counselor or therapist may be covered. However, reach out to your insurance plan to learn more. 

According to Forbes, regular therapy sessions in an in-person setting range from $100 to $200 per session. Official neuropsychological testing or psychological assessments can cost from $100 to a few thousand dollars. The price can depend on the institution or provider you visit and your location. Pricing may be cheaper if you sign up for psychological testing through a university's clinical student psychological program. 

The benefits of psych evaluations

A psych evaluation may provide a few benefits. By gaining more significant insight into your mental health, you may be able to make any necessary changes to inspire a healthier lifestyle.

A few benefits of psych evaluations might include the following:

  • An improved understanding and awareness of mental health issues
  • The option to identify and treat any underlying psychological symptoms or issues
  • Enhanced ability to manage symptoms or behaviors more effectively
  • The ability to identify risk factors to prevent future problems from arising
  • The development of strategies for coping and problem-solving
  • More significant self-awareness and insight into one's thoughts, feelings, and behavior
  • The opportunity to improve relationships between yourself, family members, and other loved ones

Understanding the results of a psych evaluation

If you have received the results of a psych evaluation, you may wonder how to interpret them. Below are some tips. 

Interpreting psych evaluations

The results of a psych evaluation may be difficult to interpret on your own. A mental health professional might guide you in interpreting the results to aid personal growth and development. Often, they use the MMPI test to assess if you have a mental disorder. You can also perform research on the form of test you completed and the mental health conditions or symptoms you have been diagnosed with. The DSM-5 can tell you more about how each condition's diagnostic criteria work. 

Using psych evaluations for self-improvement

Psychological evaluations may be used to understand your strengths and weaknesses, set goals, create strategies for progress, and monitor progress over time. They may also help determine the areas where additional support or treatment may be needed. Psych evaluations may help clients understand mental health issues and be used as part of a self-improvement plan. With appropriate resources and guidance, psychological evaluations might provide valuable insight into your mental health and behavior to support personal growth and development. Even if you choose not to pursue any sort of mental health treatment, the results from a psych evaluation can be beneficial.

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Disclaimer on psychological evaluations 

A psychological evaluation should be completed by a licensed mental health provider or doctor like a psychiatrist. Online medical tests and casual testing do not replace the advice of one of these professionals. Additionally, reading your results on your own may result in confusion or misinterpretation. Depending on the nature of your evaluation, your physical health may not be taken into account. If you have a physical health condition that you believe could be contributing to your psychological state, it's important you share those with your physician and the mental health professional who is completing your assessment. You may also want to consider a psychiatric assessment, which may place more focus on physical health when it comes to determining treatment options. 

Consider speaking to a mental health professional who can provide you with guidance and support as you work toward your goals. If you are struggling with mental health issues or seeking self-improvement, it may be best to consult a qualified mental health provider to discuss your treatment options. 

Counseling options 

Psychological evaluations serve, in some cases, as valuable tools for learning more about your mental health. However, they may sound intimidating, and can often be expensive. Some individuals may prefer to find support through counseling, with or without a diagnosis. You can try counseling in person or online. 

Online therapy can allow individuals to talk about their thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms, and behaviors in a safe and discreet setting. You can attend video, phone, or live chat sessions with a licensed therapist through online counseling. Research has shown that online therapy may be an effective method of addressing symptoms of mental health conditions, including conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, or an eating disorder. One Knechtel study found that individuals who used online therapy reported feelings of self-efficacy regarding their mental health, as well as improved satisfaction with the quality of care received.

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Counselor reviews

Online therapy can be a beneficial resource for individuals seeking to understand their mental health and behavior and gain coping mechanisms to use in the future. If you're interested in learning more, consider signing up for a platform like BetterHelp, which offers over 30,000 licensed counselors and mental health providers based on your needs, preferences, and location. Note that BetterHelp does not offer psychological evaluations, diagnosis, or medication support. However, you can discuss your symptoms with a therapist and work through a treatment plan to help improve your mental health condition. 

“I’ve worked with Jamie for a number of months, and he’s helped me with everything that life has thrown my way. Difficulty in work, my relationship, and other stresses that I’ve struggled to navigate by myself. He listens, and he helps. I always feel validated and supported. He gives me tools and perspectives that have made a big difference in my overall happiness.”

Takeaway

Although the act of seeking out therapy and getting an initial diagnosis can seem daunting, letting your mental health symptoms go untreated may have a negative impact. Taking the first steps and connecting with a counselor could open the path to treatment and self-sufficiency. If you're interested in learning more and possibly improving your symptoms, consider reaching out to a therapist or psychological professional for further guidance and support. 

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