In My Backyard
In My Backyard
Episode #22 - Psychological Testing in the Clinical Assessment

This week’s episode discusses one element of the mental health experience, standardized psychological testing in the clinical assessment.  

When an individual begins mental health treatment, any competent clinician regardless of discipline will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the client at the outset. This assessment generally includes a detailed interview of the client, and perhaps other interested parties such as parents and teachers. It will include what is said in the interviews, as well as data that the clinician observes. Observational data can include, for example, whether the client makes eye-contact, their affect, or emotional expression, if they seem agitated or depressed, or whether they are cleanly and appropriately dressed. There might be informal questionnaires, school or medical records and perhaps a referral for a medical examination. These assessments are essential to understand what is troubling a client, what might be an appropriate mental health diagnosis and how treatment should be structured to be most useful. 

According to the American Psychological Association, or APA, standardized psychological testing is related to but separate from the clinical assessment. It may be administered as part of clinical assessment, particularly when there is some question about appropriate diagnosis. Psychological testing may also be used to test the suitability for a job, or to predict future academic abilities.  

Today Tricia speaks with Dr. Dawn Vo-Jutabha, Chief Clinical Officer of The Guidance Center. Dawn earned her doctorate in clinical psychology with an emphasis in children and families from Clark University in 2005. Since then, she has dedicated herself to working with underserved children and families in community mental health. In addition to her role at The Guidance Center, Dawn has also held multiple leadership positions in her field. These include the Co-Chair of the Southern California Association of Psychology Training Programs, committee member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Programs and a membership on the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation.  

In My Backyard is brought to you by The Guidance Center, a children’s mental health agency in Long Beach, CA. In My Backyard is produced by Tricia Costales and Matthew Murray. Thank you to Jay Vincent B for original music. All other music licensed through SoundStripe. Thank you to our listeners and supporters.

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