In the fast-paced contemporary world, individuals are compelled to grapple with a variety of mental pressures as they undertake their day-to-day activities. Consequently, mental illnesses and other psychological disorders have become prevalent across the world. This development has made psychological testing and assessment an essential element of healthcare. However, contrary to the notion that only people who are suspected of mental illness are the ones who require psychological testing and assessment, those who think they are mentally healthy also need to undergo this process.
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This need stems from the fact that psychological testing does not only provide a basis for the diagnosis of mental illness, but also provides a basis for understanding individual behavior, personality differences, and gauging people’s abilities (Kessler, 2009). Therefore, this essay explores the concept of psychological testing and assessment in a bid to find out how counselors select the kind of psychological tests to administer, the factors they consider when doing so, and how they evaluate the appropriateness of the selected tests.
What resources are available to assist counselors in selecting psychological tests and/or assessments?
As already pointed out, psychological tests are important and are a significant influence on the lives of individuals. More often than not, the type of psychological test selected determines the outcome of treatment. Therefore, choosing inappropriate tests can easily jeopardize the overall objective of the test (Cohen, Swerdlik & Sturman, 2013). It is, therefore, imperative that counselors adopt a practice of cautiously weighing options prior to selecting a psychological test to administer to a client. According to Greene (2011), multiple resources are at the disposal of counselors for use in the selection of appropriate psychological tests. Outlined below are a few examples.
Client’s past records
This resource offers useful information about a client’s history. As a result, counselors should always use it before selecting a psychological test. The importance of a client’s history during the selection of psychological tests stems from the fact that it tells whether the client had previously undergone any psychological examination (Greene, 2011). Such information helps psychologists to avoid repetition of similar tests, as the results are unlikely to yield new information (Foster, 2010).
A sizable body of literature exists on this subject. Therefore, counselors should strive to ensure that they refer to the most relevant literature since some of the publications focus on specific areas of psychological testing. For example, Greene (2011) identifies the Mental Measurements Yearbook, Tests: A Comprehensive Reference for Assessment in Psychology, Education, and Business, and Measures for Clinical Practice: A Sourcebook as landmark publications that counselors can refer to when selecting a psychological test to administer. Since most health-related publications are evidence-based, they can effectively serve this purpose.
Counselors can also base their test selection on referral information. In most cases, practitioners who refer clients to other specialists have first-hand information about the client (Scroggins, Thomas & Morris, 2008). They are often people who know the client on a personal level. As such, the information they have about the client goes beyond what they obtain from interviews. Therefore, referral information can serve as a strong basis for selecting a psychological test. Although many other examples exist, these three will suffice for this essay.
What are four to five important issues a counselor should consider when selecting a psychological test for a client?
Counselors do not spontaneously select psychological tests for clients. It is important that the selected tests take salient issues that are likely to affect the outcome into consideration. Some of these issues include the following.
It takes into consideration the consistency of the test under the same environment in order to achieve effective testing performance. Standardized tests can be used in different places without the need for redoing assessment each time a client visits a new psychological facility (Grieve, 2012).
The test’s scoring should be free of any subjective biases. Objectivity ensures that tests offer unbiased results and that the results serve the best interest of the client (Foster, 2010).
A good test should yield consistent results for multiple tests. Tests that show different results for the same cases are unreliable and should be avoided (Foster, 2010). Counselors remain conscious of this fact when selecting a test.
The test should be able to measure the intended parameter. Tests that offer results other than those intended should not be used for diagnosis (Foster, 2010). Their results cannot be used to assist the client.
How can a counselor determine that a specific test is an appropriate test for a client?
Determining the most appropriate tests for any given client is a difficult task. However, the suitability of tests largely depends on the ability of the test to yield the desired results, its ease of implementation, and urgency (Cohen, Swerdlik & Sturman, 2013). Some tests take long before giving results. Therefore, it is important that the recommended tests take into consideration the urgency with which the results are needed. Additionally, an appropriate test should consider the economic ability of a client. If a counselor selects a test that is outside a client’s economic ability, it is as good as not prescribing a test at all (Kessler, 2009).
In conclusion, it is important that counselors consider multiple factors before selecting an appropriate test. Counselors should remain conscious of the fact that prescribing a wrong test can easily change a client’s life negatively as it can lead to a wrong diagnosis and, eventually, a wrong treatment approach. It is prudent that counselors be cautious to ensure that clients are only subjected to the most appropriate and relevant tests.
Cohen, R.J., Swerdlik, M.E., &Sturman, E.D. (2013). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to test and measurement (8thed). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies.
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GREENE, R. L. (2011). Some considerations for enhancing psychological assessment. Journal of Personality Assessment, 93(3), 198-203.
Foster, D. F. (2010). Worldwide testing and test security issues: Ethical challenges and solutions. Ethics & Behavior, 20(3/4), 207-228.
Kessler, R. (2009). Identifying and screening for psychological and comorbid medical and psychological disorders in medical settings. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(3), 253-267.
Scroggins, W. A., Thomas, S. L., & Morris, J. A. (2008). Psychological testing in personnel selection, Part I: A Century of psychological testing. Public Personnel Management, 37(1), 99-109.
Grieve, R. (2012). The Role of personality, psychopathy, and previous experience with assessment in intentions to fake in psychological testing. Current Psychology, 31(4), 414-422.