Psychology students are most likely interested in how to write a psychological assessment report. We do not consider our way of writing a psychological assessment to be perfect. However, this method can be convenient to you. You can write the assessment in a dozen other ways, but our method is good as well.
How to Write an Assessment Report for Psychological Students
The assessment report is written in the following cases:
- At the official request of third-party organizations and to provide it to these organizations. The most typical cases are for investigative bodies, lawyers, the court, the employer, and the psychiatrist.
- At the request of enthusiasts of psychological self-knowledge and self-help. Typically, these people are interested in specific psychological characteristics of their personality – for example, the general level of creativity, as well as specific talents and abilities, before choosing a place to study, or when changing a profession. It is better for a person to know his or her own strengths and weaknesses before investing time and money in himself/herself and in a new profession. Couples can also request such an assessment before making a decision about living together or before creating a family. They are interested in psychological compatibility and hidden traits in the psyche of each other. Of course, you can live a happy family life without any preliminary testing, but the fact that people do not want to rely on random luck in choosing a life partner is a beneficial quality. Alas, love is not always a guarantee of psychological compatibility or mental normality. Also, sometimes people with an existential crisis seek a professional assessment before choosing a further course of life, as they would like to objectively look at themselves from the eyes of an expert psychologist. In general, cases are different; there are many cases, and for most of these people, the assessment of a psychologist is helpful.
- For further psycho-correction and psychotherapy of the client who applied to the psychologist. The information told by the client is also sometimes insufficient. The client might not remember something, does not negotiate something, lies, or does not realize something; in general, the information basically cannot be told because it is very deep and personal. The psychologist will conduct psychological diagnostics (psychodiagnostics) on the basis of the data obtained, write an assessment, and using the results of this assessment, conduct further procedures: counseling, psychocorrection and psychotherapy, psychological training, etc. The advantage of this approach is that psychological diagnostics give the psychologist objective data on the identity of the client. The effect of the client’s conscious or unconscious lies is reduced, the psychologist’s own subjectivity decreases, and the quality and quantity of information increases, which improves the psychologist’s ability to help the client.
The Basis for Writing a Psychological Assessment Report
The assessment report of the psychologist is written on the basis of a strict psychodiagnostic examination of the client, compiled and conducted according to particular rules. It is impossible to write the assessment on the basis of the psychologist’s subjective view of the client after psychological counseling. It is technically possible to write it, but the value of such a psychological opinion tends to be zero. The subjectivism of the psychologist, multiplied by laziness, will naturally lead to an inaccurate assessment.
At the departments of psychology, we strongly recommend studying psychodiagnostics for anyone interested in writing a high-quality psychological assessment. We will focus on the main points:
- Do not use non-professional (amateur) tests. They are good for entertainment, but the value and availability of psychodiagnostic information obtained through non-professional tests tends to be nonexistent. A psychologist who respects himself or herself and the client does not use non-professional tests.
- Do not complete the tests in inappropriate conditions: between work, at home, etc. Any normal person can easily be declared insane if you show him or her tests in inappropriate conditions and at the wrong time. You will not get accurate and valid results if you fill out tests in the wrong conditions.
- There is not a single test in the world on the basis of which a person can make a correct psychological diagnosis and write a correct psychological assessment report. Yes, all this can be done, but only on the basis of a set of psychodiagnostic methods – for example, a set of tests, consisting of 12-15 correctly selected tests for each other. The ability to compile the correct target set of tests, present it to the client, obtain reliable data suitable for further work, process this data, write the psychologist’s assessment report, and correctly interpret this assessment to the client – this is the psychologist’s craft.
- When compiling a psychodiagnostic procedure, make sure that all the included techniques pursue one main goal and at the same time complement each other. Projective techniques must be supplemented by rigorous questionnaires and, possibly, psycho-physiological tests, and all this must be supplemented by a clinical conversation with a psychologist according to a certain strict scheme.
Now, let’s find out how to write a psychological assessment. We should remind that our proposed method is not a standard or a role model, but simply a practical method.
- The first thing that interests a psychologist is how well the psychodiagnostic result obtained corresponds to reality. Simply put, you need to check whether the psychologist himself or herself was not mistaken, and whether the client did not lie or did not err in completing the tests. There are two basic parameters characterizing the suitability of the results obtained by the psychologist: validity and reliability. This includes professional tests (as opposed to amateur ones), and monitoring and controlling these parameters. The first thing you should write in the assessment report of a psychologist is how much this assessment should be trusted. This is a matter of honesty and professional reputation for a psychologist. Sometimes it is better to alter the psychodiagnostic procedure. It is better than blushing in front of a client and relying on unreliable results.
- Further, the psychologist is interested in the mental stability of the client. There are many different kinds of people in the world: the mentally ill, those under stress or pathological affect, people with borderline conditions (between norm and pathology), people with accentuation or psychopathy, and just inadequate people. The question of norm and pathology is not idle. The health and happiness of the person who applied to the psychologist, as well as the safety of the psychologist himself or herself, depend on an accurate diagnosis. After all, some people need to be treated, others need to be advised, some will be helped by psychocorrection, others by psycho-training, and some need to work for a long period of time. It is this fine line between the norm and pathology, as well as the recommendations (the optimal form of psychological assistance for this particular person), you should write about in the second paragraph of your assessment report.
- Then we shift focus to the nervous system, because the human psyche is a superstructure above his or her nervous system. The balance of excitation and inhibition, temperament, and cycloidity (the degree of cyclicality of the nervous processes) are subjects to cover.
- You should then write about the basic mental processes and properties: sensations and perception, attention, memory, thinking, intelligence, speech, and will. This is something that a psychologist can theoretically correct, but in practice it is very difficult to correct.
- Further, you should describe more flexible psychological characteristics, such as emotions, imagination, and creativity.
- Now we come to one of the most interesting parts in the work of a psychologist: describing the client’s psychological type (psycho-type).
- Further, we certainly do not forget about value orientations, attitudes, stereotypes, prejudices, faith, superstitions, national peculiarities, and traditions. All of this forms a “multi-layered cake” in the personality of the client.
- You should describe the emotional type, the characteristics of depression, exaltation, anxiety, etc.
- Begin digging deep into the following: the childhood history, experienced psychological trauma, formed sexuality, sociocultural sexual characteristics and deviations, and scenarios of imitation of the behavior of parents (or other significant people in the life of the client).
- As a result, you should write a psychological diagnosis. It will include the prospects for psychological assistance, the best ways to help (for example, if a series of psychological counseling sessions or a course of psychotherapy is needed, which psychotherapy, etc.), and if necessary, a recommendation to consult other specialists: psychiatrist, neurologist, etc.
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