What Is  Psychological Testing?

Psychological testing provides an in-depth understanding of an individual’s strengths, abilities, and areas in need of improvement. Depending on the reason for testing, the evaluation may provide insight into cognitive, academic, emotional, behavioral, neuropsychological, memory, and/or executive (e.g., attention, planning, and organization) functioning. Dr. Rothman conducts evaluations for adults and children of all ages.

It may be helpful to think of psychological testing as comparable to medical testing. When the source of a symptom is unclear, physicians order a series of tests, such as x-rays or blood tests, to understand what is causing the problem. The results clarify the diagnosis and develop a targeted treatment plan. Similarly, a psychological evaluation will include a variety of tests and other assessment tools to make a diagnosis and develop appropriate interventions.

When Should I or My Child Have Testing?

Psychological testing is helpful when a person is experiencing behavioral or emotional problems at school, work, or in relationships, and these problems are complex or when the cause(s) are difficult to identify. Testing can also help identify areas of strength to maximize opportunities for growth and success.

Children and adolescents can benefit from testing for the following reasons:

  • Academic or behavioral problems at school
  • Identifying a child who is intellectually gifted
  • Concern that a young child is exhibiting developmental delays
  • Difficulty making friends, getting along with peers, or understanding social expectations
  • Aggression or other conduct problems
  • Problems in relationships with parents and/or siblings
  • Significant trouble focusing, paying attention, and following directions
  • Emotional distress, including frequent sadness or worry, angry outbursts, or withdrawal and isolation
  • Trouble coping with a significant change, loss, or traumatic event

Adults can benefit from testing to address:

  • Underperformance or difficulty adjusting to college
  • Difficulty succeeding at work or getting along with coworkers
  • Difficulties with dating or with other personal relationships
  • Problems getting along with spouses, children, or other family members
  • Emotional distress, including frequent sadness or worry, anger management problems, or withdrawal and isolation
  • Changes to emotional or brain functioning (e.g., memory problems) related to injury, illness, or illness
  • Trouble coping with a significant change, loss, or traumatic event
  • You and/or your therapist are feeling “stuck” in therapy or are seeking additional insight into problems in order to guide treatment

Types of Evaluations

Dr. Rothman provides comprehensive psychological, psychoeducational, neuropsychological, developmental, and bariatric evaluations that can address the following potential diagnoses and situations:

Learning Disorders

Intellectual Giftedness

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Cognitive & Memory

Depression, Anxiety, & Mood Disorders

Reactive Attachment Disorder

Diagnosis & Treatment Planning

Clearances for Bariatric Procedures

Intellectual Disabilities

School Readiness

Developmental Delays

Executive Functioning

Oppositions Defiant Disorder & Other Behavioral Disorders

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Insight into Personality Functioning

Thought Disorders

What to Expect

You will meet with Dr. Rothman for a clinical interview that will identify your concerns and gather your (or your child’s) personal history. You may be asked to bring copies of previous assessments or other relevant documentation.

Dr. Rothman will then choose a specific set of psychological tests and assessments based on your questions, concerns, and goals. Tests may include activities such as puzzles, drawings, and verbal or written questions. They may be administered via computer, pencil and paper, or verbally. You may meet with her on several occasions for several hours at a time to complete the testing.

Dr. Rothman will also gather information from the clinician who referred you for psychological testing as well as other relevant treatment providers, such as psychiatrists, therapists, and school professionals.

Dr. Rothman will compile the results of the evaluation into a clear and comprehensive written report that will include a diagnosis as well as specific recommendations to address problems and increase opportunities for future success. She will schedule a feedback session with you, in order to review the report and discuss any questions you may have.

How to Prepare Your Child for Testing

It is important that the testing process is as comfortable as possible for children, as this will reduce anxiety and increase motivation and cooperation. The following suggestions can help prepare your child for testing:

  • Provide your child with advanced notice of the evaluation. One rule of thumb is to provide one day of notice for each year of the child’s age. Let your child know that the purpose of the evaluation is to learn more about them in order to help them do their best.
  • Explain to your child that they will be meeting with a doctor who will be talking to them and having them complete a series of activities that may include questions, puzzles, drawings, and stories, as well as some activities that may seem more like schoolwork. Try to avoid using the word “test,” as this can make some children anxious.
  • Allow your child to ask questions about the evaluation, and address any concerns they may have. The following are some common concerns that children have regarding testing:
    • Younger children may worry that going to a doctor means that they will be getting a shot. Explain to them that this is a special kind of doctor – a “talking doctor” or a “feelings doctor” – and reassure them that they will not be getting a shot!
    • Your child may be concerned that having an evaluation means that there is something wrong with them or that they are different from other children. Explain to your child that many children have evaluations for lots of different reasons, and that the purpose of the evaluation is to understand them better and help them to succeed.
    • Even if you do not use the word “test,” some children may be worried about performing well. Let your child know that they are expected only to try their best.
  • Ensure that your child has a restful night’s sleep prior to testing.
  • On the day of testing, your child should eat a healthy breakfast and dress in comfortable clothing. Bring several snacks for energy, as testing can be exhausting. The evaluation will include one or more short breaks to allow your child to rest, eat, or have a break to play.