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How a Psychological Evaluation May Help Your Troubled Teen

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Updated June 13, 2014

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Teenage Girl Talking To a Counselor.
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Quick Links: Treatment Programs for Troubled Teens | Troubled Teens | Quiz: Is Your Teen At-Risk?

Having your troubled teen get a psychological evaluation may be an important step in getting the right help for your teen.

What is a psychological evaluation?

A psychological evaluation is a thorough process of assessment and screening administered by an adolescent psychologist. The methods used for the evaluation will depend upon your teen's needs. It may consist of a series of formal or structured psychological or neuropsychological tests as well as clinical interviews designed to identify and describe the emotional, behavioral or learning problems that may be contributing to the problems your teen is having.

The process takes several hours and is completed during several different sessions. Psychological evaluation should be considered in cases where there is uncertainty about the reasons your teen is having problems with mood, behavior or learning.

The role of the psychologist doing the evaluation is similar to a detective looking for clues to solve a mystery. The more clues that can be identified the more information you'll have to understand what's going on with your teen and decide what options are best suited to help them.

What information can a psychological evaluation provide?

A psychological evaluation can provide useful information about your teen to include:

  • the severity of symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • the presence of a learning disability
  • academic strengths and weaknesses
  • root causes of emotional problems
  • positive and negative coping styles
  • reasons for aggressive behavior
  • information about how your teen views the world
  • issues or conflicts your teen is struggling with
  • insight into your teens' personality style

Additional considerations

The upside of a psychological evaluation is the valuable information it can provide. The downside is the time and expense involved. Sometimes the best way to get this testing completed is through the school district or as part of the initial assessment process when a teen is placed in a residential treatment program.

The number of tests needed varies so it may be worthwhile to have an initial consultation with an adolescent psychologist to find out what tests are recommended and the overall cost and time involved.

Psychological evaluation may be an important step in helping get a better handle on the problems your teen is having. It may be helpful in providing detailed information to provide direction in deciding what steps to take in getting the professional help your teen needs.

Quick Links: Treatment Programs for Troubled Teens | Troubled Teens | Quiz: Is Your Teen At-Risk?

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