Introduction: What Is Clinical Assessment?
Clinical assessment is the first step in working with patients. This process means the evaluation of a person’s physical, medical, cognitive, psychological, and behavioral patterns, history, and current condition to investigate the presence of any disorder (Desert Hope, 2021). It makes a specific determination, assisting a clinician in understanding the issues of a patient. However, there are various tools and tests used to assess a patient’s psychological condition that is beneficial for a clinician’s work. This paper explores such tools as tests and their kinds that can be used to evaluate different patients’ conditions.
There are numerous formalized tests used to diagnose mental health disorders. The basic domains are personality, intelligence, and neurophysiological tests. They also include other tests that are made to examine the mood of a patient, emotional states, etc. (Deter Hope, 2021). As one can see, these tests may partially overlap, but they diagnose different types of disorders. For this reason, the clinician requires special training and knowledge to distinguish the manifestations of different abnormalities and to make the correct diagnosis for the patient.
Personality tests help to measure an individual’s aspects of personality. After such testing, a clinician can determine psychiatric disorders because they understand the personal characteristic of the patient better and can distinguish abnormalities. In the clinical diagnosis, it is critical to recognize a patient’s mental health issues to proceed with further treatment. There are two major types of personality tests, such as projective and objective tests (Desert Hope, 2021). These tests differ in focus on the personal aspects to which the study is directed.
The first type of personality test used by clinicians is the projective test. Projective tests provide patients type of ambiguous triggers or tasks for which they are required to give their opinion and perspective or to do the given task, such as complete the drawing (Desert Hope, 2021). There are no correct answers to these tests, and they cannot be failed. A professional evaluate how a patient responds to a specific stimulus and their expressions. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine an individual’s personality aspects that they are not overtly aware of. For example, the Rorschach test is a projective assessment in which subjects look at ten inkblots of pictures and say what they see (J.Flowers Health, 2020). Visual images that a person sees can reveal hidden problems and concerns.
Clinicians can also take objective tests to assess a person’s condition. Professionals are offered the scale and obligated to rate the patient on certain personality aspects. The tests reflect an “individual’s self-perception, rating appropriate feeling on a scale, or some other concrete response” (Deter Hope, 2021). The most well-known test of the objective personality tests is the Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). This test evaluates individuals on personality, psychological, and emotional variables (J.Flowers Health, 2020). The purpose of the test is to determine a patient’s psychological state, such as depression, anxiety, and addiction.
There are various diseases, injuries, and mental health issues that may affect intelligence. Therefore, clinicians should take such tests if they assume that a patient should have been tested (J.Flowers Health, 2020). The tests should be applied when a patient has memory loss and other forms of cognitive decline. MoCA helps to diagnose Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, and other similar conditions (MoCA, n.d.). A professional can use this tool for the primary diagnosis of a patient and determining further steps.
Neurophysiological tests can be used to investigate whether an individual has cognitive abnormalities that can be caused by brain damage or any other neurological disorders (Desert Hope, 2020). Careful diagnosis is key to determining which issue a patient has and addressing it. Generally, such tests deal with the issues such as intelligence, abstract thinking, language abilities, attention, learning and memory, visual perception, planning and judgment, motor functioning, personality, and many other psychological aspects (Desert Hope, 2020)
An Example of a Neuropsychological Test
An example of a neuropsychological test is the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR). It is a 5-point scale that assists in the determination of the severity of dementia by screening the symptoms that can detect dementia or cognitive decline (J.Flowers Health, 2020). These symptoms consist of problems with memory, judgment, orientation, and personal care. The examiner communicates with the affected person and their family members to collect information. The test should be taken once a clinician notices the signs of dementia.
During the clinical diagnosis, it is critical to determine if a person has mental health issues. Psychological diagnostic testing helps assess and determine mental disorders, but a clinician needs to use different types of tests. Personality tests assist in defining individual traits of a patient, some of which can be discreet, while others characterize a person’s self-perception. Intelligence tests help to assess a patient’s ability to learn, concentrate and memorize, as well as such problems as memory loss. Neurophysiological testing also evaluates a person’s cognitive skills, but they aim to determine whether the problem is related to brain damage or neurological disorders. Combining these types of tests and their results helps clinicians define the underlying cause of the problem and target treatment for its management or elimination.
Desert Hope. (2021). A list of tests & assessments to diagnose mental health disorders. Web.
J. Flowers Health Institute. (2020). Psychological Diagnostic Testing – Improved Outcomes. Web.
MoCA – Cognitive Assessment. (n.d.). MoCA – Cognitive Assessment. Web.