Psychological Analysis/Evaluation/Assessment

Psychological Analysis, Evaluation and Assessment in Berkeley, CA

By
Leonard Schwartzburd, Ph.D., FAAP
The Berkeley Institute for Behavioral Health and Psychological Services

On Dr. Zimmerman’s page she wrote of our awareness that the prospect of psychological evaluation involving tests and other assessment methods can be disquieting for a number of people.   I believe that people will be greatly encouraged once they truly understand what is involved in the way we engage in this part of our professional function at The Berkeley Institute for Behavioral Health and Psychological Services (Berkeley psychotherapy).

To begin to give you an idea of a foundational part of our approach it is based on something I was taught at the beginning of my professional training.  I was taught that the process is to understand the person we are working with not as a set of diagnostic labels but as a distinct human being with interests and rights about how the information is to be used.   A further objective is to take the opportunities that arise to share it with them in a way that they can use in their own behalf.  We do evaluations only when the person to be evaluated has made a free choice to do so.

Sometimes it is in a context of their treatment with another psychological or medical professional who feels that our evaluation can deepen their own understanding of their patient to better be of help to them.

The situation I like the best does not occur often but when it does it’s a very rich experience for the other person and myself.  That is when someone asks for an analysis solely based on their own desire for better self understanding. Usually that does not involve a written report and the discussion can be very intellectually stimulating and personally useful in a person’s relationships and life in general.

You may have seen my use of the word “analysis” in the paragraph above.  The reason I do that is to distinguish it based on the reason someone has come to see us. The word analysis does not necessarily suggest anything about how it will be used.  The terms “evaluation” and “assessment” suggest to me that a third party will be involved in having access to my analysis.  In such a case, including your own doctor or perhaps your lawyer or clergy person you must give your written informed consent for me to include them either in writing or by speaking with them.  This is also true for any third party unless they are the guardian of the person being analyzed.

Under any circumstance when opportunities arise to share information or a perspective that we believe would be helpful, we share it with the person we are working with.

My goal in doing an evaluation, is to understand a person in their uniqueness.  I want to understand how someone thinks, what they feel, what they want and what gets in the way of getting what they want.  In addition to understanding people’s present circumstances I want to understand them in a historical context that places them in their nuclear family as they were growing up.  There is always also a larger historical context that influenced the development of their family and may have a bearing on the present.

In doing this work we use as many as ten tests and questionnaires. Five are classical psychologist administered tests.  Another five are computer administered, scored and analyzed.  Three of these are tests and two are questionnaires.  Once administered, we work with all of these information sources in their often complex interactions.  Sometimes there are medical or other records that we consider.   Then on a day not long after the testing we have a face to face clinical interview in which I ask about a person’s history, present circumstances and what it has meant in their lives.

Finally, a multi-level in depth picture emerges to be used as the person I’m working with and I have previously agreed.

Areas We Provide Psychological Analysis/Evaluation/Assessment Services To:

The Berkeley Institute provides services to Berkeley, Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito, Piedmont, Emeryville, Orinda, Alameda, San Leandro, Hayward, Walnut Creek, Richmond, El Sobrante, San Pablo, LaFayette, San Rafael, San Francisco, Tiburon, Sausalito and surrounding areas.

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