If you’ve ever had to get a psychological evaluation on behalf of a client, you’ve probably run into some of the common myths surrounding the process.
As a licensed psychologist in Kansas City, I’ve seen it all– from assumptions that evaluations are “easy” to complete, to concerns about confidentiality and privacy. In this blog, we’ll debunk some of the most common myths surrounding psychological evaluations and help you understand why they’re so important.
Myth 1: All mental health professionals have the same qualifications.
While most mental health professionals undergo some form of formal education, it does not mean that they all hold the same qualifications. A psychologist, for example, undergoes more training in psychological testing and is better equipped to administer psychological evaluations.
Myth 2: Psychological evaluations are biased.
Many people believe that psychologists or other mental health professionals are biased when conducting psychological evaluations. However, a good evaluator should never allow their personal opinion to influence their assessment. Evaluators are trained to identify and manage their biases, ensuring that the evaluation is as objective as possible.
Myth 3: Psychological evaluations are not important.
Psychological evaluations can be of great importance to a case. They can provide an in-depth understanding of a person’s mental state, helping lawyers to understand why their clients acted in a certain way or providing insight into their client’s perspectives and needs.
Myth 4: Psychological evaluations are only necessary in criminal cases.
Psychological evaluations can occur in various types of cases, not just criminal ones. It can happen in custody cases, employment disputes, and personal injury or disability claims. Evaluations can provide invaluable insight into how a person’s mental health is affecting their daily life or interactions with others.
Myth 5: The evaluator has all the information about the client.
Psychological evaluations typically require information from numerous sources, including medical records, interviews with family and friends, and collateral sources of information. Attorneys play a vital role in providing the evaluator access to information relevant to the specific case, ensuring that the evaluator has all the information needed to make an accurate assessment.
Myth 6: Evaluations are a quick fix.
Evaluations can often be a time-consuming process. On average, evaluations can take several hours over the course of several sessions. Attorneys should understand that this is not something that can occur overnight and prepare accordingly.
Myth 7: Only the report matters.
While the final report of a psychological evaluation is essential, it is not the only critical aspect. The process of the evaluation can also provide valuable information and insight into the client’s mental state and overall situation.
Myth 8: A psychological evaluation guarantees a certain outcome.
An evaluation is merely that, a comprehensive assessment of a person’s mental health. But it does not guarantee any particular outcome. Attorneys should not rely on an evaluation as a final decision but rather use it to support or refute claims in conjunction with other forms of evidence.
Myth 9: All psychologists conduct psychological evaluations in the same way.
Every psychologist may have a way of conducting psychological evaluations. It is essential to understand the methodology and report style of each psychologist to evaluate if it meets the specific needs of the case and your client.
Myth 10: The psychologist evaluator will ask questions about irrelevant issues.
Evaluators ask a variety of questions to obtain information regarding their client’s mental state and the case in question. It is essential to understand that all questions had a specific purpose during the evaluation process.
Myth 11: The evaluation can only occur in the evaluator’s office.
Psychological evaluations can occur in various settings, including the client’s home or place of work when deemed necessary or requested by either the attorney or the client.
Myth 12: A client’s mental health history is irrelevant.
A client’s mental health history can be vital in making an accurate evaluation. It can provide essential background information on how the client typically interacts with the world and any pre-existing factors that may influence their behavior.
Myth 13: An evaluation is all about diagnosing.
While diagnosing is often necessary, it is not the only purpose of a psychological evaluation. The evaluation can provide insights into an individual’s personality structure, strengths and weaknesses, coping mechanisms, and many other factors that go far beyond a simple diagnosis.
Understanding the myths and misconceptions surrounding psychological evaluations can make a significant difference in how effectively attorneys can help their clients. An accurate evaluation can provide vital insights into mental health issues that allow attorneys to better advocate for their clients in court or during settlement negotiations.