While some level of assessment is inherent in any counselling process, there are times when a more formalized assessment might be advantageous or required. As psychologists, we assess the following areas:
• Cognitive Capacity
• Symptoms (for Diagnosis)
• Drug and Alcohol Use/Abuse
This type of formal psychological assessment can be useful in a number of different ways. When someone is on disability for a reason that may be psychological in nature (e.g. depression), or for a physical disability that is worsened by emotional reasons (e.g. chronic pain), a formal assessment can be helpful to both understand what is happening and to formulate a comprehensive treatment plan. A fitness for work or a fitness for return to work assessment can also be useful to determine if there are issues that need to be addressed to maximize an employee’s capacity in the workplace. Thus, for employers or insurance providers, a psychological assessment can be invaluable.
At times, there is also a need to assess an individuals’ cognitive capacity to understand issues at work, or to assess a need for further treatment (e.g. Adult ADD). A thorough assessment of the ability to concentrate, to remember things, and to problem-solve can give guidance around maximizing an individual in the workplace.
There are also times when it can be helpful to understand the role of personality in the workplace. For example, when an employee is sent on an expatriate (international) assignment, it is helpful to be able to prepare them for the experience based on their own set of skills and attitudes. At times, when there are conflicts in the workplace, understanding personality can be essential to developing a go-forward plan that addresses the actual issues, not just the symptoms.