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Uses of Psychological Tests

By Thom Mote ; Updated July 18, 2017

Psychologists primarily use tests to supplement or assist in various phases of treatment. Test results are used along with clinical discussions to help you move from one phase of treatment to the next. Tests that measure symptoms provide a picture of what needs to change, and tests that reveal unique traits give the psychologist an idea of how to assist you. From the initial assessment to the closing of treatment, tests results provide vital information that keeps the therapeutic experience relevant for you.

Assessment

Psychologists use tests during one of your fist few sessions to assess your problem. A psychologist tests at this point to supplement his clinical interview and to determine the severity, duration and extent of your problems. A test such as the Beck Depression Inventory, for example, aids in making these measurements.

Setting Goals

Psychologists use test results to help you set goals for improvement. Psychologists use unusual results, such as a high occurrence of depression, to develop specific and measurable goals. Goals such as “reduce the frequently of depression to half of that initially discovered” are clear and can be measured to show improvement.

Determining Interventions

Psychologists also use tests to identify the most effective interventions for you. Personality tests, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, can reveal much about how you think and the way you relate to other people. These tests reveal your strengths as well as your weaknesses. For example, if your test results reveal that you are a highly analytical person, interventions such as reading and rational analysis of problems may be effective in helping you make desired changes.

Reviewing Progress

Most psychologists use tests as a way of reviewing what you have accomplished in treatment. If you scored high on the Beck Anxiety Inventory in your initial assessment, re-taking the test three months later may reveal lower anxiety and provide you with momentum to keep up the work.

Closure

A psychologist does not want to keep you dependent on her. Her goal is to build your competence and confidence so you can manage your problems on your own. Psychologists often use tests as a way of ending treatment. Tests results are used as evidence in closing discussions about the progress you have achieved.

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