Your first question may be “why would someone need a psychological evaluation?” Well, there are many reasons why a person would need to submit to a psychological evaluation, for example, if a person becomes uncontrollable and presents a danger to himself/herself and others or if an individual is being considered for a child-related, medical, psychological or government job position, he/she may be asked to take a psychological evaluation. In other words, firefighters, nurses, physicians, soldiers, mental health workers, federal government workers, social workers, etc. may be asked to submit to a psychological evaluation. In most cases, psychological evaluations are used to assess a client’s mental status and determine if he/she is suffering from a mental illness or psychological disorder.
Psychological evaluations typically consist of asking specific questions to evaluate the mental health of a client, potential employee or patient. The evaluative process also includes: observing the individual’s behaviors and documenting his/her family and medical history. The main purpose of a psychological evaluation is to measure or study some aspect of mental health. If you are a psychologist and interested in learning the type of questions you should ask during a psychological evaluation – you have come to the right place. This article will help you choose the questions that will yield the information you are seeking.
Listed below are questions that you should ask during a psychological evaluation:
• Demographics, Background Information & Medical History
You should most definitely ask demographic, background and medical questions during a psychological evaluation. It is imperative that you have enough information to accurately evaluate your client, therefore you will need to take note of his/her age, race, gender, education and/or job status, address/location, sexual orientation (optional), mental health and physical health history, family physical and mental health history, work history, stress level, general satisfaction with life, reason for therapy and expected outcome of therapy.
You may want to ask questions like, “Do you like yourself?” “How would you rate your life on a scale of 1 to 10?” “What would you like to improve in your life?” “Do you work and if so how many hours do you work each day and/or week?” “Do you like your job?” “How often do you feel stress?” “What do you do to relieve your stress?” “Are you ever anxious or depressed and if so, how often?” Make sure to ask questions about the client’s family, friends, co-workers and leisure activities. Do not forget to ask the client what brought him/her into therapy and what he/she would like to accomplish from therapy.
• Current Psychological and Mental Health Status
You will also want to ask the client about his/her current psychological state and mental health status, during a psychological evaluation. For example, if you are counseling a client who appears to be suffering from anxiety, you will probably want to ask him/her questions that help determine if he/she really is anxious. You may want to ask questions like, “Do you become deathly afraid or frightened when you are asked to leave your home or try something unfamiliar?” “Do you experience excessive perspiration, headaches and/or gastrointestinal distress when faced with a challenging situation like taking a test, going on date or interview or teaching a class?” “Do you often become nervous, agitated and fearful, for no apparent reason?”
Moreover, if your client appears to be unstable, angry, depressed and/or irritable, you may want to ask him/her questions like, “How do you feel right now?” “Are you angry, frustrated or sad?” “What is causing you to feel that way?” “Do you feel like you may hurt yourself or others?” “Have tried to hurt yourself in the past?” How long have you been feeling this way?” “Do you need medical assistance?” “Do you care how others feel about you?” “Are you worried on a regular basis?” “What have you done in the past to cope with your feelings?”
• Alcohol and Drug Use
Lastly, you will need to ask your client whether he/she uses or abuses alcohol and drugs. Make sure to also ask about prescription medications. If you client admits to using or abusing alcohol and drugs, you may want to ask him/her questions like, “How long have you been using alcohol and drugs?” “Why do you use alcohol and drugs?” “How often do you use them?” “How do you feel when you use alcohol and drugs?” “Do these stimulants solve your problems or make them worse?” “Would you like to stop using alcohol and drugs?” “Who else knows about your alcohol and drug use?” “Would you like to learn healthier ways to deal with your problems and/or condition?”
National Association of School Psychologists. (2014). Psychological evaluations: What every principal should know. Retrieved from http://www.nasponline.org/resources/principals/Psychological%20Evaluations%20Nove mber%2003.pdf
Psychological Disorders. (2014). Psychological evaluations. Retrieved from http://psychological-disorders.org/uncategorized/psychological-evaluation/