A psychological assessment typically includes an interview, observations, and the administration
of various intellectual, personality, parenting tests, etc. The procedures used vary based on the referral need. Psychologists use instruments that are designed to identify strengths and weaknesses in multiple areas within an individual. Tests may be designed to identify a learning disorder, attention and impulsivity problems, mood difficulties, and personality style.
An assessment does not necessarily have to be in regards to a disorder, but may be used to identify if an individual is a good fit for an organization or how they will work within a team. Often times, psychological assessment is used to understand a person's difficulty within a specific role in his or her life. For example, if a relatively capable child is struggling in school, the assessment can identify which area of weakness is preventing the child from maximizing his or her potential. The child may have a weakness in attention, impulsivity, struggling with depression, or have a a specific learning difficulty.
After an assessment is completed, recommendations are made to offer strategies to maximize one's potential.
Dr. Carney provides psychological evaluation and consultation. Child custody, parenting capacity, disability, pre-employment, personal injury, and criminal evaluations are of focus in day-to-day practice.
Child custody evaluations are typically court ordered; however, he is often called upon to conduct work product reviews of other psychological evaluations. Assessments may pertain to matters such as fitness, relocation, maltreatment, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, gatekeeping, and alienation.
Disability and personal injury evaluations may assist the claimant and attorney regarding the type and degree of emotional and/or cognitive harm suffered. The evaluation may help to determine the client’s baseline functioning prior to, during, and time of injury as it relates toward cognitive, interpersonal, and emotional impact and loss of ability.
Psychologists are in a unique position to assist in criminal matters. Intelligence and personality testing may assist in understanding ability to waive Miranda Rights as it relates to understanding, comprehension, and personality variables related to voluntary waiver. Evaluations are often requested at sentencing hearings as well.
It is estimated that 2.3 million Americans have both an alcohol and drug use disorder (Stinson et al, 2005). In a survey, family law judges indicated that more than 50% of child custody decisions involved alcohol and drug abuse as a factor (Center for Families, Children, & the Courts, 2007). While drug testing has been around, testing from fingernails has proven to be uniquely useful. Nails provide up to 6 months of drug use history and up to 3 months of alcohol history. Biomarkers are detectable in nail as early as one week after drug or alcohol use. The window of detection for drug or alcohol ingestion depends on the substance used, the amount used, and personal metabolism. Just like hair and urine, a negative result is not proof of abstinence, just the lack of evidence. A 2-3mm clipping, about the thickness of a quarter, from the end of each fingernail provides the optimal sample.
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