Psychological Evaluation Services in Dallas

When teenagers or members of their family seek treatment for drug abuse or mental illness at Visions, one of the first steps we take is performing a psychological evaluation. A psychological evaluation is key to creating an individualized treatment plan for our residents that targets their specific needs. Oftentimes, when starting a new treatment program, residents and their families aim to understand the reasons for their mental health issues or why drug abuse affects them in such a way that it causes addiction. Families want to know what they could have done to prevent problematic behavior and teens wish to be validated and heard. With the evaluation services provided by Visions, we can gain knowledge about a teen’s personality as well as their social-emotional functioning, which will help our team of psychologists create a comprehensive rehabilitation plan geared toward success.

What Is a Psychological Evaluation?

A psychological evaluation involves a number of assessments and screenings that gauge the extent of behavioral and emotional problems. Typically, an evaluation is completed in multiple sessions over a period of weeks in order to gain as much information as possible and design an appropriate treatment plan. The evaluation looks for symptoms of depression and anxiety, learning disabilities, aggressive behaviors, coping mechanisms, belief systems and more, and each of these qualities are obtained through a variety of settings.

Determining Whether Your Teen Needs an Evaluation

Performing a psychological evaluation is a necessary component to treating mental health issues, and without it, any treatment has a likelihood of becoming ineffective. More often than not, teens have mental health concerns that are misdiagnosed or left undiagnosed, which can have lasting effects on a teen’s quality of life. Additionally, receiving treatment that is inappropriate for a teen’s particular condition can have adverse effects. Adolescents are capable of deciding whether or not a certain approach is meeting their expectations and reject it if does not align with their personality, values and goals. This is one of the many reasons why the Visions staff aims to create the most personalized experience through the residential treatment program and other treatment methods.

Before seeking treatment, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms a teenager may be expressing that are cause for a psychological evaluation. Usually, the most apparent sign is some sort of disruption in everyday functioning that strays from a teen’s normal routine. A drop in grades, absences from school or work, erratic behavior and lethargy are signs of a possible mental health issue and that an evaluation should be performed. Additionally, depressed behaviors, mood swings, suicidal thoughts, drug use and abnormal eating habits should warrant attention. Many times, these changes in behavior result from a recent trauma or lifestyle change (a divorce, move or death of a friend or loved one), but other times there may not be seem to be a cause at all. Paying close attention to your teen’s behavior can give you insight to whether you should seek treatment at Visions. A psychological evaluation can unpack the various behaviors and emotions your teen may be experiencing, provide a reason for diagnosis and create the beginnings of a comprehensive solution.

Receiving a Psychological Evaluation at Visions

Psychological evaluations often sound intimidating to our residents and their families, but they actually provide valuable information to individual and group therapists, psychiatrists, family therapists and teachers about how to interact with each resident on a personal level. An evaluation will also determine a proper medication protocol if necessary. A psychological evaluation provides thorough insight into a resident’s personality, and we use that to create specialized treatment. We include various methods when performing a psychological evaluation, including:

  • Interviews with family members and allied professionals
  • Observations of teens in a natural environment at Visions
  • Meetings with a psychiatrist at Visions
  • Norm-referenced psychometric tests
  • Questionnaires and checklists
  • Clinical interviews with the resident
  • Consultations with Visions staff, including primary clinicians, teachers and treatment teams
  • Reviews of school and medical records as well as prior evaluations

Our highly-skilled staff will perform an evaluation one or two weeks after a residents has joined the Visions community. Our hope is to allow residents to transition into their new surroundings before seriously evaluating their personality, and some may need more time than the one or two-week waiting period. Screening is completed at the Visions campus in order to create a normal atmosphere for teens, and both residents and their families receive a debriefing once the evaluation is complete. If insufficient information is collected during the initial evaluation or if additional questions arise, further evaluation may be recommended to provide the best care.

If you would like more information about the evaluation services provided at Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers, please give our facility in Dallas a call. We would be happy to discuss your options with you and help you determine the right path for you and your teen.