Not all assessment has to be complicated. While full neuropsych or psych evals definitely have their places, there are many types of assessment that only require an interview and a single testing measure. If you’re considering adding assessment to your practice, these types of evaluations can be done quickly, utilizing common measures that most of us learn extensively in graduate school. They can also often be billed at full fee (even if you take insurance)!
Disclaimer: I do not mean to make it sound like any quality assessment is simple or “only” requires certain procedures/measures. Assessment is complex, and clinical expertise is necessary in all cases. Before adding any new assessment services, you always have to consider 1) your scope of expertise and 2) your interests. Don’t do anything you’re not trained to do, and don’t do anything you don’t love!
So here are a few (relatively) straightforward assessments that you could add pretty quickly:
Any family considering adoption is aware of the hurdles involved. One of those can be a pre-adoption evaluation, often required by specific agencies or countries. Pre-adoption evaluations typically include a clinical interview and a personality measure for parents, followed by a written report. Total time involved from a clinician standpoint is usually 3-5 hours.
Take it to the next level: Do your research and get really familiar with the ins and outs of adoption – domestic, international, independent, agency, etc. Meet with staff at local agencies and gauge their needs. Talk with adoptive parents about their feelings about evaluations. Consider implementing aspects of therapeutic assessment to help ease a distressing process.
Emotional Support Animal Evaluations
Use of emotional support animals is on the rise as more people see the benefits of animal companionship. At this point, there is significant room in the market to provide quality evaluations for an emotional support animal. These evaluations typically include an interview, standardized measures of mood and behavior (i.e., the BDI, BAI, etc.), and perhaps a personality measure, followed by a written letter of support. Total clinician time involved is usually 2-4 hours.
Take it to the next level: Become well-versed in the legal aspects of emotional support animals. Consult with an attorney to develop an appropriately worded letter that will stand up to scrutiny from airlines, landlords, and others.
Egg Donor Evaluations
Nearly all women who choose to donate eggs have to undergo a psychological evaluation. The process is similar to those discussed above: a clinical interview with extensive medical history, a personality measure, and a written report. Totally clinician time involved is usually 3-5 hours.
Take it to the next level: Consult with local reproductive medicine groups or hospitals about a partnership for evaluation services in their setting.
Substance Abuse Evaluations
Substance abuse evaluations are often a part of criminal or civil legal proceedings. A typical substance abuse evaluation includes a clinical interview and administration of a standardized measure like the SASSI, followed by a written report of results and recommendations. Total clinician time involved is usually 2-4 hours.
Take it to the next level: Pursue additional substance abuse training (here in Colorado, we have a separate Certified Addiction Counselor designation). Partner with your local court system to set up a contract for services.
Many private schools, summer programs, and community-centered boards require IQ testing as part of the qualification process. Sometimes parents or adults are just curious as well. IQ testing should include a brief interview to determine the reason for seeking testing and a history of cognitive strengths and weaknesses, coupled with administration of a standardized IQ test and followed by a written report. Typical clinician time involved is 2-4 hours.
Take it to the next level: Gain expertise in giftedness so that you can provide high quality recommendations. Seek out private schools in hopes of developing contracted services.
These are just a few ways to add testing to your practice without committing to a full battery of measures. Feel free to leave comments with any short evals I may have missed!