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[00:00:00] Dr. Sharp: Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Testing Psychologist podcast, the podcast where we talk all about the business and practice of psychological and neuropsychological assessment. I’m your host, Dr. Jeremy Sharp, licensed psychologist, group practice owner, and private practice coach.

This podcast is brought to you by PAR. PAR offers the SPECTRA Indices of Psychopathology, a hierarchical-dimensional look at adult psychopathology. The SPECTRA is available for paper and pencil assessment or administration and scoring via PARiConnect. Learn more at parinc.com\spectra.

For a limited time, you can get one free administration and score report for the SPECTRA on PARiConnect by calling PAR at (855) 856-4266. Just mention promo code S-P-E-C.

[00:01:00] Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the Summer Slam series for 2021. If anybody did not catch Summer Slam number 1 last Thursday, I would invite you to go back and listen to that episode not only because I’m talking all about how to revisit and read your schedule to be more ideal, but also because I talk about how I used to watch  Pro Wrestling as a kid and how it came up with this Summer Slam name. Anybody who watched Pro Wrestling knows that Summer Slam was a big event in the wrestling world. So, totally stealing it.

The Summer Slam Series is meant to be a series of short, actionable episodes where you can take some tips and put them into practice right away.

In this second episode of the Summer Slam Series, I am talking about revising your battery. This [00:02:00] is something that some of us do frequently, some of us do not so frequently. I’m really speaking into those of you who collect myself might be in a rut with some of the measures that you are administering. We’re going to talk about ways to determine if you need to revise your battery. We’re going to talk about some examples of how to revise your battery and I will discuss some things that we’re doing in our practice to revise our batteries.

So, without further ado, let’s jump into a discussion on polishing up your battery.

[00:03:00] Okay, here we are back talking about revising your battery. This is going to be a pretty short episode like the other Summer Slam episodes. The reason being that this is pretty straightforward. I think that it’s really easy for us to get into routines and to administer tests that are familiar, known, and common even if those measures are not necessarily working well for us or for our clients. So let’s start there first.

Again, this is meant to be pretty actionable, pretty quick. The intent here is that you might sit down for an hour or two and spend some time going through your battery to figure out if it’s working for you and for your clients. So when [00:04:00] you sit down to do that, you can start with the question of, is it working for you? Now, what I mean is it working for you? There are a few facets to that.

One, are you able to easily and efficiently administer the measures that you’re administering? So this might mean looking at are these measures published by a company that you enjoy working with? Is it easy to access the materials? Is it easy to purchase more of the materials? Is it easy to distribute those materials if you are engaged in telehealth assessment or using sending rating scales online, things like that? So just asking, does it work for you from a very practical standpoint?

Another piece of that is the cost. Are these measures [00:05:00] cost-effective? Are they the best use of your money? Are there other options that might work better in that regard?

Another facet of whether the measures are working for you is, do you enjoy giving the measures? Now, this is a tricky topic. I don’t know if there are any measures that I truly just love to give. There are some. I don’t want to sell any measure short, but I think part of the job is that we are going to have some rote administration of some measures, right? But think to yourself again, are there other measures out there that are clinically relevant, valid and reliable, of course, that might allow you to get at the same skills or attributes in a way that is more [00:06:00] enjoyable for you? This might take a little research, a little digging around, but I think it’s worth considering, is your battery working for you?

The second question though is, is your battery working for your clients? Now, what I really mean here are a couple of things. There are two points to consider. One, similar to whether it’s working for you, is your battery somewhat enjoyable for your clients to go through? The answer might be no, and that’s okay. Our tests aren’t really meant to be fun necessarily. But the idea is are you administering a battery that is at least as engaging as it could be? Is it overly lengthy? Are there measures that can get at the same thing without [00:07:00] totally torturing your client? And in many cases, I think there are alternative options to measure similar constructs, right? So, checking that out and making sure that you are not unnecessarily turning this cruise on your client and making the process more boring than it needs to be.

Let’s take a quick break to hear from our featured partner.

The SPECTRA Indices of Psychopathology provides a hierarchical-dimensional look at adult psychopathology. Decades of research into psychiatric disorders have shown that most diagnoses can be integrated into a few broad dimensions. The SPECTRA measures 12 clinically important constructs of depression, anxiety, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress, alcohol problems, severe aggression, antisocial behavior, drug problems, psychosis, paranoid ideation, manic activation, and grandiose ideation, and organizes them into the three higher-order psychopathological [00:08:00] SPECTRA of Internalizing, Externalizing and Reality-impairing. These scores provide a quick assessment of the overall burden of an individual psychiatric illness also known as the P factor.

The SPECTRA is available for paper and pencil assessment or administration and scoring via PARiConnect-PAR’s online assessment platform. Learn more at parinc.com\spectra. And for a limited time, get one free administration and score report for the SPECTRA on PARiConnect by calling PAR at (855) 856-4266 and mention the promo code S-P-E-C.

All right, let’s get back to the podcast.

The other component though is from a clinical standpoint. [00:09:00] Do the measures that you have settled on actually do a good job at answering the clinical questions that you tend to have to answer or are there measures out there that could be better? Are there measures out there that can answer those questions better? Have any measures been updated? Have there been any new tests released that you want to dive into? Are there any measures that you need to add to your battery where you might say give a broadband measure but then you need something to really dive into a more narrow band set of skills? These are all great questions to be asking yourself. Is it working for your client?

After you have gone through those questions, of course, the action item is to do some research [00:10:00] and potentially purchase or obtain new measures. I believe that some of the test publishing companies, PAR comes to mind, and I hope that I’m not misquoting them here. I’m sure they’ll let me know if I am, but I believe that some of the test publishers will allow you to test drive certain measures and return them if you don’t like them. So make sure to ask if that’s a possibility so you don’t get roped into such a huge investment for something that you may not enjoy.

You can also ask questions in The Testing Psychologist Facebook Community. There is a monthly recurring post or thread called All About the Measures where you can ask questions about specific measures if you have questions or thinking about purchasing. So you can post questions there.

You can also pursue structured consultation [00:11:00] with another psychologist or neuropsychologist. There are a lot of folks out there who provide consultation. Stephanie Nelson at the Peer Consult provides one-on-one consultation. If you want to get another opinion on updating your battery, she’s a great resource. There are other folks who may post in The Testing Psychologist Community, particularly on the Supervision Sunday thread. You can search for that and find supervisors who are willing to consult in your area of interest as well.

I want to close with some examples from our practice that we have been using a lot more. Over the past year, we’ve gone through this process and revised a little bit. We obtained the RIAS-2 which is a BRIEF intelligence measure. I have really been enjoying giving that [00:12:00] over the past several weeks. Like I said, a little briefer, a little shorter than the WISC or the WAIS and easy to administer, easy to score. That’s been helpful.

We’ve been doing a lot more MIGDAS in our autism assessments. We haven’t thrown out the ADOS by any means. We still do the ADOS, but we’ve been doing a lot more MIGDAS as well. And as you’ve heard in some prior episodes, we’ve been making a big push over the last several months to include more PVTs in our battery as well. We tend to use the MSVT to gauge effort during our assessments. So those are just a few examples from our practice that have been pretty relevant over the last year or so.

But we were just in a discussion the other day in a staff meeting about the WRAML3 [00:13:00] and the ChAMP to look at memory. So, it’s an ongoing discussion. And I think this area of measure development is only picking up steam as we have more and more access to electronic means of administering tests. So I think this is going to be a more frequent conversation as time goes on. We’re not really going to be able to get away with just doing the same tests for years and years at a time.

All right. So. Just to recap, the action item from today is to revisit your battery, ask yourself some questions, see if the tests are working for you, if they’re working for your clients and if there are any viable options that you want to consider. So just make a shortlist of any tests that you might want to investigate. And you can certainly [00:14:00] check with colleagues. You can post on listservs. You can post in The Testing Psychologist Facebook community. You can pursue consultation if you want to get opinions and get some guidance on some of the measures that you might be considering.

Okay, that is it. Summer Slam #2. I hope that you found this helpful. If you have not subscribed to the podcast, I would love for you to do that. It’s super easy. In iTunes, you just hit subscribe. In Spotify, you hit follow and you will be locked in and get automatic downloads of all the episodes.

All right, y’all, I will be back on, what is today? You will be hearing us on a Thursday. I’ll be back on Monday. I’ve got that summer brain going on. I’ll be back on Monday with a clinical episode. I hope y’all have a great weekend. I’ll talk to you then.

[00:15:00] The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologist website are intended for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional, psychological, psychiatric, or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please note that no doctor-patient relationship is formed here, and similarly, no supervisory or consultative relationship is formed between the host or guests of this podcast and listeners of this podcast. If you need the qualified advice of any mental health practitioner or medical provider, please seek one in your area. [00:16:00] Similarly, if you need supervision on clinical matters, please find a supervisor with expertise that fits your needs.

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