Jurica Koletić, image ofyouth taking a breath to manage mental health

MENTAL HEALTH ASSESSMENT

A Psychological/Social Emotional Assessment is what is called for if you are worried about your child’s behaviour or mental health. Children and adolescents are under a great deal of stress in our current world. This stress often shows up in children and teens in the form of anxiety, depression, intense shyness, and/or withdrawal, and sometimes in acting out behaviour.

 

 A Social Emotional Assessment evaluates issues such as:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Social Phobia

  • Angry, oppositional behaviour

  • Selective mutism or intense shyness

  • Separation anxiety

  • Atypical behaviour and the emergence of more serious mental health disorders

  • PTSD and the impacts of trauma

A social emotional assessment performed by a youth psychologist differs from the assessments provided by other professionals (e.g., psychiatrist, social worker) in that psychologists add to information provided from interview and observations by using psychological tests. In this way, they can provide a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the issues your child is facing. 

What to expect during a mental health/social emotional assessment:

Tests of social, emotional, behavioural, and personality functioning fall into two categories: self report/observer rating measures and performance-based measures. 

 

Rating scale measures are forms similar to questionnaires, on which the child or parents respond to statements about the child’s feelings, attitudes, behaviours, experiences, etc.. with true/false, or with ratings of frequency or intensity (e.g., never, sometimes, always).

 

Performance based measures involve having the child do some task (e.g., drawing, story telling, sentence completions). These measures often allow for a deeper understanding of an individual’s issues, that they may not be ready or able to acknowledge or articulate. These measures are helpful when working with those individuals who have a hard time talking about their struggles, or who tend to say everything is “fine,” when clearly (as observed by those living with them), they are not. 

The time involved in a social emotional assessment varies with several factors, including the presenting issue, the rate at which the child is able to open up, and the goals of the assessment. With teens in particular, I like to use a Therapeutic Assessment approach to evaluation, that strives to engage the youth collaboratively in determining the goals of the assessment. This approach can often lead to increased motivation to engage with the recommendations that come out of the assessment.

A typical social emotional assessment may include the following:

  • Brief telephone interview with parents about presenting problem and goals of assessment

  • With teens, a one-hour initial consultation session to obtain consent for the assessment, to establish collaborative engagement, and to identify their own assessment goals.

  • A 1-2 hour developmental history interview with parent(s)

  • Several 1-2 hour interviews with child or teen

  • Administration of self, parent, and teacher rating scales

  • Administration of performance-based measures, as indicated

  • 1-hour feedback with parents

  • For teens over 13, a 30 minute to 1-hour feedback session

  • Written report

The cost of a social emotional assessment ranges from $2500 to $4000, depending on the complexity of the concerns, the age of the child, and the goals of the assessment. Please contact me with any questions or to book a social/emotional assessment.