Psychological Assessments

The assessment tools and psychometric tests outlined below are used widely by the psychological community in clinical, community, occupational and educational settings. They have been extensive researched for reliability and validity and many are based on appropriate normative data before they are used by Trauma Centre of Australia.

The screening tools in particular are common ways in which clinicians assess important aspects of a clients functioning from session to session and to help develop a thorough understanding of the client’s presentations to help develop appropriate and accurate treatment plans and goals.

The psychometric tests address various forms or pathology and cognitive impairment which the screening tools may have indicated. This form of assessment is more detailed and will accurately provide diagnosis and aid treatment plans.

Intake Form

Is required upon each phone call to make an appropriate booking and to refer to appropriate services. Questions include: personal details, nature of concern(s), referral pathways. This intake form is designed to screen incoming calls and to place clients into the appropriate services.

Background Information Form (BIF)

A background information form is usually administered by the clinician in the first session with the client. The form asks questions in order to provide a detailed explanation of the client’s concerns, background, family history, previous treatments, and sleep patterns and social/financial issues. This is conducted as a clinical interview to help the clinician develop a tailored treatment plan and begin to develop treatment goals and outcomes.

Mental Status Examination (MSE)

The MSE must be conducted by the clinician at each session as an observational analysis of the client. The MSE is the basis for understanding the client’s presentation and beginning to conceptualise their functioning into a diagnosis. A MSE is widely used in clinical settings to address areas such as; appearance, behaviour, thinking patterns, perception, cognitions, attention in the session, clients memory, their insight levels, orientation, cultural factors, mood, affect, sleep patterns, appetite, energy levels, anxiety symptoms, their speech and significant support person.

Risk Assessment (RA)

A risk assessment must be used at all times to assess a client’s risk of suicide. Instruments such as the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation may be used. Levels of risk identified must be responded through suicide interventions and requirements as outlined by the APS (Australian Psychological Society) Code of Ethics/Guidelines and the Commonwealth Law.

Psychometric Tests (All tests used are evidence based, empirically researched and PsychBA registered).

The tests are used to assess various aspects of a client’s functioning including; Personality, Cognition/intelligence, Affect, Academic, Social, Emotional, Psychopathology and Vocational.

Depression Anxiety Stress Scales DASS (2004-2nd ed.)

This is a screening and evaluation tool for measuring the severity of anxiety, depression, and stress. The test acknowledges sleep, appetite or sexual disturbances that could coexist with levels of anxiety, depression and stress.

Becks Depression Inventory BDI II (1996) Aaron T. Beck

This test assesses the severity of depression. The test was developed as a clinical indicator of the degree and presence of depression symptoms which are consistent with the DS-IV-TR diagnostic criteria

Beck Anxiety Inventory BAI (1988). Aaron T. Beck.

This test assesses the severity of anxiety. The test was developed as a clinical indicator of the degree and presence of anxiety symptoms which are consistent with the DS-IV-TR diagnostic criteria.

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale WAIS-IV- (2008)

This is a test that measures cognitive ability and can measure strengths and weaknesses of cognitive functioning including any impairment or dysfunction. The test obtains scores for verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory and processing speed. The test is designed to help guide treatment plans, educational development and help diagnose neuropsychological impairments, intellectual disability and giftedness.

Alcohol Use Inventory (Author(s): John Horn, PhD, Kenneth W. Wanberg, PhD, and F. Mark Foster, MS)

This is an Assessment of patterns of behaviour, attitudes, and symptoms associated with alcohol use and abuse.

The Alcohol Use Inventory (AUI) provides a basis for describing different ways in which individuals use alcohol, the benefits they derive from such use, the negative consequences associated with its use, and the degree of concern individuals express about the use of alcohol and its consequences.

Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory- Third Edition (SASSI-3) Author(s): Franklin G. Miller, James Roberts, Marlene K. Brooks, Linda E. Lazowski, and The SASSI Institute

This test quickly identifies adolescents and adults likely to have a substance abuse disorder.

The Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory—Third Edition(SASSI–3) and Adolescent Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory(SASSI–A2) is used to help us accurately identify adolescents and adults with a high probability of having a substance abuse disorder.

These instruments help guide appropriate treatment and are useful in a variety of settings. Both are effective even with those unable or unwilling to acknowledge relevant behaviours.

SASSI–3 subscales also evaluate:

  • Attitude toward assessment
  • Ability to acknowledge problems
  • Defensiveness
  • Risk of legal problems
  • Emotional pain

Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (BSS). Author(s): Aaron T. Beck

This test evaluates suicidal thinking. The test is used as a starting point for possible suicide ideation. The scale is made up of 21 items. Five screening items reduce the length and the intrusiveness of the questionnaire for patients who are non-suicidal.