At Visions Treatment Centers, teens’ treatment is tailored to their unique circumstances. But to provide an effective treatment experience, we need to fully explore and understand these circumstances. A critical part of the early stages of the treatment process at Visions is a comprehensive psychological evaluation, which allows in-house psychiatrists and specialists to make a more comprehensive diagnosis and determine how best to approach a teen’s condition.

Mental health issues are complex, and often require a multimodal approach. This means treatment will require tackling multiple factors at once, addressing a teen’s environment, physical health, neurological health, emotional well-being, and past experiences.

Rather than take a shot in the dark, we rely on the expertise of our psychiatrists’ rigorous comprehensive psychological evaluation to determine what set of treatments will work best in the long-term for our patients.

The Comprehensive Psychological Evaluation Process

Comprehensive psychological evaluation begins one or two weeks after admission. The time before evaluation is meant to give specialists a chance to closely observe a teen’s behavior and interactions with others, as well as give the teen time to adjust to the environment and start to feel comfortable at Visions.

Once a teen has begun to acclimate to their new temporary home and feel ready to start the process, a licensed psychiatrist will begin working with the teen to kickstart the evaluation. This isn’t a pass-or-fail test, and there is no good or bad grade. We encourage teens to avoid taking online tests or practice tests to figure out what is “wrong” with them. Any attempts to “prepare” for evaluation can sometimes backfire, and make it seem like a teen may have more or fewer problems than they do.

The comprehensive psychological evaluation will be based on several factors, including the teen’s behavior at Visions, and existing medical records and information, such as a detailed family mental health history, any prior visits to a therapist or psychiatrist, information about medication, substance use, and other relevant information. Some important highlights include:

  • Obtaining and reviewing a thorough history of a teen’s personal and family mental health.
  • Reviewing available records of a teen’s health and behavior (including school records or previous evaluations).
  • Consulting with parents, school faculty, and Visions staff.
  • A thorough interview with the teen to discuss thoughts, symptoms, behaviors, and address important questions.
  • A formal questionnaire and checklist tailored to the teen’s current condition.
  • A series of psychological tests, to finalize a diagnosis and determine potential treatment options.
  • Further testing and evaluation if needed, depending on the validity and accuracy of the first evaluation process.

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Effects of Comprehensive Psychological Evaluation on Treatment Outcome

Some diagnoses often respond best to a combination of medication and therapy. For some disorders, certain experiential treatments, including alternative therapies like neurofeedback and somatic experiencing, have shown a lot of promise and have been effective. While we have a large repertoire of treatments and an experienced staff, treatment is more effective when applied with precision, rather than a scattershot approach.

Symptoms can change and evolve, and treatments must adapt. At Visions, our comprehensive psychological evaluation process involves a thorough observation of each teen’s behavior and symptoms, and we work closely with several different medical professionals to ensure every teen gets the right treatment for their symptoms.

Diagnoses are not necessarily written in stone and are meant to help us better contextualize a teen’s experiences, rather than impose a strict label on their disorder. At Visions, every treatment process must be unique, to address the unique circumstances teens face.