Purpose

The psychological assessment (also called the biopsychosocial or psychiatric assessment) gathers information to diagnose any mental disorder that the person may have; it is the first step in treating a diagnosed dis order. The process typically starts with a chief complaint or presenting problem—this is usually what prompts the person to seek help. A complete psychological assessment should include:

• biopsychosocial history

• neurological assessment

• psychological testing (if applicable)

• physical examination (if required by a psychiatrist)

• brain imaging (if necessary)

Once complete, the assessment will help establish either a tentative or definitive diagnosis. With this information, the clinician can inform the patient of the results, and treatment can begin.

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