Evaluations & Clinical Measures

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Presenting Problem

An essential component of a mental health assessment is carrying out a detailed exploration of the presenting problem. This assessment will cover why you are seeking help, a history of the problem and a history of your mental health. Your clinician will ask you questions such as how long you’ve had your symptoms, what your personal and family mental health history looks like, and if you’ve had any previous psychiatric treatment.

It is important to consider how the symptoms affect your day-to-day life, what makes them better or worse, and whether you’ve tried to manage them on your own. You may be asked questions about your ability to carry out daily responsibilities: these include looking after yourself, and whether you are able to go to work or your place of education. The assessment will also engage with your relationships with your friends and family.

It can be useful to reflect on your own understanding of the problem and what explanations you have already considered. Existing attribution systems often significantly impact treatment and recovery outcomes.

Personal History

You will be asked questions about your lifestyle and personal history including relationship status and previous relationships, work, and interests. Questions about upbringing, especially childhood and adolescence, are not uncommon because many mental health problems can have predisposing developmental factors. The assessment will enquire about particular sources of stress in your life and whether you have experience any significant trauma, loss, or other adverse events. This is not always an easy conversation to have. Our practitioners are sensitive to these difficulties and are able to pace and manage the conversation in a semi-structured way, avoiding explicit details when this could be distressing and unhelpful to you at this early stage.

Mental Evaluation

You will be asked questions about your attitudes, values, beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Your clinician will observe and provide an appraisal. This will answer questions like are you cooperative, appeasing, irritable, shy, or hostile? Do you make eye contact? Are you talkative and open, or cagey? How do you compare with others your age, similar problems, circumstances etc.?

Clinical Measures

As part of the assessment process, you may be asked to complete some clinical forms. This can take place either before, during or after the consultation. There are a range of clinical measures that the clinician may use to aide their understanding of the nature and severity of your difficulties. Clinical measures only serve as an aide and should be used only in a context of a face to face meeting with a qualified professional. There are screening tools for various conditions available online; however, these should be used with caution as they only provide preliminary and sometimes inaccurate evidence of a potential issue which should be evaluated further by a qualified clinician.

Cognitive Evaluation

Depending on the presenting problem and the patient’s history, during the assessment your clinician may want to formally gauge your ability to think clearly, recall information (memory), and your capacity for mental reasoning. Formal cognitive assessments using a standardised battery of tests tend not to be routine. They are, however, generally used where the clinician feels that mental health is not the full explanation for the presenting problem and there may be some underlying neurodevelopmental (ASD, ADHD) or neurological condition (dementia, brain injury, other medical conditions) contributing to current difficulties.

A cognitive evaluation needs to be carried out by a trained, qualified and specialist clinician. Usually, there is a formal and more lengthy assessment process that may take more than one consultation and involve meeting more than one specialist. In addition, information may be collected from others who know you well in a variety of contexts. When assessing children or adolescents this information may be collected from someone at their school, their GP, or their parents. You will be informed about additional costs of an extensive in-depth assessment in advance of the formal assessment process.

You may be asked to take tests for basic cognitive tasks, such as focusing your attention, remembering short lists, recognising common shapes or objects, or solving simple problems.

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Where We Are

All our consultation sessions are conducted at Brighter Spaces in Guildford

Address

54 Quarry Street
Guildford
GU1 3UA

Phone/Email

Please get in touch with clinician directly to book your appointment.

01483 351331

Parking

Castle Car Park/Tunsgate
Sydenham Road,
GU1 3RW

Millbrook Car Park, A281, GU1 3UF

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