Reasons for Testing
Some mental health practitioners feel that testing can uncover material that is not being made available from their client in the initial stages of treatment. If you are beginning treatment it may be difficult to talk about your problems with a stranger, or you may be ashamed of your feelings, or you may not have enough insight into what is happening with you. The mental health provider may then find it tough to make a diagnosis and set up treatment. Other reasons for testing include:
Many tests are constructed to tell the evaluator when the person is not giving truthful answers. Objective tests are designed to do this. The evaluator can “red flag” certain responses and uncover the “truth” of the situation later. Subjective tests are used to uncover a person's feelings, attitudes, and experiences, have right or wrong answers, but present material for therapy.
Proponents of psychological testing, especially objective testing, say it allows the evaluator to make a faster diagnosis based on scientific information rather than doing a series of interviews over weeks or months.
Some mental health practitioners only do testing for other therapists, the courts, etc. Many are more comfortable with testing and want a quick way to make a diagnosis. Some practitioners may lack good interviewing skills, so giving the client a self-reporting questionnaire is easier for them.
If you decide to enter treatment for your anxiety and are asked to take psychological tests, discuss with your practitioner the reason for the testing, what the test will be assessing and why, and what to expect the test to be like, for example, objective or subjective, time involved, etc. Testing is most likely done by psychologists and sometimes psychiatrists who are specially trained in how to administer tests, to read and write up the results, and then make evaluations, assessments, and diagnoses based on the information.