Psycho-Diagnostic Services




Psychological diagnostic services, combined with the expertise of a qualified and experienced psychologist specialized in providing such services, provide valuable foundations for making informed decisions (rather than guessing or experimenting) about appropriate clinical, educational and/or even medical interventions for a child or adolescent who is struggling to master his or her developmental challenges.  These services allow a differentiation to be made between symptoms caused by chronic emotional distress (i.e. anxiety, depression), maladaptive behaviour patterns (i.e. aggressive, anti-social behaviour), immature areas of development (i.e. emotional regulation skills, frustration tolerance, bed wetting, inappropriate dependency on others, etc.) or detrimental environmental circumstances (i.e. chronic conflicts with others, mobbing, sibling rivalry, inappropriate performance expectations,  etc.).  These are all circumstances that individually or in combination can, in the long term, lead to dysfunctional patterns of personality development.  Psycho-diagnostics also allows an evaluation of the severity of one or more symptoms that need to be taken seriously and attended to, or the mildness of a symptom that, given immediate attention, may turn out to be a transient “developmental blockage”.  Psycho-diagnostics, performed and acted on in a timely manner, can prevent or at least alleviate the effects of an unfavourable developmental pathway.

Psycho-diagnostic procedures can include informal forms of gathering information, such as conducting interviews with parents and/or teachers, systematic clinical behaviour observations, the analysis of work samples, a review of school reports and/or previous clinical reports, etc.  It can also include more formal and structured forms of gathering relevant data about the child’s developmental pathway and his or her presenting symptoms.  This is often done with the help of questionnaires or rating scales that parents and/or teachers are asked to complete.  In this way valuable information can be collected from independent sources from adults who experience the child and his/her behaviour in everyday life.  Projective procedures allow an indirect but valuable evaluation of  the child or adolescent self-perception (self-worth, self-concept, self-confidence, etc.) and how he/she experiences his/her life circumstances.  Standardized psychological tests, such as intelligence tests, tests of memory, attention, reading, spelling, math and level of language proficiency, fine and gross motor skills etc. provide objective data about the child’s ability-achievement profile and/or neuropsychological functioning compared to same aged children or same grade-level students.

The art of performing psychological evaluations demands specialized academic training, years of professional experience and a high level of motivational commitment.  Depending on the questions to be answered, it can also demand several hours of time commitment and the maintenance of a wide range of psycho-diagnostic instruments for children aged 4 to adulthood.  The diagnostician plans the diagnostic procedure, administers those diagnostic instruments that are most likely to provide answers to the presenting questions, scores these instruments, evaluates and interprets the results and consolidates all the data collected according to the “state of the art” standards.  She then communicates her insights and conclusions to the child’s parents and teachers (and, if appropriate, to the child or adolescent) personally and/or in the form of a summary report or a full and detailed written report.  The information provided by a psychological, psycho-educational or neurodevelopmental evaluation allows the parents and the professionals entrusted with providing the child with “as optimal as possible” developmental and educational conditions to gain a more complete understanding of the causes and the severity of a child’s developmental difficulties but also of his or her well-developing areas of personality development.   Informed decisions can be made about the necessity (or lack of necessity) of implementing one or more intervention strategies.

The costs involved in providing psycho-diagnostic services are generally only reimbursed by private health insurance companies if these services are provided within the context of an application for a psychotherapeutic intervention.   Psycho-diagnostic services requested for “educational purposes” are usually not covered by health insurances (there are some exceptions to this rule).  The costs involved in providing documentary services for parents and school authorities are usually not covered by health insurances.  These services are offered on a “pay-out-of-own-pocket” basis.