What is it? Figuring out what is causing your life difficulties.

You may feel that something is simply ‘not quite right,’ you may feel stress or frustration, or you may have a very good understanding of the problem you are dealing with. Alternatively, you or someone you care about may have been referred to the Venn Center for an assessment. Assessments are scheduled after your Intake Conference. An assessment involves talking with a Venn Center Psychiatrist or Psychologist in a directed way about how you are feeling and what is going on in your life.

General types of assessments offered at VennCenter

Mental Health Assessment

A Mental Health Assessment (MHA) is a comprehensive, overall appraisal of the way you are currently feeling, thinking, and dealing with your life. Problems may manifest themselves in many ways; they may affect your reactions to people and events, they may impact your ability to control your emotions or your ability to think clearly, they may even affect your memory. Sometimes they affect you physically.

A clinician will conduct an MHA to get a thorough understanding of how well you feel you are able to deal with not only the problem you are facing, but also how well you are able to function in your job, in your relationships, and with all of your responsibilities. A detailed understanding of your experiences and feelings leads to an accurate diagnosis of the problem you are dealing with. An accurate diagnosis, in turn, will help you and your clinician choose the best-fitting treatments and goals. MHAs may involve a variety of ways of getting to know more about you; your clinician may interview you or request that you complete questionnaires. Sometimes an MHA will involve interviews with other professionals or laboratory tests (e.g., blood or urine tests). You can expect that your clinician will explain all procedures to you in advance and will provide you with an opportunity to ask questions and understand all that is involved with your specific assessment. After your Mental Health Assessment, your clinician will generate a report and share the results with you.”

Neuropsychiatric Assessment

A Neuropsychiatric Assessment provides information about your brain’s functioning. The extent to which your brain is operating optimally is an important feature of understanding symptoms that a person may be experiencing in a variety of ways. For example, an individual may experience significant trouble learning specific information, either at work or at school. Brain activities that have been slowed or impaired may be associated with these challenges to do his/her work. In this case, the reported feelings may be associated with impaired cognitive functioning revealed in a neuropsychiatric exam. A neuropsychiatric exam may involve an interview that asks you to respond to questions, recall information, and perform calculations. In some rare cases, the neuropsychiatric exam may involve a CAT, QEEG, or MRI scan.

Developmental Assessment

A Developmental Assessment (DA) obtains information about an individual’s functioning in areas and life domains that are important to ones age and stage in life. For some, it may be recommended that a child’s pediatrician provide some information about developmental milestones that a young child has or has not achieved in the earliest years of development. Other information will be collected to help understand the extent to which an individual’s developmental pathway reflects “on-time” vs. “off-time” transitions and events in his or her life. In addition DAs involve interviews with children, adolescents, and adults to get a sense of their subjective experiences meeting the demands of life. The final component of the DA focuses on an individual’s life goals—a person’s future orientation. DAs take place in a private setting and encourage an individual to talk about life at different ages and stages. A full report that takes into account a person’s developmental history, current developmental functioning, and plans for the future will be provided to the client’s lead clinician to help choose specific goals for treatment and programs that may be helpful to the client.