What is Psychological Testing and how do I know If I Need it?

Psychological tests are standardized tests used to measure characteristics, feelings, beliefs and skills. These tests are also used to measure the presence of certain mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, substance use, or other personality characteristics. A standard psychological assessment includes an interview with a mental health practitioner and a psychological test. Testing can be completed independently or can be administered by a psychologist. Generally tests are given to help gather thorough and complete information in order to understand a problem more in depth and are used as a guide for treatment. These tests measure an individual’s performance at a specific point in time. Psychological tests help understand general behaviors or trends, but its important to note that these tests do to predict future actions, thoughts, feelings or behaviors.

A thorough assessment of an individual will first include a medical examination to rule out possibilities of medical illnesses. After ruling out medical illnesses or diseases, your medical provider may refer you to a psychologist for further assessment and testing. Typically a medical health care provider will make a referral for psychological testing if they believe it is beneficial. It is also common for doctors, teachers, and social workers to make referrals for further psychological testing.

Psychologists administer psychological testing for a wide variety of reasons. There are many psychological tests available and each measures different attributes. There are aptitude tests that help to identify learning disabilities and there are tests that evaluate if a client is experiencing an emotional disorder. Other tests measure personality traits. For example, if an individual is having problems with personal relationships or interpersonal skills there are tests available that help to identify personality traits that might contribute to the problem. Testing helps to provide valuable information and insight in understanding issues while also identifying individuals strengthens.

Contact Dr. Parisi for low cost therapy in Chicago, Mt. Prospect, and surrounding areas including Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Barrington, Hinsdale, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Park Ridge, and Wilmette.

What is Solution-Focused Couples Therapy?

Often times, couples seek professional counseling help far too late after having experienced years of tension and built-up resentment.  In order to avoid becoming a statistic in the nation’s soaring divorce rate, it is important to select a mental health professional who practices Solution-Focused Couples Counseling.

Solution-Focused Couples Counseling, as the name implies, is geared toward helping couples devise practical solutions for their problems focused on meeting each other’s needs. The primary assumption of Solution-Focused Couples Counseling is that relationships succeed or fail to the extent that couples meet each other’s needs and place their partner’s need on par with their own needs.

Solution-Focused Couples Counseling is a type of psychotherapy that is active, goal-driven, and focused on the here-and-now.  The central question posed by a mental health professional who practices this type of psychotherapy is “What would you be doing differently if you were doing a better job of meeting this particular need of your partner?”

There are a variety of exercises employed in the practice of Solution-Focused Couples Counseling.  One type of exercise has the couple come up with a list of what they perceive one another’s needs are. This allows for honest communication about needs and a chance to dispel misunderstandings.  Another exercise allows the couple to define specifically, in behavioral terms, what they can do to meet each other’s needs. Over the course of therapy, the couple reports back to the mental health professional how they are doing with trying out new sets of behaviors.  The emphasis is on having the couple offer each other positive feedback to try to build in more goodwill, encouragement, and engender optimism that the relationship can succeed.

Overcoming Relationship Problems

Problems can strike at relationships any time. Whether the couple is celebrating many years together or just getting to know one another, there is no immunity to such issues.  How can you avoid having these problems strike your relationships? There are several things to keep in mind during any kind of relationship problem; a few of them are listed below.  Although each relationship is unique, these tips are universal.

  1. Communicate – sometimes when couples are experiencing problems related to their feelings for each other, they retreat into themselves rather than discussing their thoughts, feelings, concerns, and emotions. Unfortunately, this may make the problem worse.  By communicating with the one you love, you may find that the problems are resolved more easily than you had anticipated. You may find that the issues you thought were a major division between you and your partner was simply a misunderstanding that had gotten blown out of proportion.
  2. The Blame Game – relationship problems often turn into a never-ending round of the blame game in which each of you blame the other.  It is important to resist this game; it does not help solve your problems and often deepens the chasm between you.  Communicate, as emphasized above, rather than playing this game.
  3. Airing Dirty Laundry – for many couples, relationship problems lead to talking to family members and friends about intensely personal, relationship issues. This can be a huge mistake.  It is important to remember that this does not help solve your problems – and your gripes may make their way back to your partner and cause tremendous conflict and resentment.

Although you, like everyone else in the world, are susceptible to relationship problems, you can overcome them. (See here for more tips on how to heal your relationship.)

Just remember to communicate, avoid playing the blame game, and resist the temptation to air your dirty laundry in a way that may intensify conflict between you and your partner.

If you employ these simple tips – as well as heeding any other good relationship advice you may have heard from people you trust – you should find that your relationship problems are resolved.  Others may crop up in the future, but you will have the tools to handle them.