Psychological Testing & Evaluation

Our team of psychiatrists and psychologists at Southern California Sunrise Mental Health in Mission Viejo can help you with your psychiatric evaluation and diagnosis. If you or a loved one has been struggling with a mental condition, read further and consider giving us a call.

Psychological Evaluation and Diagnosis

Psychological Testing & Evaluation

Our team of psychiatrists and psychologists at Southern California Sunrise Mental Health in Mission Viejo can help you with your psychiatric evaluation and diagnosis. If you or a loved one has been struggling with a mental condition, read further and consider giving us a call.

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Table of Contents

What Is Psychological Evaluation?

A psychological evaluation is an assessment of an individual’s mental health, determining whether the person has a mental illness or not. During the review, our doctors carefully check the patient’s medical history and evaluates their mental health, searching for indicators of mental conditions.

Tests and assessments are two separate components of a psychological evaluation. Testing includes formal tests and questionnaires, sometimes referred to as “norm-referenced” tests. These test will grade you in comparison to a standard norm. Assessments include more informal tests, surveys, interviews, school and medical records, and other observational information.

These evaluations assist in determining the potential extent that damage that the mental illness had done up to that point.

These initial steps help in developing an individualized treatment plan.

Signs That A Psychological Assessment Is Necessary

According to The American Psychiatric Association, there are many warning signs and symptoms that would deem a psych evaluation necessary. Knowing these early warning signs and symptoms are extremely important.

Getting psychological help early in the development of a mental illness can greatly reduce potential problems in the future of one’s health.

A few of the more common warning signs that are often seen include:

Sudden and frequent mood swings: where someone consistently shows dramatic shifts in emotions and actions that are often hard to explain.
Drastic changes in sleep patterns and appetite: Personal care is often seen to take a severe blow because of the loss of interest due to the changes in sleep and eating patterns.

Newly developed anxiety and paranoia: Many people develop different suspicions or fears about other people or situations while battling a mental health disorder.

Learning disabilities and difficulty handling problems: Expressing new challenges with rational thinking, speech, memory, and ability to concentrate on specific issues.

Frequently withdrawing themselves from all social interactions: All interest regarding interactions with others, including close friends or family members, seems to dwindle over short periods of time.
Exhibiting unusual behaviors: Frequently exhibiting new behaviors that do not fit the individual’s past and actions are seen being done in very uncharacteristic ways.

What Is Included With Mental Health Evaluations?

A mental health evaluation typically takes between 20 and 90 minutes. With the state of current public health, these evaluations may be done virtually.

Well-known types of testing involved in psychological evaluations include:

Cognitive Evaluation

Cognitive evaluations screen for cognitive impairments that may negatively affect one’s memory and other mental functions. These tests won’t diagnose a cause, but they can help identify mental problems.

Common cognitive tests include:

  • Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA): A 15-minute test that tasks the patient to memorize a short list of words, identify a picture, and copying a drawing of an object.
  • Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE): A 10-minute test that tasks the patient to name the day’s date, count backwards, and identify everyday objects.
  • Mini-Cogs: A 5-minute test that tasks the patient to recall a three-word list of objects and drawing a clock.

Personal History

Medical professionals conducting a psych evaluation will ask the patient questions regarding a history of their lifestyle, habits, and other things to identify stressors in their life. For example, the therapist may ask direct questions relating to the patient’s career, childhood, family, or marital status.

Mental Health History

During the assessment, a doctor may ask about any symptoms they may have been experiencing. They will ask about any psychiatric treatments they have had — whether successful or unsuccessful. They may also ask if there is any history of mental health problems in the family.

Physical Exam

There are some instances where a physical impairment may be a large contributing factor in a mental illness. Physical exams are frequently done to help the industry professionals determine if a neurological complication or other forms of physical disorders are to blame for creating the symptoms and side-effects.

Patients are strongly encouraged to be completely transparent with their doctors and inform them about any and all physical conditions that they have already been diagnosed with, that they are aware of, or that already have been advised to take medications to manage.

Psychological Testing & Evaluation in Mission Viejo

If you or a loved one has been struggling with mental health, consider getting professional help.

The team at Southern California Sunrise Recovery Center for Mental Health in Mission Viejo, Orange County can help you with an honest evaluation and diagnosis. Our goal is to provide the most helpful services possible to our patients through practical and genuine care.

Call us today with the button below or fill out the insurance verification form on this page to see if you qualify for an insurance-covered psychological evaluation and diagnosis.

Clinically Reviewed By:

Joe Cavins, LMFT

Joseph Cavins holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Cal State Fullerton and a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology. Initially inspired during his tenure as a school bus driver, Joseph balanced his duties with his studies, demonstrating a strong commitment to his academic pursuits. Post-graduation, he gained significant experience in clinical settings, interning at Aspen Community Services where he later served for 10 years, eventually becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He also earned certification from the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Association as a Mental Health Provider.

Joseph’s professional journey includes roles in private practice and contracting with the Santa Ana Unified School District’s Special Education Department, culminating in his recent position at Southern California Sunrise Recovery in 2024.