Psychological Assessment Services
From Dr. Jochem
Every course of counseling is based upon an evaluation of the presenting problem, how it impacts upon the individual, couple or family and the history of the problem. Evaluation is a fundamental component of general mental health practice.
Sometimes, however, there is an indication for a specialized psychological assessment, usually to guide treatment, educational, medical or work-related decisions. I have obtained training and clinical experience in the provision of specialized evaluations, as described below.
Threat Assessment Consultation
When I completed my training as a clinical psychologist I didn't anticipate that I would later develop expertise in threat assessment. The development of this skill set came about through a confluence of professional experiences and has become a subspecialty area of interest in my practice over the past thirty years.
I trained and practiced in inpatient psychiatric settings, eventually becoming the administrator and chief clinician overseeing several psychiatry programs, emergency rooms and consultation-liaison services. In those settings, the clinician regularly encounters circumstances where an assessment of dangerousness is indicated. I developed a competency in threat assessment at the same time that worked as a consultant to schools in a variety of other capacities related to suicide prevention, post-traumatic care and assessment of at-risk students. Incidents of targeted school violence became an increasing concern and threat assessment in the school setting came to be a subspecialty focus of my clinical psychology practice. I have served as a consultant to many school districts under circumstances where an at-risk student or staff member requires specialized threat assessment services.
A clinician interested in threat assessment now has a variety of resources upon which to rely in developing their practice pattern. A standard of care has emerged in threat assessment which emphasizes the use of a school-based threat assessment team to manage threat circumstances. I have worked with many districts to help schools develop threat assessment capacities and have provided training in many schools and school districts. The research and training models which guide my own approach to threat assessment practice include the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines developed by Dr. Dewey Cornell and his associates, as well as another model published by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. Both of these models emphasize the use of school-based threat assessment teams but also recommend use of outside consultation—a clinician such as myself—when indicated. I provide this specialized evaluation and consultation to at-risk students, working closely with the school threat assessment team.
On occasion, employers, employee assistance programs or disability management organizations may wish to determine if an employee's psychological functioning is interfering with his or her performance in the workplace. There may be concerns regarding mood, substance abuse, concentration difficulties or behavioral changes which prompt the referral. Or, in the case of police/fire personnel, there may have been a work-related traumatic incident which prompts the need to determine if the employee is cleared to return to their customary duties.
Typically, the components of fitness-for-duty evaluations include the following:
Specialized evaluations of children and adolescents to determine fitness for inclusion in the school setting
The exclusion of a student from school attendance pending a mental health evaluation is a relatively rare event. However, under certain circumstances school administrators may require that a student have an independent mental health assessment—a school fitness evaluation—before the student is cleared to participate in the school setting. Typically, the circumstances prompting such a referral relate to behavioral changes or concerns over an apparent deterioration in functioning or, perhaps, concerns over the student's possible risk of dangerousness to self or others.
A school fitness evaluation is appropriate for students who are not deemed to require an urgent evaluation in an emergency room setting, but whose capacity to safely function in the school environment has come into question. Typically, an event or circumstance has prompted the school to require that the student receive an evaluation before resuming school attendance.
The school fitness evaluation shares many components with adult fitness-for-duty assessments and typically includes the following components:
Pre-surgical consultations for persons being considered for gastric bypass procedures.
Mental health providers are frequently asked to participate in the evaluation of candidates for bariatric surgery. Many surgical weight loss programs require patients to be evaluated prior to undergoing surgical procedures. I provide assessment services which are consistent with recommendations of the American Association of Bariatric Surgery. Pre-operative evaluations for patients under consideration for bariatric surgery may include the following components:
Persons applying for disability benefits under the Social Security Administration or through their employer may be required to submit to a specialized mental health evaluation. Typically, these assessments consist of the following components:
Please contact me by phone or email with any questions about these assessment services.