If a family hires a Consultant and has never had testing done, it’s a strong possibility that it will be strongly encouraged.  Psychological testing is a tool to assist with continued care.  This recommendation occurs not because the Consultant wants the family to spend more money on another item, process, or step.  Yes, diagnostic testing can range in price but there’s a lot more to it than just dollar signs.  

Often, an evaluation is requested to assist with diagnostic clarification, treatment and continued care planning.  Instead of making a guess of what a young person may need or what they’re struggling with, it’s offered for them to take a series of assessments to provide concrete answers in a clinical perspective.  This is a chance for the entire therapeutic team (Consultant, Testing Psychologist, Program Therapist, and client) to eliminate any clinical concerns.

It’s also important to note that in going through this process, everyone on the team may learn nothing new.  It’s the mindset of “well, we know what we already know.”  On the flip side, we could find uncover issues we didn’t know.  In this case, that is very important for the young person’s care and treatment moving forward.   From a continuum care program perspective, receiving recent testing with a clear diagnosis and clinical recommendations is appreciated and allows programs to make informed decisions about appropriateness of clients.

If you had IQ testing done in 2nd grade for your now 19-year-old, it’s important to consider testing again. The report that is produced represents the adolescent or young adult’s functioning at a specific point in time.  The Psychologist will note that as things change and the young person develops, the conclusions and recommendations will likely need to be updated.  As we know during adolescent and emerging adult years, the brain is still developing.  In order to provide accurate clinical support, families need to consider current testing.

The concern I hear the most, is surrounding who will have access to see the final psychological report.  To be transparent, it is recommended that everyone from the therapeutic team be able to read and review the full report.  However, if the client is a young adult, they can dictate who can and cannot read the evaluation.  Or they want to be specific, they can share only limited portions of an evaluation.  For adolescents, the parents are the ones who can release this information to the therapeutic team and/or any potential programs for continued care.  More often it is asked whether this will be shared with an employer, or a college.  The answer to both is no.

Certainly, a family can opt to not move forward with testing.  In going that route, there is still the potential for several things to happen.  First, some programs require testing before being admitted into a program.  Programs that require this are strict on ensuring an accurate clinical profile of potential clients or students.   Secondly, if a program does not require an assessment prior to Admissions, the Clinical Team will be paying close attention to the newly admitted client.  If they notice something not matching up with the clinical profile they thought they would be working with, they will then recommend testing while

What you’ll hear from Consultants, Therapists, or Programs is that testing is beneficial.  Clients who have had testing done in residential treatment or wilderness therapy prior to a continuum care placement tent to match best to programs that holistically support their specific needs.  That’s a mouthful, and yet there’s a lot of truth to it.  Regardless of when you are getting testing, the final report can confirm what we already knew or shed light on the truth.  It’s hard to ignore a truth when it’s coming from a Psychologist who completed a series of assessments.  If someone recommended you get your child testing, seriously consider how this could be a worthwhile report.

For anyone looking for additional resources around mental health, substance abuse, college transition coaching, or parent resources you can find them on: https://www.lilley-consulting.com/ or follow @lilleyconsulting, or https://www.facebook.com/LilleyConsultingLLC/.


  • Joanna Lilley, MA, NCC

    Therapeutic Consultant / Young Adult Transition Specialist / College Success Coach

    Lilley Consulting

    After previously working at two institutions of higher education, specifically in Student Success & Retention, Joanna hung up her shingle to provide support for the flight of students leaving colleges campuses.  She now dedicates herself to working solely with emerging adults who unravel when they land on a college campus.  Her passion and drive is to coach this population back into good academic standing, or connect this population to mental health and substance abuse treatment programs that will provide stability, sobriety, and the executive functioning skills this population needs to move forward in life.  Most of her clients are currently enrolled on campus, or those who have already left feeling defeated.  With a magic wand, Joanna supports young adults with mental health issues with their the transition into adulthood and back into higher education.  Fear not, she works with the entire family system to help them heal and grow as this is not a "quick fix."  You can learn more about Lilley Consulting by checking out the website.  You can also listen to the Success is Subjective Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or any podcast listening platform where she interviews individuals across the country who took a break during their emerging adulthood years.  This podcast is ideal for young adults or families members who are looking for hope and relief in supporting a loved one.  When not working with young adults, you will find Joanna writing or playing outdoors with her rescue pup in the mountains of western Colorado.