The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) television studios, UDCtv, provides the Washington, DC area with programming geared to foster health, political and environmental awareness.  Dr. Katherine Marshall Woods hosts this UDCtv show entitled, “A Healthy Mind” featuring guests from a myriad of professions lending information to promote healthy living and lifestyles.  Entries entitled: “A Healthy Mind” share these interviews.

Drs. Marshall Woods and Sarah Hedlund on set of A Healthy Mind

On January 5, 2020, Dr. Sarah L. Hedlund, was invited onto the show to discuss how performing psychological and neuropsychological evaluations allow us to understand the complexities of who we are. Dr. Sarah Hedlund is a dedicated psychologist and psychoanalyst who is an assistant professor of clinical psychology at The George Washington University PsyD program and co-chairs the assessment track. She is also on the faculty of Washington School of Psychiatry’s Supervision Program. 

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Dr. Marshall Woods: “Hello, my name is Dr. Katherine Marshall Woods, adjunct professor at the George Washington University, and your host for this edition of A Healthy Mind. The purpose of this video series to educate and inform the public about mental health, from public policy and environmental factors to the various disorders that affect healthy minds.”

“Understanding the complexities of who we are as individuals occur over the lifespan. It can be confusing to grasp the depths of our thoughts, emotions, and perspectives and understand the meaning behind these aspects of ourselves. To become better acquainted with one’s thoughts and feelings some individuals’ turn to obtaining a psychological evaluation. The results from a psychological evaluation can secure beliefs held about ones self and reveal unknown attributes regarding our inner world.”

“With me today is Dr. Sarah L. Hedlund, a Washington, DC based psychologist and psychoanalyst, who conducts psychological and neuropsychological assessments with children, adolescents, and adults. She is my colleague as the clinical assistant professor of clinical psychology, at The George Washington University PsyD program. Where she teaches assessments, supervises students in therapy and assessments, and is the Associate Director of the center clinic. She is also the Director of Training at the Frost School and is an affiliate with the master’s in organizational development program at American University.  Welcome Dr. Hedlund!”

Dr. Hedlund: “Thank you for having me.”

Dr. Marshall Woods: “Tell us a little bit about what psychological evaluations are.”

Dr. Hedlund: “Fine, psychological evaluations are done in many settings. They’re done in schools, often referred by psychiatrist, or psychologist, sometimes neurologist, sometimes they’re done in forensic settings; they’re widely used because they help us understand a wide-range of functioning. So, people may be curious about their cognitive functioning, or their memory, their ability to pay attention, their academic functioning, their learning style. Or maybe something more as you said in your opening about their inner world, so sort of personality functioning. So, they’re used in a variety of settings because they are so able to help us understand such a wide-range of our functioning.

Dr. Marshall Woods: “You said cognitive functioning, what is that exactly?”

Dr. Hedlund: “So it helps us understand a bit about what somebody’s strengths and weaknesses are in terms of the way that they think, how they think. So, around maybe your more of a visual learner, maybe more auditory, maybe your more of a verbal, have stronger verbal skills; so, your vocabulary and your ability to think conceptually and your abstract verbal reasoning. Or maybe you think more visually-spatially, or have like the kinds of things that are used more in engineering or being an architect, you know, and less in the verbal realm more in the visual-spatial realm. So, it really helps us understand something more about the kinds of cognitive tasks that you’re more adept at.” 

Dr. Marshall Woods: “That provides a lot of information for someone, just that aspect alone it sounds; but, a psychological evaluation then includes maybe all of the other aspects you were noting, the academic, or the emotional, or personality parts. Can you tell me a little bit about those?’

Dr. Hedlund: “Sure, so one of my most common referrals is maybe some adolescent is having some difficulty in school and we’re wanting to understand sort of what the difficulty is. So, maybe it has something to do with their cognitive functioning, so maybe they’re better in English than at math and so, we can do the evaluation to understand that. It also helps us understand something about; maybe someone has a learning disability. Maybe there is some aspect of learning that is difficult for them. Maybe, they’re having trouble learning to read, or understanding what they read, or maybe processing math, maybe attention is really the issue. So, I have a lot of referrals who have trouble with their attentional concentration, focus, that sort of thing. Or, maybe there is some more emotional functioning, you know, maybe there’s something going on at home, or maybe there’s a particular stressor in the family or in the child’s life, and the difficulty that they’re having functioning in school does not have anything to do with cognitive or learning or attention but has more to do with sort of personality or emotional functioning. And so, you know, a real comprehensible evaluation can sort of look at all these jigsaw puzzle pieces and really try and tease apart what might be the underlining contributing factors.”

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