When a professional is trying to find out if an individual qualifies for a psychological diagnosis such as depression, attention deficit disorder (ADD), or some other psychiatric disorder, a variety of psychological assessments may be carried out. But an independent psychological assessment works a little bit differently.

What Is an Independent Psychological Assessment?

This type of assessment consists of a battery of tests, including a personality test, psychopathology component, and an intelligence component.

Based on the information that's gathered, a report will then be completed. "It's a full-on, and widely used, evaluation on how a person is functioning," explains Francine Lederer, PsyD, clinical psychologist and founder of LA Talk Therapy. "Depending on the patient's needs, it's not uncommon to order one in order to get some background history, and history on the patient's everyday functioning, and can be very helpful in making a diagnosis and establishing a treatment protocol."

However, an independent psychological assessment is not usually performed by the person's current physician, or where the person is currently being treated, says Allen H. Weg, Ed.D, licensed psychologist and founder and executive director of Stress & Anxiety Services of New Jersey. "Generally, it does not use any other reports from previous professionals. And these assessments tend to be lengthy and expensive."

"An independent psychological assessment attempts to strip away any personal biases that may arise from having a personal connection or investment in the outcome on the part of the professional working with the patient," adds Simon A. Rego, PsyD, ABPP, ACT, associate professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and director of Psychology Training at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

"It can be hard for a therapist to be objective if he or she has worked with the patient for a long time. When you have worked with someone in therapy, an alliance forms and it is not always easy to remain impartial." By having an independent assessment, he adds, it's more likely that the professional will be neutral and focused on the best outcome for the patient.

When Is an Independent Psychological Assessment Necessary?

An independent psychological assessment may be ordered in one of these situations:

In a child custody case. If one parent is questioning the validity of a report prepared by the other parent's psychologist, an independent psychological assessment may be ordered by the court.

Criminal trials. In other court cases, both the defense attorney and the prosecutor may request an independent psychological assessment. "When a person is on trial for a criminal offense or a drug charge, the defense and prosecution will often arrange for their own independent evaluations," Rego explains.

Job screenings. Employers for certain jobs, such as those involving public safety like a police force, may order an independent psychological assessment. Such a screening can provide valuable insight about a job applicant to public safety agencies.

Disability claims. In the case of a disability claim, the test may be ordered by an insurance company. If a disability request is due to a psychological problem such as depression, especially if an employee has been out of work for a considerable period of time, the insurance company may want this type of evaluation.

Simon A. Rego, PsyD, ABPP, ACT, reviewed this article.


"Independent Psychological Assessment." Aboutmen.ca.http://www.aboutmen.ca/mens-health/health-areas/mental-health/independent-psychological-assessment