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Tests and assessments are two separate but related components of a psychological evaluation. Psychologists use both types of tools to help them arrive at a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

In many ways, psychological testing and assessment are similar to medical tests. If a patient has physical symptoms, a primary care provider may order X-rays or blood tests to understand what’s causing those symptoms. The results of the tests help inform the development of a treatment plan.

Together, they allow a psychologist to see the full picture of a person’s strengths and limitations.

If a person is having problems at work or school, or in personal relationships, tests can help a psychologist understand whether he or she might have issues with anger management or interpersonal skills, or certain personality traits that contribute to the problem. Other tests evaluate whether clients are experiencing emotional disorders such as anxiety or depression.
The underlying cause of a person’s problems isn’t always clear. For example, if a child is having trouble in school, do they have a reading problem such as dyslexia? An attention problem such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? Difficulty with impulse control?
Psychological tests and assessments allow a psychologist to understand the nature of the problem, and figure out the best way to go about addressing it.

Psychologists pick and choose a specific set of assessments and tests for each individual client. And not just anyone can perform a psychological evaluation. Licensed clinical psychologists are expertly trained to administer assessments and tests and interpret the results.


Psychological testing isn’t like taking a multiple-choice exam that you either pass or fail. Rather, psychologists use information from the various tests and assessments to reach a specific diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.

Some people are tempted to peek at the tests ahead of time. If they suspect they may have a particular problem, they may look online for a practice test of that problem. Experts agree, that’s a bad idea. In fact, practicing ahead of time usually backfires — when you try to take the test in a certain way, the answers may make you appear to have more problems than you actually do.

Remember, psychological testing and assessment is nothing to fear. It’s not something you need to study for. Rather, it’s an opportunity for psychologists to determine the best way to help you.

A psychological assessment can include numerous components such as norm-referenced psychological tests, informal tests and surveys, interview information, school or medical records, a medical evaluation, and observational data. A psychologist determines what information to use based on the specific questions being asked. For example, assessments can be used to determine if a person has a learning disorder, is competent to stand trial, or has a traumatic brain injury. They can also be used to determine if a person would be a good manager or how well they may work with a team.

One common assessment technique is a clinical interview. When a psychologist speaks to a client about concerns and history, they’re able to observe how the client thinks, reasons, and interacts. Assessments may also include interviews with people who are close to the client, such as teachers, coworkers, or family members. (Such interviews are only performed with written consent from the client.)

In many cases, psychologists who administer tests will then treat patients with psychotherapy. Some psychologists focus only on evaluating patients, and then refer them to other specialists for treatment after they’ve made a diagnosis. In either case, the testing and assessment process will help ensure that the client receives treatment that’s tailored to their individual needs.



Insurance Requires It: Most major health insurance companies like United HealthCare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Medicare, etc…usually require a pre-surgical psychological evaluation be completed by a licensed professional therapist before they will approve bariatric weight loss surgery.

Quality of Care: More importantly, your entire weight loss surgery team of physicians, nurses, and dietitians want you to maximize your success – to lose excess body weight, become a healthier person, and improve your quality of life. Your team wants to make sure you are both mentally and physically fit for surgery.

Psychological Testing: You will provide demographic information and take a series of exams to help identify strengths. It can also help find areas where you might need help and support before and after surgery. Your therapist will evaluate and score the exams and identify topics to discuss in the clinical interview process.

Clinical Interview: Patients will schedule a one-on-one clinical interview with one of our therapists. In a relaxed setting, the therapist and patient can discuss the exam results and goals of weight loss surgery.

Parts of the clinical interview:

  • Reasons for seeking surgery
  • Weight and diet history 
  • Current eating behaviors 
  • Understanding of the surgery and its associated lifestyle changes
  • Social supports and history 
  • Psychiatric symptoms (current and past)

As each of these domains is addressed, your therapist will function as an assessor collecting data, an educator providing information, and a therapist enhancing motivation and managing the emotions often encountered during the evaluation.

There is really no specific personality pattern that predicts success or failure after surgery. Many studies have examined depression, bipolar illness, history of childhood sexual abuse, and even severe mental illness or eating disorder as potential predictors of failure to reach weight-loss goals after surgery.

Results have shown no clear-cut predictors of failure. As an example, about 40 percent of candidates for bariatric surgery have a history of depression. Often, the depression is being treated with medication and/or counseling and is well controlled. This situation almost never presents a problem after surgery.

There are, however, behavior patterns which suggest greater need for follow-up after your surgery. For example, grazing, or non-mindful snacking and nibbling on high-calorie foods between meals can be a problem if not identified and stopped once you have had surgery. It is a pattern that significantly reduces your chances of success. This gives the provider a chance to recommend further follow up so you can be successful with your procedure.


You may be asked about current medications that you are taking. For the most part you will continue taking the medication after surgery. Many psychiatric medications cannot be abruptly stopped. However, if the medication is time released and you are seeking a weight loss surgery a substitute medication may need to be prescribed by your treating physician. Please seek advice from your current physician prescribing the medication and speak to your surgeon’s office on how to instruct you about making changes or substituting medications in conjunction with your procedure.

Please seek advice from your current treating physician regarding any potential medication changes. You will also need to discuss this with your surgeon.

There are a wide variety of psychological disorders that may indicate that weight loss surgery is not in a patient’s best interest. In general, we are looking for problems that would prevent a person from following diet restrictions and ensuring a successful pre and post-op experience. This includes conditions such as impulse control problems. In addition, conditions related to distortions in body image may cause problems. Such distortions may result in other conditions such as anorexia or other eating disorders.

The evaluation is not about passing or failing. The process identifies potential problems that might cause you difficulty if you have the surgery. If there is a concern it will generally be discussed at the time or after your clinical interview. Following the clinical interview a psychological assessment report is provided to the surgeon. Your surgeon’s office may use this report as part of your pre-determination insurance process to get approved through your health insurance. Your surgeon may use this evaluation to make a decision as to whether he or she will proceed with the surgery. The evaluation itself does not qualify or disqualify you for surgery. Your Surgeons office receives a full evaluation that contains technical terms that are written for doctors. We also include a short summary with recommendations to be made available to patients who want a copy for their review. Please ask your medical provider for a copy.



G&A does not directly provide Fitness for Duty Evaluations for departments for whom we provide counseling services. We view this as a conflict of interest and will, for those departments, refer out a FFDE that is required. We do, however, provide second opinion FFD evaluations for officers in the Commonwealth and, on occasion, will provide FFDE for agencies with whom we have no other contractual obligation.



Periodically, we run process groups that focus on any number of topics. 


  • Working through grief and loss
  • Facing change post bariatric surgery: adjustment to change
  • Dealing with addiction



Psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy) can be an important part of treatment for depression or bipolar disorder (manic depression). A good therapist can help you cope with feelings and symptoms, and change behavior patterns that may contribute to your illness. Talk therapy is not just “talking about your problems”; it is also working toward solutions. Therapy may involve homework, such as tracking your moods, writing about your thoughts, or participating in social activities that have caused anxiety. You might be encouraged to look at things in a different way or learn new ways to react to events or people.

Most of today’s psychotherapy is brief and focused on your current thoughts, feelings, and life issues. Focusing on the past can help explain things in your life, but focusing on the present can help you cope with the present and prepare for the future. You might see your therapist more often at the beginning of treatment, and later, as you learn to manage problems and avoid triggers, you might go to psychotherapy appointments less often.


  • Understand your illness
  • Define and reach wellness goals
  • Overcome fears or insecurities
  • Cope with stress
  • Make sense of past traumatic experiences
  • Separate your true personality from the mood swings caused by your illness
  • Identify triggers that may worsen your symptoms
  • Improve relationships with family and friends
  • Establish a stable, dependable routine
  • Develop a plan for coping with crises
  • Understand why things bother you and what you can do about them
  • End destructive habits such as drinking, using drugs, overspending, or unhealthy sex.



We offer counseling to individuals, couples, families and the children of those who serve the greater good. The goal of this counseling is to identify and promote the changes necessary for personal growth and optimal health.

Typical counseling offered through G&A is brief and focused.  On those occasions when referrals are needed, G&A will assist in the identification of an appropriate provider.


  • Interpersonal conflicts
  • Addictions
  • Marital discord, divorce, and family relationships
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Anger management
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Bereavement, retirement
  • Disability, career concerns
  • Emotional and/or physical health maintenance 
  • Stress  


About Pre-Hire Evaluations

Psychological screening is used to assess the emotional stability of a candidate by considering two main categories:

  1. Screening for evidence of clinical psychopathology, which when present, may be assumed to substantially interfere with the safe and efficient functioning of an individual in the law enforcement profession.
  2. Screening for non-clinical psychological functioning which, although not definitive of psychopathology per se, can be empirically related to relatively poor performance in training and/or global functioning in an emergency services position.

Psychological screenings are conducted by one of four Clinical Psychologists. They are trained in the use and interpretation of those psychological instruments used.

After integrating the test data and clinical interview data, a written summary of findings and interpretations will be offered. The three primary sources of information used include: 1) a psychological test battery; 2) background information and 3) in depth “clinical” interview.

Research shows that excessive stress can lead to aggressive and unconventional behavior, as well as mental and physical problems and breakdowns on the job. There is considerable evidence suggesting that more law enforcement personnel are affected by job-related stress than the normal work force.

The screening process can aid in detecting the stress prone individuals and can be beneficial in the prevention and management of undue stress in those individuals and therefore aids the department humanely and financially.

Statistically, 5% to 20% of applicants are psychologically unsuitable. Not all applicants perform at the same level and the unsuitable applicants do not always appear as obviously inappropriate. Some individuals will look very good, while others will obviously look unacceptable. A great majority will be somewhere in-between. This in-between or middle range person who, upon evaluation by the doctor demonstrates risk of engaging in liability resulting behavior should be screened out.

The following tests are used in the screening process: The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2), the most widely used and accepted psychological test in the United States today, Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) or the Sixteen Personality Factor Test (16PF), the Shipley Institute of Living Scale (a short cognitive measure) and The Sentence Completion Test which is used to give insight into the applicant’s personality.

To schedule an appointment, the department will need to call G&A to identify you as a candidate. The applicant will need to allow four to six hours for the written test. During the written test, the applicant’s oral interview will be scheduled not to exceed 5-working days following the written testing. The oral interview will last approximately 45 minutes with one of our Clinical Psychologists. The applicant will need to come dressed in business attire for this interview. In some cases, a department may request that a same day oral appointment be made. This is usually necessary if the applicant lives out of state. In that case, the department will need to notify Greenberg & Associates as soon as possible in order to assure that the test can be set up in a timely manner. Usually, the oral interview appointments fill up approximately two weeks in advance.

After the testing is scored, the applicant is interviewed using background material provided by the applicant and his test results. This interview and the test results are summarized in a three to four page report and your department is given a “hire”, “no hire”, or “hire with recommendations” disposition. If you receive a “hire” recommendation, this does not mean you will enjoy the profession, and is only a statement that your motivated efforts will have a higher probability of success. If you receive a “no hire” disposition, this does not mean that you can never become a first responder.


Typically, pre-hire psychological testing is scheduled at 9:00 AM on the date set.

Some departments have G&A do a group testing at the department; others have you schedule individually at G&A’s Colonial Heights location.

It’s advisable to bring a snack and/or a lunch. Water and coffee will be provided. You are not permitted to leave the premises during the written testing process. Testing materials, pens and pencils will be provided. You can dress casual/comfortable for the written testing process.

The length of time varies between applicants. For the written portion of the testing, the average length of time is between 4-6 hours.

Typically, the oral interview is scheduled no later than 5 working days after the date of the written testing process. Some departments request same-day oral interviews for those individuals who are from great distances.  These interviews are however, typically performed over a telemedical platform.

The appointment ranges from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Please come dressed in business attire for the appointment.

You will not be notified by G&A of your test results. Upon completion of the oral interview, the Clinical Psychologist will produce a written report, outlining test scores/results, general information as well as a suitability recommendation.   The written report is mailed to the respective department/agency no later than 10 working days after the oral interview. The interested department/agency has the option to request a verbal, over-the-phone score in order to expedite the process. All test result inquiries are to be directed to the department/agency. (DO NOT CALL G&A FOR RESULTS)

Written and oral pre-hire psychological testing scores are valid for 1-year from the date of your written testing.

If the testing scores are still valid (less than 1-year from the date of your written testing) then the original department will be contacted to get their approval to release your testing results. You will need to sign an Authorization of Applicant form authorizing the release of your information and testing results (please call our office to obtain this form).



We are a resource for agencies and institutions to fulfill their training objectives.

State, county and city agencies as well as private health and allied health service agencies have received quality 1, 2, 4, or 8-hour trainings from our staff.



  • Interpersonal conflicts
  • Addictions
  • Marital discord, divorce, and family relationships
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Anger management
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Bereavement, retirement
  • Disability, career concerns
  • Emotional and/or physical health maintenance 
  • Stress