Psychiatric Diagnosis: Why is it important?

Clinical Psychologists are qualified to make psychiatric diagnoses.

A psychiatric diagnosis can help you give a name to your symptoms and distress. Sometimes it also helps others around you understand why you have the difficulties you have.

A diagnosis can also help indicate what treatments might be best suited to your needs. A professional diagnosis can also help you access statutory services such as benefits and extra help from social services.

What are examples of conditions for which a Psychiatric Diagnosis can be made?

A diagnosis can be made for any psychiatric condition including:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Autism

  • Dementia

  • Learning difficulties

  • Personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder

This list is not exhaustive and gives an idea of the range of disorders which can be diagnosed by our team. Our diagnostic assessment service is also available to those who might feel they require a second opinion or have a diagnosis which they believe is not accurate.

How is a Psychiatric Diagnosis made?

A Clinical Psychologist will make a diagnosis drawing on three essential elements:

  • Consultation – between one to three consultations each lasting 50 minutes are usually required in which relevant questions are asked.​

  • Psychometric tests – these are specialised tests which have been validated (proved) to help make or rule out a diagnosis. There are some tests which are exclusively available only to Clinical Psychologists.​

  • Collateral information – sometimes it is necessary to obtain information from other sources such as family members, friends, the staff at school etc. This is only carried with your consent and if it is necessary and if the sources of collateral information are reliable, available and accessible.

How much does a Psychiatric Assessment cost?

It will be possible to determine how many consultation sessions and whether additional tests will be required at your first consultation. A price is then provided with this information.

What is the difference between an Assessment for Psychiatric Diagnosis and a Psychological Assessment?

An assessment for a psychiatric diagnosis is focused on identifying if a group of symptoms is present or absent in someone’s life.

A psychological assessment is the interpretation of the diagnosis and other factors by a Clinical Psychologist. The focus of a psychological assessment is on helping you make sense of your difficulties in the context of your early life experiences and your current circumstances.

A psychological assessment also helps you make sense of your difficulties in terms of your thoughts, feelings, behaviours, physical sensations and any experiences that may feel unusual. It also takes into account the effects of your relationships in the emergence of distress as well as other social, economic and cultural factors we know contribute to the development of mental health difficulties.

Making sense of your difficulties and developing a shared understanding of your challenges (psychological formulation) is the first step in working with a Clinical Psychologist and towards taking your first steps towards your recovery.

What is a neuropsychological assessment, and how does it help diagnosis?

Neuropsychological assessment is a comprehensive evaluation process that examines an individual’s cognitive abilities, brain functioning, and psychological factors. It involves administering standardized tests and measures specifically designed to assess various cognitive domains, including attention, memory, language, executive functions, and visuospatial skills.

By conducting a neuropsychological assessment, clinicians can gather valuable information about an individual’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses, identify specific areas of impairment, and uncover the underlying causes of cognitive changes. This process contributes significantly to a diagnostic assessment by providing a comprehensive understanding of an individual’s cognitive profile, helping to differentiate between various neurological and psychiatric conditions, and guiding the development of an accurate diagnosis.

The assessment results serve as a roadmap for clinicians, enabling them to create personalized treatment plans that target specific cognitive difficulties, improve overall functioning, and enhance the individual’s quality of life.

Will I receive a report of my Psychiatric Diagnosis?

A written summary confirming your diagnosis can be provided free of charge if required. A detailed report can be provided for an additional fee.

How do I arrange an assessment?

Contact us for an initial consultation. If you are not sure whether you need a psychiatric or a psychological assessment, Dr Nick will provide a free 15-minute consultation on the phone to help you understand whether which may be more useful to you.