ASSESSMENT

 

Cognitive and neuropsychological assessments can be helpful to understand patterns of strengths and weaknesses and to allow for effective treatment planning and can be beneficial for people of all ages who experience a range of issues including:

  • Learning, numeracy, and literacy difficulties

  • Attention and concentration difficulties

  • Impulsivity and hyperactivity

  • Intelligence and functioning problems 

  • Memory problems

  • Difficulties with organisation and planning

 

Assessments are also beneficial for people experiencing concerns associated with the following conditions:

  • Neurological disorders: Dementia, Epilepsy 

  • Developmental disorders: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability

  • Psychiatric conditions: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ​

  • Exposure to drugs and alcohol: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Cognitive Impairment 

  • Brain injuries 

GENERAL COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT

At Grassroots Psychology a general cognitive assessment also includes assessment of mood and adaptive functioning:

  • Cognitive/Intelligence Test

  • Adaptive functioning

  • Depression and anxiety screeners

  • Trauma screener

 

Approximate hours for a general cognitive assessment are:

  • 1.5 hrs intake/initial session 

  • 2 hrs for assessment (includes non-client facing time for questionnaires for client, carer and/or teacher) 

  • 3 hrs report writing and assessment interpretation 

  • 1 hr feedback 

 

Further, as part of a general cognitive assessment, a thorough investigation of any potential causes or diagnoses based on the information provided in the referral and during the initial assessment is always conducted. If there is a need to investigate further/conduct additional assessments, then additional testing will be conducted (with consent of the client or third-party funder prior) and billed accordingly.

 

NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT

Others assessments conducted on an as-needs basis include:

  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

  • Executive functioning; attention, concentration, memory

  • Dementia or brain injury screeners

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder 

  • Psychosis 

  • Personality

  • Malingering

  • Substance use

 

LEARNING ASSESSMENT

 

Learning disorder assessments assess:

  • Cognition/Intelligence 

  • Learning ability

  • Adaptive functioning

  • Depression and anxiety screeners

  • Trauma screener

 

As part of a learning disorder assessment, other developmental disorders such as ADHD will also be investigated if there are symptoms suggesting this may be the primary cause of learning difficulties (and has not been assessed or treated prior).

Approximate hours for learning disorder assessment are:

  • 1.5 hrs intake/initial session 

  • 4 hrs for assessment (includes non-client facing time for questionnaires for client, carer and/or teacher) 

  • 4 hrs report writing and assessment interpretation 

  • 1 hr feedback 

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL/MENTAL HEALTH ASSESSMENT

Mental health assessments are best conducted over a series of sessions. Generally, a minimum of 3 sessions for the assessment component is required.

 

The psychological assessment includes:

  • Review of any past mental health history, symptoms, diagnoses, or hospitalisations

  • Review of any previous medications (usage, side effects, compliance)

  • Assessment of current mental health, symptoms of depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, and risk

  • Review of current medications (usage, side effects, compliance)

  • Assessment of current stressors and reasonable ability to manage outcomes

  • Personality screener

  • Collection of collateral from next of kin

  • Assessment interpretation and report creation 

  • Feedback

 

GENERAL INFO

Collateral information is extremely important for all assessments, especially if there may be unfavourable implications for the client based on the findings of the assessment. As a referrer or self-referred client, please include or attach to your referral any collateral information that may be relevant to the assessment such as medical records, legal statements, school reports, previous assessment reports, or a letter of strengths and weaknesses.  

 

Some common factors impacting the assessments processes are:

  • Whether English is the client’s first language

  • Whether vision and hearing has been recently assessed

  • Previous intervention/management (especially relating to learning disorder assessment)

  • Recent medication changes

  • Recent traumas, life stressors, or change of care placement

 

Please be sure to address these factors in the referral to assist with a valid assessment, and where appropriate, ensure any previous assessments required have been conducted (e.g. vision and hearing assessment).

 

Initial/intake and feedback sessions can be conducted via telehealth (secure videolink or phone) where appropriate.

 

Hours estimated and assessment conducted can vary depending a person's unique circumstances.

THERAPY

COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a relatively short term, focused approach to the treatment of many types of emotional, behavioural and psychiatric problems. The application of CBT varies according to the problem being addressed, but is essentially a collaborative and individualised program that helps individuals to identify unhelpful thoughts and behaviours and learn or relearn healthier skills and habits. CBT has been practised widely for more than 30 years. It has been researched extensively, and has demonstrated effectiveness with a variety of emotional psychological and psychiatric difficulties. It is also continually evolving, and third wave CBT therapies such as Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Schema Therapy and others are increasingly being used for a variety of emotional, behavioural and psychiatric problems.

 

CBT has been extensively investigated in rigorous clinical trials and has empirical support. It is structured, goal oriented, and focuses on immediate difficulties as well as long term strategies and requires active involvement by the client. CBT is also flexible, individualised, and can be adapted to a wide range of individuals and a variety of settings.


CBT is one of the most established and researched psychological therapies for emotional, psychological and psychiatric dysfunction. For some problems, such as anxiety and depression, CBT is as effective as medication and can also enhance the effects of medication. The results of CBT are long-term, and you can keep using what you have learned in therapy to approach other problems in your life. In particular, CBT has demonstrated effectiveness with individuals experiencing the following problems:

  • Generalised Anxiety

  • Panic

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Phobias

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Depression

  • Brain Injury

  • Somatic Disorders

  • Anger & Stress Management

  • Behaviour Problems

 

CBT examines all elements that maintain a problem, including our thoughts (cognitions), feelings, behaviour and the environment. In a broad sense, as its name suggests, CBT involves both ‘cognitive therapy’ and ‘behaviour therapy’. Cognitive therapy focuses on an individual’s pattern of thinking while behaviour therapy looks at associated actions. When combined skillfully, these two approaches provide a very powerful method to help overcome a wide range of emotional and behavioural problems in children, adolescents and adults. It focuses on the ‘here and now’ whilst developing an understanding of past styles of thinking and behaviour that have developed over time. It is a structured therapy, which involves a partnership between you and your therapist. You are fully involved in planning your treatment and the therapist will always let you know what is happening. Usually you will have a thorough assessment in the first session or two. Each session will involve discussion, explanation and practice of skills and techniques. Often you will be required to practice those techniques in between sessions.

*Taken from the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy (AACBT) Website

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT & ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPIES


Contact with the outside environment and animals may be incorporated into sessions where clinically appropriate to do so. Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a form of psychological therapy that uses specially trained therapy animals and handlers to provide goal-directed and evidenced-based interventions to individuals and groups of all ages. While there are many benefits to working with an animal in therapy, there are risks in working with a live animal. Members of Grassroots Psychology do their best to ensure safety of the therapy animals and clients at all times. However, working with animals can be unpredictable. Clients who agree to incorporating AAT acknowledge the risks and take full responsibility of any physical or emotional injuries that may occur. Participation in AAT is not guaranteed and animals may not be present in every session. This is up to the best judgement of the clinician. Please let us know if you have any known allergies or phobias before treatment starts. Animals included in Grassroots Psychology therapy sessions are generally limited to horses and dogs.

 

Grassroots Psychology

T: 0474 467 381

E: admin@grassrootspsych.com

P: PO Box 15 Pomona QLD 4568

ABN: 17 689 820 332

Copyright 2020 Grassroots Psychology All Rights Reserved