Psychiatric Evaluations

Comprehensive psychiatric evaluations usually require several hours over one or more office visits for an adult or for a child and parents. If client is a child, the parents’ permission, other significant people (such as the family physician, school personnel or other relatives) may be contacted for additional information. The comprehensive evaluation frequently includes the following:

  • Description of present problems and symptoms
  •  Information about health, illness and treatment (both physical and psychiatric), including current medications
  • Parent and family health and psychiatric histories
  • Information about the client’s development
  • Information about school and friends
  • Information about family relationships
  • Interview of the client whether adult, child or adolescent
  • Interview of parents/guardians
  •  If needed, laboratory studies such as blood tests, x-rays, or special assessments (for example, psychological, educational, speech and language evaluation)

The psychiatrist then develops a formulation. The formulation describes the client’s problems and explains them in understandable terms. The formulation combines biological, psychological and social parts of the problem with developmental needs, history and strengths of the client. Time is made available to answer the parents’ and/or child’s questions. Sometimes medications may be prescribed to mediate the effects of the presenting problem or problems.