Your Assessment Questions Answered


If mental health counselling isn’t your profession, deciphering the terminology can be tricky—especially when the same word has multiple meanings. Fortunately, we’re here to address one of our more common questions: Why is this assessment covered and that one isn’t?

Occasionally, your counsellor or our Clinical Services team may use the term assessments. At Arete, we reference two types of assessments—one we cover and one we don’t.

Covered: Informal Assessment

Informal assessments are covered as part of the supports we offer because they help us to tailor your counselling sessions to your needs. These assessments are considered ‘informal’ because they

  1. are less structured and apply a generalist approach (i.e., findings usually come from conversations and are based on a counsellor’s observations and professional impressions) and
  2. don’t include lengthy, academically standardized assessment measures or tools (i.e., questionnaires).

While you won’t see long, academic questionnaires used in informal assessments, counsellors will often use simple measurement or screening tools to assess how you’re doing at intake and sometimes again throughout therapy to measure your progress. These tools will differ depending on the approach taken by your counsellor. For example, an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy focus will review trauma history, while a solution-focused brief therapy will focus on strengths and the future rather than problems and the past.

Not Covered: Formal Psychological Assessment

Formal psychological assessments—sometimes referred to also as psychosocial or psychoeducational assessments—aren’t covered through our program as they’re part of an extensive diagnosis process. These assessments are often used in workplace, educational or clinical/psychiatric settings, and involve licensed professionals with specialized training to administer multiple, specific tests and interpret the results.

A formal psychological assessment will likely include the following:

  1. An informal assessment (as detailed above)
  2. Individual testing sessions
  3. An advanced analysis of the test results by the licensed professional (note that the hours it takes to review test results are billable)
  4. A formal report written by the licensed professional
  5. A final feedback meeting to discuss findings

As you can see, there are big differences between these assessments and, as a result, why one is covered and the other isn’t. If you’re interested in a formal psychological assessment, we recommend you either speak to your family doctor for a referral or reach out to a licensed professional directly. In the meantime, if you have any additional questions about the services we offer, check out the For Employees page—including the FAQs at the bottom of the page. Remember, knowledge is power and we’re always here to help!

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