Why Are Some Assessments So Expensive?
By Jennie - Provisional Psychologist
Did you know that some psychological assessments can cost as little as $1,000 to up to $20,000 depending on the type of assessment one is after and the purpose of that assessment? To some people, that sounds absolutely ridiculous and their first thought is that the price is way too high for someone to sit in a room with you and read instructions from an assessment manual or listen to you tell your story to them again.
But, let me pose a scenario.
A customer asked a contractor how much it would cost to do a custom project. The contractor proposed it would cost $4,500. To the customer, this price was unreasonably high and he argued that the job should cost no more than $2,500. The contractor thought “okay” and invited the customer to do the project themselves, but the customer said they didn’t know how to. The contractor offered to teach the customer the skills needed to complete the job for the price of $2,500. Believing it was a good deal (they’d be saving $2,000!), the customer accepted, not realising that they didn’t have the tools and materials required to start the project. Agreeing to an extra $300 to rent the tools from the contractor, the customer was beginning to feel like this project involved more than he initially thought. Then the contractor revealed all the unproductive factors involved in the project - things like time spent planning the project, picking up materials, travel time, gas, set up and clean up time, waste disposal, and so many other things. The contractor added that the customer would need to dedicate three work days beginning at 6am to learn from him and do the project. The customer, now feeling overwhelmed and shocked, handed the project back to the contractor, agreeing that the original price of $4,500 was reasonable because a lot more goes into a job than what we see in a finished project.
The purpose of this story is to demonstrate that a lot more happens behind the scenes than what meets the eye. Not only do you pay for the material and the actual work to be completed, you also pay for:
Knowledge and qualifications
Experience and skills
Tools and materials
Licenses and subscriptions
Time spent planning and preparing (and for us, also time writing reports and communicating with involved parties)
Professionalism and excellence
Work ethic and integrity
Discipline and commitment
And probably much more!
At Wildflower Holistic Services, our assessment process is a long and thorough one.
After contacting us for an assessment, we need to schedule a time to complete a detailed intake interview. This is where an experienced clinician discusses the examinee’s life, circumstances, challenges, and strengths to get a holistic understanding of the presenting issues. Not only is this important for determining which assessment should be completed, but also because we try to understand the examinee as a whole because they are so much more than what an assessment result says about them.
If the examinee is a child, the next step involves the clinician contacting relevant caregivers and teachers, and initiating a channel of communication to gather information about functioning in different domains and environments. Again, this information contributes to our holistic knowledge of the examinee, helps with proper diagnoses, and fosters a collaborative approach to continue supporting the child and family following the assessment process.
A psychometric diagnostic test is completed on a scheduled day that suits both the family and clinicians. These assessments are conducted by experienced professionals who understand how to administer and score the tests, as well as how to interpret results and write reports. Some assessments take one clinician while others require two clinicians to administer.
Next, the clinicians who administered the assessment will undertake the report writing phase. Our clinicians spend careful time interpreting the results and providing relevant recommendations regarding the outcome. Sometimes, further research is required and consultation with colleagues and other health professionals is sought to ensure we are providing high quality care and recommendations.
We liaise with and follow up with teachers or other relevant third parties to finalise their input for the assessment and report. We understand that teachers have limited time and a lot on their plates, so our clinicians work hard to maintain regular contact to try and obtain feedback in as timely of a manner as possible.
Your final assessment report is completed by our clinicians and includes a diagnosis, clinical interpretations, and most importantly, recommendations on how anyone can best support your child. Our reports are comprehensive and include a lot of helpful information in understanding what these results mean for your child. We arrange a feedback session with parents to discuss the outcome and any diagnoses. During this time, it is important to discuss any concerns you may have when being faced with a diagnosis for your child. We, at Wildflower Holistic Services, are understanding people at heart who are here to support you through this process and any changes that may be happening. Therefore, we continue to help families by directing them to appropriate services, for example, by supporting them with NDIS applications, helping navigate school support forms, or helping with Centrelink Carer’s Allowance.
Wow, there’s definitely a lot more involved in the assessment process than just the two hour face to face assessment itself!
What we want you to take away from this is that yes, some services and products can be expensive, but we ask that customers respect the pricing decision because it considers many other contributing factors that might not be seen at the surface level.
If any proposal exceeds your budget, there are many other providers out there, not just with psych assessments but with all services and there’s nothing wrong with seeking help elsewhere.
Nevertheless, our co-founder Alex would like to ask consumers to recognise and respect the work, dedication, effort, and all the other things mentioned previously that go into producing a final product.
She would also like to call out to and share her support with her friends, family, and clients who are service providers, entrepreneurs, business owners, and tradesmen. Know your own worth and be confident in it! Don’t let other people’s perceptions make you question your value and the value of the product and/or services you provide.
We hope this helped open your eyes to what may lie beneath the surface of not just ours but any product. At Wildflower Holistic Services, we greatly value our unique individuals and always aim to provide them with excellent quality care before, during, and after the assessment process. Not only do we offer a diagnosis and recommendations, we hope to provide extra support to those who seek it, a greater understanding of presentations and circumstances, and a sense of connection and feeling understood that is tailored to the individual so that everything makes sense. We hope to equip you with the tools you need to continue to flourish like the Wildflower you are, regardless of any diagnoses or changes you go through.