Getting the right mental health diagnosis not only impacts your ability to achieve psychological wellness, but can have profound consequences as it relates to treatment recommendations. Often times, individuals present with a variety of symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, confused thinking, mood instability, anger, substance addiction, etc.) and if not carefully assessed, can result in an inaccurate diagnosis.
In order to diagnose a mental health condition, mental health professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM-5 contains descriptions, symptoms, and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders.
One of the ways to establish an accurate diagnosis is to participate in a comprehensive psychological evaluation with a mental health provider. Your intellectual, personality, and emotional functioning is unique. There are numerous factors that contribute to your psychological and social experiences (e.g., family, culture, life experiences, trauma, diversity considerations, etc.).
A comprehensive psychological evaluation has multiple components that in conjunction, can ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis. It is your opportunity to share your experiences. What you should expect:
In addition to the previously mentioned elements of a thorough psychological assessment, there are questions to consider in order to judge whether or not the mental health professional is taking the appropriate steps to provide you with an accurate diagnosis.
If you are experiencing symptoms or struggling with mental illness (or have been diagnosed with a multitude of mental disorders), it is important that you receive the right diagnosis; it makes the difference between you being steered toward the path to recovery versus one fraught with continued challenges and undue mental anguish.
Jennifer Savion, PsyD, earned her MA in Forensic Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, as well as her PsyD in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Forensic Psychology at Carlos Albizu University in Miami, Florida. Her training has largely focused on forensic evaluations, psychological assessment of adults and children, and the treatment of persons with severe mental illness, substance use issues, and sex-offending behaviors.
Dr. Savion, PsyD, has extensive clinical training within several correctional and forensic environments, including adult and juvenile detention centers, and secure psychiatric hospital settings. She completed a pre-doctoral psychology internship at Western State Hospital in Tacoma, Washington, and then a forensic post-doctoral fellowship at Northwest Forensic Institute, a forensic mental health agency that provides primarily criminal forensic evaluations in Portland, Oregon. During that time, she received specialized training in a variety of criminal forensic evaluations such as, competence to stand trial, criminal responsibility, mental state/diminished capacity, violence risk assessment, and sentencing mitigation. Some of her forensic assessment experiences included the use of court-certified interpreters in the languages of Spanish, Russian, and Burmese. Dr. Savion also specializes in evaluation of parental fitness and child custody.
Dr. Savion’s long-standing interest in forensic psychology is cultivated by her passion for understanding the human psyche and underlying mechanisms that influence abnormal behavior. Throughout her clinical training and research, she has maintained a strong interest in the unique needs of forensic patients and has focused on broadening her knowledge on the link between personality and psychopathology constructs, as well as serious mental illness. Her research interests primarily involve personality disordered populations and she has expertise in the areas of psychopathy and criminal behavior. She is currently accepting new evaluation cases at NW Family Psychology, Seattle.