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In my last post, I talked about some of the potential risks associated with these evaluations, but in today’s post I want to discuss some of the incredible benefits there are too.
Psychological evaluations for immigration applicants have been used widely throughout the U.S. legal system for over two decades. The purpose of these evaluations is to support immigration authorities in determining the immigration status of applicants across a variety of application categories.
Immigration psychological evaluations can be beneficial in a myriad of ways beyond supporting successful applications.
Overall, psychological evaluations can be highly beneficial for adults struggling in different areas of their lives, particularly where past treatments have been ineffective. Evaluations provide vital information not only about where someone may be struggling specifically, but can also uncover other areas of mental health support too.
Psychological assessment can be especially useful in enhancing clinical clarity and informing subsequent interventions and treatments.
5 benefits associated with immigration psychological evaluations
Just as I believe it’s crucial to discuss risks with clients, it’s also important to talk about the many other benefits proceeding with an assessment can lead to.
Some clients may become fixated on an evaluation serving only one purpose – to support their immigration application. Helping them understand the other ways it can help can be instrumental in their longer-term mental health journey.
Below are five core benefits evaluations can provide:
1. A psychological evaluation can provide diagnostic clarification.
Some clients may not have been assessed for many years, and for some, this could be their very first assessment. It’s not uncommon for clients to be uncertain or to have received mixed messages and diagnoses around their psychological health.
A psychological evaluation of this caliber can help clients gain a complete understanding and professional clarification of their mental health – perhaps for the first time in their life. This in itself can be incredibly rewarding and reassuring, and provide relief for many individuals.
2. Assessment can lead to appropriate treatment recommendations.
Once I complete an evaluation for a client, I also provide details of the best and appropriate treatment recommendations.
With this benefit, I like to ensure I make it clear with clients that although psychosocial assessments may provide some therapeutic benefits, they are not therapy. If I determine that they may benefit from ongoing therapy, I provide them with a list of suitable psychotherapists.
Again, for some individuals, this might be the first time they’ve been provided with proactive next steps towards treatment that is specifically tailored for them and their health. Gaining clarity around treatment options and next steps can be very empowering for many clients and can better help them on their way to improved mental health.
3. Clients are provided with a full written report.
As well as providing total clarity to clients before they undertake the process, so they know exactly what to expect and what we will cover together, they also get access to their full test results, interpretations, and recommendations.
This comes in a written report that clients can take away. This is beneficial not only for their immigration applications (potentially) but also to help them further facilitate the services they might need and communicate with treatment providers.
A report of this nature can remove a lot of the guesswork and communication mishaps between clients and service providers and ensure total clarity on their continued mental health journey.
4. Clients gain insights into the nature of their functioning.
As mentioned, it can often be the case that clients have been given preliminary diagnoses from other medical professions that were inaccurate or didn’t cover the full extent of their unique mental health. Some clients may have received multiple different ‘diagnoses’ from underqualified professionals who have left them confused or acting on guidance that didn’t best suit their needs.
A full psychological assessment at this level can help clients gain clear, factual, and actionable insights into the nature of their own psychological functioning. Once more, this can be a relief and a reassuring process to go through, providing them with clear next steps and treatment options.
5. Clients feel supported and can progress positively with their mental health journey.
One of the clear benefits of psychological evaluations is the level of support it provides to individual clients and their families and loved ones.
The clarity they provide can help individuals and their families start to have better conversations about supporting each other and bringing them closer together.
Reminding clients of all the benefits
Discussing the risks of this process with clients may leave some of them feeling uncertain and even fearful, which is why it’s vital to balance it out and make sure they’re also aware of all the benefits too.
I’ve seen firsthand through my work all of the good that comes out of completing immigration evaluations – I wouldn’t be doing what I do if I didn’t believe in the life-changing benefits that they can lead to!
For that reason, I founded the Immigration Evaluation Institute to keep providing support and guidance to my professional community to provide the best possible outcomes for clients.
No matter the outcome of their applications, I firmly believe that the psychological evaluation process will be one that benefits my clients for the rest of their lives.
I’m Cecilia Racine, and I teach therapists how to help immigrants through my online courses. As a bilingual immigrant myself, I know the unique perspective that these clients are experiencing. I’ve conducted over 500 evaluations and work with dozens of lawyers in various states. Immigrants are my passion, I believe they add to the fabric of our country.
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