We offer psychological testing and assessments for people of all ages.
Psychological testing at the Center is offered on both an insurance and sliding scale basis, and some testing can be completed via telehealth. Psychological assessment and testing services have been endorsed as evidence-based practice by organizations such as the Iowa Psychological Association (IPA).
Psychological testing and assessment services are available for a wide variety of needs:
- Anxiety, Depression, Emotions
- Attachment Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Behavioral Problems
- Bipolar Disorder
- Chronic or Terminal Illness
- Dementia or Memory Problems
- Development Disorders
- Family or Team Conflict
- Gender Identity Issues ConflictGrief or Loss
- Identity Issues
- Intellectual and Learning Disabilities
- Moodswings and Mania
- Neurological (head injury, seizures, stroke, etc.)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Parenting Issues
- Personal Development
- Personality Disorders
- Physical Disability
- Pregnancy & Postpartum
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Sexual Abuse
- Work Problems, Fitness for Duty
Waiting lists are a reality, unfortunately.
There are currently more Iowans seeking psychological assessment and testing services than testing appointments available. Unfortunately, this results in a lengthy wait for a testing appointment. We are aware that strong feelings can arise in response to seeking these important testing services and being confronted with months or years-long waits. We also know that there is a reasonable chance that you may have also reached out to other testing resources and may have been told of their extended waitlist times as well. It is not uncommon for individuals to wait a year or more to begin testing at any number of psychological testing practices and clinics.
Why are waiting lists so long for psychological services?
Your feelings are understandable, and you may be wondering why the wait times are so long? This is a complicated question, but some pieces are straightforward. The Iowa Psychological Association (IPA) regularly cites the statistic that Iowa is 46th in the nation for the number of psychologists per capita (meaning that there are only four states worse than us).
Thus, there are far too few psychologists to meet the need for testing here in Iowa. That number is further dwindled down by the number of psychologists accepting new clients, the number of psychologists who practice in testing and assessment (instead of focusing on counseling or other services) and the number of psychologists who are paneled with the full-range of insurance providers. The Center accepts both sliding fee payments and a wide array of insurances, which you may have experienced is somewhat rare. This may reflect the challenges of getting adequate reimbursement for the testing, for a variety of reasons.
Psychological assessment and testing services are also a lot of work. It may require paperwork to get prior authorization from your insurance, may take blocks of hours for administering assessment, and may take hours to write up a report of interpreting the test data. This is NOT as simple as getting labs drawn or an X-ray taken…and even those can sometimes take days to get back.
What is The Center doing to address the psychologist shortage?
You might be saying, “Ok, so there’s not enough psychologists, it is hard for them to get paid enough and testing takes a lot of time and effort. What is being done to make this better?”
There are efforts, both at Mind and Spirit Counseling Center and beyond in the rest of the state, to try to address some of the many complicated pieces of this problem. At the Center, we are starting an ongoing training fellowship for psychologists to get licensed here in Iowa, in the hopes of doing our part to increase the number of psychologists in the state. We have also partnered with Iowa State University’s Counseling Psychology Program to offer funding for a graduate assistant to help with our testing here at the Center. For a number of years, IPA has partnered with the State of Iowa and various agencies to offer training sites to increase the number of psychologists in Iowa. There has recently been legislation passed to help fund psychology predoctoral internships in Iowa with the hopes of increasing our psychologists. These are just a few examples that are helping, but even with these measures, it will take time to drastically change this issue.
How can you help advocate for psychological assessment support in Iowa?
If you are feeling frustrated and wonder what you can do to help with the shortage of psychological testing services and psychologists in Iowa, here are a few options you might consider.
- Advocate for yourself or your loved one that seeks psychological assessment.
- Call your legislators and let them know of this problem. Your personal stories matter when bills are being considered. Ask them to increase funding for psychologist training here in Iowa like they have for other mental health professions. Ask them to increase reimbursement and lower prior authorization requirements for psychological testing under Medicaid, as clients served by Medicaid are often among those most in need of in-depth testing services while being among the least likely to have access.
- Talk to your company’s Human Resources department about how many or few psychologists are paneled on your insurance and about the company’s plan coverage for psychological testing and assessment benefits. If you find there are too few psychologists on the insurance panel, or that the benefits for testing are very limited, advocate for change within your company.
- Call your insurance company and ask them to make changes. Ask them to panel more psychologists in your area. Ask them to reduce or eliminate prior authorization requirements for psychological testing to be more comparable to medical labs or X-rays. Ask them to increase reimbursement for psychological testing and assessment.
- Run for political office and be a vocal advocate for mental health and psychologists.
- Encourage your local high school to offer a psychology course to inspire students to consider a career as a psychologist.
- Offer the Center’s intake team and psychologists some grace and patience. We are doing our best to take care of our clients and we hate how long the waitlist is as well.
- If you are able, consider a tax-deductible donation to the Center’s Client Assistance Fund to help someone else afford high-quality assessment services, or consider a donation to help the Center with the ongoing expenses of psychological test kits and materials.
- If you are able, consider a tax-deductible donation to the Center’s Clinical Training Program Endowment Fund to help us continue to train psychologists here in Iowa for our next 50 years.
Thank you for seeking help at Mind & Spirit Counseling Center and for your patience as we work together to make psychological testing services more available to Iowans.