Diagnostic evaluation is the term used to describe the initial appointment between the client and the provider. This appointment typically lasts about 1 hour and is geared toward the provider getting to know the client. The provider may ask questions about the client’s history, current and past moods, and behaviors. The provider will also ask questions about the client’s life experiences. All of this information allows the provider to distinguish which symptoms are most bothersome or difficult for the individual. Once the most troublesome symptoms are identified, the provider can then determine the best strategy to address the client's symptoms.
The overall goal of the diagnostic evaluation is for the provider to determine the client’s mental health diagnosis and then, in collaboration with the client, develop an individualized treatment plan.