Psychodiagnostic Assessment & Testing (Testing for Diagnosis) 

What is a Disorder?

How do we know when something is a “disorder”?  When does normal behavior become abnormal? 

To help address this question, psychologists use a general rule of thumb for demarcating the line between normal and abnormal behavior to determine if a pattern can be considered disordered.

The Four D’s” of a disorder. 


Do the symptoms cause suffering to the person or those around them?

  • Nightmares
  • Panic
  • Distress
  • Depressed Mood
  • Angry behavior
  • Deliberately Annoying others
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts


Do the symptoms cause the person to disrupt or bring harm to others?

  • Intentionally Causing Emotional Injury To Others
  • Dishonesty
  • Manipulation
  • Property Destruction 
  • Theft
  • Running away from home
  • Violating the Rights of others


Do the symptoms place a person at risk of harm to self or others?

  • Self-harm
  • Angry Behavior
  • Verbal/Physical Fighting
  • Not Accessing Food, Clothing or Shelter
  • Suicidal Behavior
  • Homicidal Behavior 


Do the symptoms prevent normal functioning?

  • Difficulty sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of motivation
  • Addiction
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty establishing and maintaining relationships


If you or a loved one have thoughts, feelings, or behaviors that cause any of the Four D’s, there may be a mental health concern. 

The first step in treatment involves accurate diagnosis.  We need to clearly identify the problem in order to employ a solution.  As many mental health disorders have similar features, clinicians work diligently to provide an accurate diagnosis. 

My clinic provides a wide range of diagnostic and treatment services.  Once we have the diagnosis, we can move forward with the strongest treatment options.  For most disorders, therapy is the first line of defense.  Medication is also useful for symptom management, although therapy tends to be just as effective (Hollon et al, 2005; Imel et al 2008; Casacalenda, Perry, & Looper, 2002). 

The most important factor in treatment is early identification of a disorder.  The sooner testing can be completed for you or a loved one, the better the outcome will be.  For example, early diagnosis of depression and ADHD has been found to significantly improve wellbeing and put children back on track to normal development (Luby, 2010; Dupaul & Kem, 2011).  However, early diagnosis in adults is equally important (Sherbourne, Asch, & Shugarman, 2009). 


How Does Dr. Montgomery Conduct Diagnostic Testing?

Testing for a diagnosis depends greatly on the presenting concern.  One of the first things I ask from new clients is the reason for referral, the issue that brought you to the clinic. 

Here are some examples of reasons for referral (not actual quotes):

  • “I’ve been feeling down, unmotivated, and hopeless”
  • “My child has been struggling in school, they just can’t pay attention”
  • “My wife and I aren’t getting along anymore”
  • “I can’t keep my cool during a job interview, I get all shaky and sweaty”
  • “I think I might have [insert disorder], can you help?”

Based on the reason for referral, I design a testing battery that will best suit your needs.  Some tests take as little as 1 hour, while others may take 8 hours or more.

For example, if the reason for referral is about attention problems or difficulty in school, testing might involve 1) take-home questionnaires about behavior and function, 2) cognitive testing, 3) academic testing, and 4) an intake interview.  If the reason for referral is about mood or emotional issues, testing may only involve a brief interview and a few short questionnaires.  For more information about the cost of testing, check out the Service Rates page.

Once testing is complete, I provide a diagnosis and treatment plan.  The diagnosis is simply a medical description of the symptoms, not a definition of you as a person.  Clinicians use diagnoses to communicate with other clinicians, conduct research, and provide consistent, evidence-based practices to our clients. 

Some examples of diagnoses provided through assessment include:

  • Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Alcohol Use Disorder
  • Eating Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Autism

Together, we can find answers.  Don’t wait to feel better, get treatment, and improve your life.


Interested?  Let’s Connect!

If you are interested in assessment services, please contact me as soon as possible. I would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have about my practice. 

I provide assessments for children and families throughout the Newport Beach area, but I also work with folks from Orange, Costa Mesa, Anaheim, Mission Viejo, Laguna Beach, Rancho Santa Margarita, Aliso Viejo, Fountain Valley, Laguna Hills, Irvine, Tustin, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, and Dana Point.

It is never too late to receive answers.  I believe I can help make a difference.


Read About Dr. Montgomery

Want to learn more about me? 

Click on the About tab to find out more about my credentials and get a better sense for who I am.


Want to Learn More? 

Want to learn more about therapy, assessment, and mental illness?  

Check out the tabs above, or click on the links below:



Casacalenda, N., Perry, J. C., & Looper, K. (2002). Remission in major depressive disorder: a comparison of pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, and control conditions. American Journal of Psychiatry159(8), 1354-1360.

DuPaul, G. J., & Kern, L. (2011). Young children with ADHD: Early identification and intervention. American Psychological Association.

Hollon, S. D., Jarrett, R. B., Nierenberg, A. A., Thase, M. E., Trivedi, M., & Rush, A. J. (2005). Psychotherapy and medication in the treatment of adult and geriatric depression: which monotherapy or combined treatment?. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Imel, Z. E., Malterer, M. B., McKay, K. M., & Wampold, B. E. (2008). A meta-analysis of psychotherapy and medication in unipolar depression and dysthymia. Journal of affective disorders11

Luby, J. L. (2010). Preschool depression: The importance of identification of depression early in development. Current Directions in Psychological Science19(2), 91-95.

Sherbourne, C. D., Asch, S. M., Shugarman, L. R., Goebel, J. R., Lanto, A. B., Rubenstein, L. V., ... & Lorenz, K. A. (2009). Early identification of co-occurring pain, depression and anxiety. Journal of general internal medicine24(5), 620-625.