Frequently Asked Questions

Helping you navigate the therapy & psychological evaluation process

Therapy & Coaching FAQ | Child & Adolescent Specific FAQ | Evaluations & Testing FAQ

Therapy & Coaching FAQ

The first session will be spent gathering lots of information about you, your child, and/or your family. This will include your history, the concerns that bring you to therapy, and what your goals are. Remember, you are the expert on yourself and your child so we will count on you to teach us all about you. Our first session will be about 60 minutes long.

Feel free to ask as many questions as you like about us, our training, and therapy in general as you make a decision. The best predictor for successful therapy is how comfortable YOU feel with the therapist. We are solutions focused and like to give strategies and goals to work on each session. We are committed to offering a safe place to explore feelings and challenges.

That depends a lot on what your goals are and the reasons for seeing us. The average number of therapy sessions is 12, but some people benefit from more or less sessions. Sometimes some good skills can be learned in just a few sessions.

In the beginning, we recommend coming more frequently; usually weekly. This helps build the relationship and trust faster. Also, skills often build on each other, like math, so consistency keeps the progress moving steadily. We will discuss the best frequency of sessions for you when making a treatment plan.

We do offer after school appointments, though each therapist sets their own hours. View available hours on each therapists profile. We occasionally offer Saturday morning appointments. We always provide school excuses if needed.

No, not at all. We are therapists, so we offer talk and play therapy. We are not psychiatrists, who prescribe medication. The majority of the people we work with never take medication. Some people do benefit from a combination of medication and therapy. If we think it might be helpful we can discuss options and we can give you a referral if needed. The final decision is always up to you.

We have some providers who are in-network with insurance. For all other insurance providers we are considered “out-of-network” for insurance companies. We would be happy to provide a receipt for you to file with your insurance for personal reimbursement if we are out-of-network for you.

It is important to check with your specific company about your mental health/behavioral health out-of-network benefits and the details of those benefits. Many policies now require families to meet a separate deductible to access mental health benefits. We can provide you with CPT codes to help you know what to ask when you call your insurance company. Many families are successful in obtaining partial reimbursement for our services.

Child & Adolescent Specific FAQ

We find that the first session is better to complete without the child present. This allows the parent to focus on discussing information and protects the child from overhearing negative comments. If your child is 12 years or older, you can decide if you prefer to bring them or not. We can spend part of the session talking privately while your child waits in a nearby waiting area. Then, your child could join us or speak to the therapist privately.

For young children in particular, we feel that parents or caregivers should be actively involved in the therapy process. With children under 6, parents are almost always included in each play session. For school age children, we usually meet privately for at least part of the session. Then, we try to have parents join the session and have the child teach what they learned or meet privately with parents for a brief check-in.

In our work with teenagers, we typically ask that parents allow leeway to keep specific details private to help the teen feel safe and support progress. If any safety issues come up, or we feel the teen is making dangerous decisions or actions, we will share that with the parent. Or better, we’ll support the teen in sharing the information directly.

Many children do experience depression, anxiety, anger, or low self-esteem. Therapy can help children learn new skills for dealing with their problems, getting their needs met and communicating. The earlier your child gets help and learns new skills, the better. Without help, problems may worsen or put kids at risk for making bad choices later on. There is no guarantee that your child will “just grow out of it.”

It usually helps to tell kids that we are “talking and playing” doctors, not the kind that gives shots. Kids are often excited to know that we have lots of toys they can play with and look forward to seeing the playroom. You will definitely be with them for the whole first session, and until they are comfortable being separated if we agree that is needed. We usually suggest parents be open with their kids about the reason for coming.

For example, letting them know that you want to help them with their worries, to be happier, or get some help with school. It can also help to let them know that you want help learning how to help them. That way they know that you don’t have all the answers either.

Evaluations & Testing FAQ

Testing is helpful to guide treatment or education planning, understand someone’s strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes decide if a diagnosis is present.

We get many calls from people who have been given different diagnoses, or labels, over the years. Testing can help tease out which, if any, of these concerns are correct and which should be the focus of treatment.

Results can help therapists know how to help a client with mood, anxiety, social skills, organization, stress, etc. Teachers can learn how to build on a child’s strengths and what way a child learns best. Sometimes, even the best-intentioned helpers may miss issues like focus difficulties, learning problems, social skill deficits, fine motor problems, sensory differences, or even anxiety, when just working off of client report or teacher observations.

As soon as you have concerns! Early intervention helps prevent later problems and reduce symptoms later on. Some learning problems are not apparent until second or third grade, but red flags or risk factors might be identified, and intervention put in place early. It is never too late for a good evaluation though.

Although psychological testing can seem costly (in terms of time and money), it is well worth the investment. You will understand yourself or your child better, clearly identify needs and challenges, and cut directly to the heart of the problem without wasting time and effort guessing. The right professionals can then help more efficiently and effectively.

In general, educational or academic testing is not a covered service with insurance. ADHD or emotional/behavioral testing is usually covered. We have some providers who are in-network with insurance. For all other insurance providers we are considered “out-of-network” for insurance companies. We would be happy to provide a receipt for you to file with your insurance for personal reimbursement if we are out-of-network for you.

It is important to check with your specific insurance company about your mental health/behavioral health out-of-network benefits and the details of those benefits.The phone number for your behavioral or mental health benefits is often on the back of your insurance card. You can check your “outpatient mental health benefits” coverage by asking the following questions:

  • Do I have mental health insurance benefits?
  • How much (what portion) will my insurance pay if I see an out-of-network provider?
  • What is my plan deductible and has it been met (may be a separate deductible for mental health)?
  • Is a referral required from my primary care physician?
  • Do my visits need to be pre-authorized? How do I get pre-authorization?
  • For testing: Do I have benefits for psychological testing, and how many sessions (units) are authorized?

Our evaluations are conducted exclusively by doctoral-level providers who are licensed psychologists or postdoctoral fellows under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, as required in the licensure process.

Our approach to testing is complex. First, we have a parent intake session to review history, concerns, and any previous reports/data you have. We finalize what type of testing is needed and make a plan to complete it. Then, your child comes in for face-to-face testing. We may cover intellectual functioning, academic achievement, reading skills, language, attention/memory, and emotional/behavioral functioning at home or school. We collect standardized rating scales from parents and teachers if possible to see what behaviors or issues are present in those environments. We then score everything, interpret the measures along with history and observations, and write a lengthy, comprehensive report of the results, diagnoses (if relevant), and recommendations. Here is some general information about psychological assessment:

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/assessment.aspx

We like to start testing in the morning when children are fresh and rested from sleep. Children often perform their best in the morning hours. Face-to-face testing usually takes one to two sessions, depending on age, referral questions, stamina, and number of tests administered.

School evaluations are done to determine eligibility for special education services. Sometimes schools decide that a child demonstrates some learning, social, emotional, or behavioral weaknesses but does not think they meet the criteria to get extra services at school. Private testing can provide clinical diagnoses such as ADHD, autism spectrum, anxiety, mood problems, or specific learning disabilities. Our results can also help parents find resources in the community to address issues or cultivate talents/gifts such as speech therapists, tutors, behavioral interventionists, psychiatrists, schools, enrichment programs, or educational consultants.

We provide quality and thorough assessments that follow best practices in psychology assessment. Each school and district have their own policies about making decisions for services. Some use our recommendations alone, and some also like to do their own testing. We are happy to talk with school staff to help explain our results and recommendations.

The College Board, universities, technical schools, and other standardized test administrators require recent (within 2-3 years) documentation of diagnoses and functional limitations for students to get accommodations. Our testing meets those stringent requirements and also provides detailed recommendations to inform learning plans at the college level.

Basic ADHD screening/testing usually includes interviews, observation, IQ testing, attention/executive functioning tests, and emotional and behavior rating scales. Sometimes a more comprehensive approach is best, especially for older children; those planning to seek accommodations for high school, college, or standardized tests (e.g., ACT, SAT, LSAT); or when we have concerns about learning or processing problems.

Any school records, previous evaluations, or other background information are typically helpful.

Make sure you/your child get a quality night of sleep. That means no late evening TV, gaming, or screen time and going to bed at a healthy time. Eat a good breakfast with protein and bring a healthy snack and drink (limited sugar please). Bring along a light jacket or sweater for comfort in the office. Be sure you have any requested paperwork or rating forms with you.

If we are doing testing to diagnose or confirm a diagnosis of ADHD, then please do not give your child his/her medication for 24-48 hours before our appointment. Bring the medication along, and we may do a part of the evaluation on the medicine. If the diagnosis of ADHD is not the concern, then have your child take his/her medication, as he/she would normally.

Typically, a feedback appointment is scheduled approximately three weeks following the evaluation. A full written report will be provided at the feedback, or mailed afterward if more information is needed. All rating forms must be provided by two weeks following the last testing session to be included in the report.

Your/your child’s information and results are confidential. We cannot release any information without written permission. Please complete a release of information form for anyone you want us to share the results with.

Following the assessment, we are available for ongoing therapy for emotional regulation, coping skills, social skills, study/organizational skills coaching, and behavior/parenting work with parents. We can also help guide you in advocating for your child at school.

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