A consultation may be one of the first meetings with a psychologist/counselor. The purpose of the consultation is to discuss the most significant questions that you may have and to determine a greater understanding of yourself or your child/youth.
It may consist of an elicitation of a complete history, review of significant relevant documentation, and a mental status exam to provide an initial impression and plan of care.
Assessments are evaluations of intelligence, achievement (oral language, reading, writing, mathematics), processing, attention/executive functioning, emotional functioning, social functioning, and personality for children, youth, and adults.
The primary purpose of the assessment is to provide relevant, professionally sound results or opinions, in matters where a person's health and well-being would like to be clarified or defined in standardized terms. As such, the assessment may be utilized for clinical and psychoeducational purposes, including diagnosis, eligibility determination for special programs, and evaluation of current status, or of progress and change.
The evaluation often addresses the particular psychological and developmental needs of the child and/or parent(s), youth, or adult through multiple information sources including norm-referenced tests, interviews, observations, and other informal assessments.
Structure of psychological assessments
A psychological assessment may vary in duration from 1.5–8 hours over 1–4 sessions, depending upon what is being evaluated. A psychological assessment generally is conducted within a clinical setting such as my office, or another setting such as a child’s school.
Counseling (traditionally known as therapy or psychotherapy) is not easily described in general statements. It varies depending on the personalities of the psychologist and each person who seeks counseling, and the particular difficulties that are brought forward.
There are many different methods I may use to help you cope and deal with the difficulties that challenge you in life, or simply to grow as a person. I primarily work from a cognitive behavioral framework within a developmental, systems, and culturally respectful frame; which is to say, I enjoy noticing a person’s own strengths and resiliencies and the relationship each person has with themselves and their families, work, school, and other systems in which they live. Counseling is not like a medical doctor visit. Instead, successful counseling requires a very active effort on your part.
Counseling can have benefits and risks. Since counseling may involve discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness. On the other hand, counseling has also been shown to have benefits for people who go through it and may also include discussing successes and enjoyable aspects of your life. Therapy often leads to better relationships, solutions to problems, and significant reductions in feelings of distress. However, there are no guarantees of what you will experience.
Structure of counseling
Our first few sessions will involve an assessment of your needs. By the end of the assessment, I will offer you some first impressions of what our work will include and a treatment plan to follow if you decide to continue with counseling. You should evaluate this information along with your own opinions of whether you feel comfortable working with me. Therapy involves a large commitment of time, money, and energy, so you should be very careful about the therapist you select. If you have questions about my procedures, we should discuss them whenever they arise. If your doubts persist, I will be happy to help you set up a meeting with another mental health professional for a second opinion.