Common Issues/Conditions that Assessment or Treatment is sought
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)
- Specific Learning Differences (SLD) Reading, Mathematics, and Written Expression
- Coping with a medical condition or adherence to treatment
- Challenging Behaviors (oppositional behavior, displaying resentment, and defiance)
- Eating Disorders (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake, anorexia, bulimia, etc.)
- Coping with being bullied/alienated
- Sadness and Depression
- Bipolar Disorder (mood disturbances that move through extremes)
- Anger Management
- Low self-esteem
- Delayed Social Skills
- Developmental trauma (from childhood neglect and/or abuse)
- Trouble adjusting to life events or changes
- Family conflict & divorce
- Grief & Loss
- Self –harm behaviors (intentional cutting, etc.)
- Suicidality (chronic & acute thoughts of feeling hopeless, helpless, wanting to die or kill one’s self)
- Thought Disorder (Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Paranoia, etc.)
- Tic Disorders (Tourette’s Disorder, Persistent Motor or Vocal Tics, etc.)
- Personality Traits
- Substance Use Problems
- Nonverbal Learning Disability (NVLD or NLD)
A psychological evaluation can be helpful in determining why an individual is experiencing difficulties in a specific area of functioning. Often it is used to quickly evaluate a person’s current level of cognitive, academic and social/emotional and behavior functioning. Children, teenagers, and adults can be evaluated to help answer complex questions around one’s functioning, and is often used to clarify a diagnosis or to guide treatment planning. Sometimes, testing is focused around the assessment of a specific area—an AD/HD screening, Cognitive and Adaptive Functioning, or to assess for a specific learning disability. However, often it is used to provide a comprehensive understanding of one’s IQ, Academic Achievement, and to determine if one has a social/emotional and/or behavioral condition that is in need of treatment.
A comprehensive assessment is individually customized to identify one’s strengths and weaknesses. It begins with a clinical interview which reviews the concerns, when these issues were first noticed, and how these may have changed over time. Developmental, medical, and psychiatric history of the individual and the extended family is reviewed and obtained by history and rating scales (completed by the client, parents, spouses, caregivers, etc.). This may lead to gathering of additional information from teachers, school administration, current or former providers, etc. The psychological evaluation provides a comprehensive detailed analysis of the areas it was designed to assess and provides specific recommendations for how to best help the individual given the results. The assessment often takes 4-6 hours to complete. After scoring and interpreting the results, comprehensive reports are written. The tests results are individualized and are important to intervention planning, remediation, accommodations or modifications recommended from the test results to the school the student is attending or planning to attend in the future or those providing private remedial services. Treatment recommendations are important for the individual’s current (or future) medical providers, specialists, and others providing treatment. These reports are used in intervention planning by schools (public, parochial, and private) and medical professionals (physicians, specialists, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, speech/language therapist, and mental health providers). Several weeks following the formal testing, the client and parents (if a child) meet to review the findings, diagnoses, and recommendations.
Psychological Evaluations are available for preschoolers, children, adolescents, and adults. Based on information obtained initially (through the initial information gathering, a subsequent diagnostic interview and initial rating scales) a determination is made as to which areas from the list below should be assessed in the evaluation. Sometimes the assessment might be focused on a specific or limited area. Other times, a broader and more comprehensive evaluation is necessary. More comprehensive assessments will like evaluate cognitive, academic, emotional, behavioral, and personality functioning in order to answer complex questions or identify diagnoses that may underlie areas of difficulty. These assessments often include several components of the areas reviewed below to obtain a comprehensive picture across multiple areas of functioning and often will gather information from a variety of informants (self, parents, teachers, etc.). The comprehensive report reviews findings, summarizing the test results, clarifies diagnoses and makes appropriate recommendations. For each evaluation, I will determine which of the following are most appropriate:
- Cognitive Testing – to assess ability level and estimate IQ – which can involve a brief screener or comprehensive evaluation (used to identify giftedness, cognitive delay, even or variable cognitive functioning);
- Academic Achievement Testing– to determine academic strengths and weaknesses; determines mastery of specific academic subjects (reading, writing, mathematics, and academic fluency);
- AD/HD Screening– determines the presence of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and executive functioning weaknesses;
- School Functioning – informs the evaluation through indirect or school observation of the child in the classroom which will assist in the understanding of learning issues and emotional-behavioral disorders (obtained by one or more teachers completing rating scales or by school observation);
- Adaptive Functioning – to determine an individual’s strengths and weakness in daily living, typically assessed by a rater (parent, teacher, or self-report) in areas of conceptual, social, practical functioning;
- Behavioral/Social/Emotional Functioning– to determine if an individual has more internalizing or externalizing behaviors, assessment of specific areas of depression, anxiety, eating problems, socialization, thought processing, activity involvement, etc.;
- Personality Measures– to assess personality traits/characteristics/disorders. Likely using both objective and projective measures are to evaluate one’s inner thoughts and feelings;
- Specialized semi-structured interviews/measures—are sometimes used to evaluate symptoms characteristic of specific disorders, Motor and/or Vocal Tics, OCD symptoms (Y-BOCS), etc.
I provide professional, individualized and collaborative therapy with children, adolescents, and adults. I have extensive expertise in conducting therapy in the private practice setting, within community mental health centers (inpatient and outpatient settings with both children and adults), psychiatric hospitals, therapeutic foster care, and partial hospital care facilities. This breadth of experience has contributed to my knowledge in treating a variety of psychological and emotional issues. I approach treatment from solution-focused perspective and utilize Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies (CBT), including mindfulness training, Collaborative Problem-Solving, Interpersonal Therapy, Insight-Oriented Therapy, Exposure/Response Prevention (E/PR) and Parent Consultation. Therapy involves collaboratively clarifying problem areas, setting goals, taking action steps to address emotional and behavioral challenges associated change.
Psychotherapy is offered in-person or via telehealth.
We are living in unprecedented times amidst a Global Pandemic
Since March of 2020, the world found itself having to adapt in almost every aspect of the way were accustomed to living to successfully navigate living during a global pandemic. Many people have lost their jobs, schools went to teaching remotely, many plans were suspended or postponed, contact with friends was quickly limited and people started having to wear a mask and keep six feet apart. There was nothing simple about adapting to life during a pandemic. To do even some of the simplest of things with the virus, it is often 10 times more challenging to try to safely accomplish a task. We all have had to quickly adjust to a “new normal.” Given that we connected to news and information almost instantaneously, we had to determine how to regulate news and information, to not become overwhelmed by it. We have all experienced a great deal of stress adapting to this new normal. Some people suffered emotionally—with marked anxiety and depression and/or developed physical symptoms related to this stress.
Psychotherapy via Telehealth
Quickly, I adapted to offering psychotherapy via telehealth. To update myself, I attended on-line webinars overviewing how to provide clinical services via telehealth. Modern technology can be helpful modality to ensure that psychotherapy can be effective in addressing the mental health needs of adults and youth. During this time, I have used telehealth to provide both individual and family therapy sessions. I have seen telehealth patients enter therapy, resolve problems, obtain their goals and return to living balanced and healthy lives. Whether meeting in-person, or through telehealth, I provide the same level of dedication and focus to sessions that I provide during in-person sessions. I anticipate that some people, under some circumstances, will continue to use telehealth once we are through the pandemic.
I provide guidance for daily parenting challenges. Knowledgeable in the developmental expectations and challenges for school-aged youth (5 years to 24 years). Families have many compositions, traditional and non-traditional, (including: single-care giver households, grandparent/aunt/uncle serving as the primary care-giver, blended families, conflicted households, etc.). I use my training and expertise to help support caregiver efforts to maximize their children’s natural strengths and resolve areas of stress and conflict. Additionally, I will work with parents to resolve educational difficulties and enhance school-based success. Sometimes, this involves candid discussions on what program or school may be the “best fit” for their child, especially if their child has special needs.
I work regularly help schools and parent organizations enhance their effectiveness in their work of caring for children. I am available to advise others in handling daily challenges and complex situations. My consultation services include:
- School Consultations– meeting with school teams to address classroom/academic struggles with children, providing continuing education seminars to school and educational personnel;
- Parenting Workshops/Presentations– providing educational presentations on topics such as parenting, child development, behavioral management, anxiety-based conditions, and psychological evaluation;
- Child Behavioral Health Presentations– providing presentations to professionals in medical and allied health fields on behavioral health topics, including pediatricians, psychiatrists, residents, occupational therapists, etc.
In addition to the direct services and consultation mentioned above, I provide supervision in Psychological Evaluation/Assessment (Practicum One) to graduate students in training from Spalding University who are pursuing their doctorial education as a clinical psychologist. Currently, these students are doing assessments under my supervision at St. Xavier High School and Community Catholic Center. Typically, I supervise one student at each placement site, for a Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer practicum. It is part of my commitment to ensure good training opportunities to those in the next generation of psychologists.
As part of my commitment to the public good for the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I volunteer as an oral examiner to the Kentucky Board of Examiners in Psychology (the state board). I have served in this role for many years where I help examine individuals seeking licensure as a psychologist in Kentucky. Over the years, I have taught a 3-hour mandatory continuing education course for licensed psychologists providing supervision in Kentucky.