Frequently Asked Questions

We are happy to discuss any questions you might have regarding our services.   If you have a question that is not addressed here, please feel free to give us a call.

Assessments
What is psychological assessment?
Are there different types of assessments?
Can a pediatrician or psychiatrist administer these tests?
What about ADD and ADHD?
What kind of background information do you need?
How much does an evaluation cost?

Counseling
What kinds of counseling do you provide?
Do you both work together in sessions?
How long does therapy last?
What about time and costs?
Are your services covered by insurance?
What types of problems are serious enough to warrant counseling?


What is psychological assessment?
Psychological assessment typically involves a clinical interview, review of background information, and testing procedures to evaluate an individual's cognitive, emotional, social, and psychological development.   The paper-and-pencil tests have been widely used for many years and their reliability and validity are well established.   Some of the assessment procedures will feel like school work while other parts may seem more like games.   Depending on the age of the individual, there may be pictures to look at, things to draw, and puzzles to complete, or there may be paper-and-pencil questionaires to fill out.   In addition, clients answer questions orally and discuss how they think or feel about certain topics.

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Are there different types of assessments?
Yes.   Testing can look specifically at learning and academic issues.   Cognitive (IQ) and academic achievement tests are administered to rule out verbal and non-verbal learning disabilities and other processing deficits.   Other tests are used to look specifically at personality factors including social, emotional, and behavioral functioning.   Still others target particular types of neurological disorders or problematic mood states.   Please go to the Assessment page for more details about the various types of assessments we offer.

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Can a pediatrician or psychiatrist administer these tests?
Neither pediatricians nor psychiatrists are typically trained to administer and interpret psychological tests.   A pediatrician specializes in the physical health and well being of children, while a psychiatrist specializes in treating mental health problems with medicine.   Psychologists are best equipped to provide diagnostic testing because they are specifically trained to administer and interpret psychological test instruments.

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What about ADD and ADHD?
Disorders of attention, concentration and working memory are big business.   You may have wondered if your student has an attention-deficit disorder.   Many people have opinions about medicating children and over or under diagnosing this disorder.   Many pediatricians and professionals will diagnose a child with an attention-deficit disorder based on one brief meeting or a single checklist completed by a parent. Others make the diagnosis based on a single computerized test.   These procedures omit an analysis of function -- how does the child perform compared to his or her peers?   And do the behaviors show up in more than one setting?

The diagnosis of an attention-deficit disorder involves a review of past and current behavior as rated by several individuals on well-normed behavior rating scales.   The student must be assessed with cognitive and achievement tests to rule out processing deficits and learning disabilities.   Next, the child is tested with instruments sensitive to working memory and concentration.   Finally, the student must be assessed for evidence of anxiety, depression or other disorders whose symptoms often mimic those of a child with an attention-deficit disorder.

In many ways the term "attention-deficit" is misleading.   Children with problems focusing, organizing and completing work most often have deficits relative to executive functioning (a set of skills performed in the brain's frontal cortex and best evaluated with specific psychological tests).   These tests are administered by a psychologist and evaluated along with the other essential data discussed above.   Then, and only then, can a professional make accurate statements about a student's memory and attention.

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What kind of background information do you need?
Certain background information is essential in order to conduct a good evaluation.   Besides helping the psychologist select the most appropriate tests to administer, this information assists in interpreting the results by putting them in context.   Please go to Forms & Etc. for examples of useful background information and forms you can download.

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How much does an evaluation cost?
As you might expect, costs vary according to the complexity of the evaluation.   The amount of time required to complete an evaluation depends on the questions being asked.   While an evaluation requires between two and six hours of face-to-face time, the typical evaluation takes about three hours.   Additional time is then required for us to score and interpret test data, interpret interview data, and review other documents provided by the family or other professionals.   Finally, a report is written that integrates the findings and provides specific recommendations.   The total costs for the assessment include the face-to-face interview and testing, as well as the additional time spent "behind the scenes" to integrate everything and complete the report.

The cost of a full psychological battery can be between four hundred and eight hundred dollars, with typical evaluations costing about $500.   While this can seem like a considerable expense, committing to a course of treatment without first establishing a clear diagnosis can be even more costly and may even be counter-productive.   It has been said that treatment without diagnosis is like archery without a target.   Professionals understand the need to begin with a functional assessment and clear diagnoses in order to make informed decisions about effective treatment options.   Because of this, most insurance policies will cover psychological evaluations after pre-authorization has been obtained.

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What kinds of counseling do you provide?
We offer counseling services for individuals, couples, and families.   Because therapeutic approaches must take into account the particular challenges being faced, as well as the ages of the individuals involved, we are trained in providing a variety of interventions.   We both appreciate the importance of taking a systemic perspective, which means keeping the "bigger picture" in mind when working with patients, and tayloring interventions to best meet their needs.   You can go to our Treatment page for more information.

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Do you both work together in sessions?
Although we have done co-therapy at times, we typically see patients independently.   Besides providing similar services, we also each have our own areas of strength and interest.   For example, Beth tends to work more with younger children, and Bill works more with families.   Both work with adolescents, couples, and adult individuals.   With permission from our patients we like to collaborate on cases, taking advantage of the old addage that "two heads are better than one."   Discussing our patients' unique challenges can be of tremendous benefit to our patients, as well as helping to keep us sharp and creative.

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How long does therapy typically last?
This is a question that your psychologist will discuss with you in the first meeting, after getting a clear understanding of your situation and goals.   Depending on particular needs, therapy can be brief (two or three sessions), or it can last several months or longer.   Important issues to discuss with your clinician are how to develop realistic therapeutic goals and how progress is measured.   Of course, an important consideration is that many insurance policies impose limits on the number of sessions covered.   Insurance companies will typically authorize more sessions when needed.

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What about time and costs?
Our standard fee for a typical 50-minute session is $110.   Initial intake sessions require more preparation, as well diagnostics, and cost $125.   As noted below, most of our services are covered by insurance.   A copy of our current fee schedule can be found at Forms & Etc.

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Are your services covered by insurance?
We are members of many insurance networks.   Most insurance policies cover outpatient psychotherapy, although many require pre-authorization.   Many insurance companies will pay for psychological testing; others will not.   Insurance companies often utilize managed care companies to help control costs.   Most managed care companies either decline coverage for psychological services or impose strict limits on the scope and duration of services. It will be important for you to check with your insurance company in order to understand their particular practices concerning psychological services, and we will be glad to help you with that process.   Our staff can obtain information from your insurance company regarding the benefits offered in your particular policy.   In addition, we will file claims with your insurance company that include the appropriate CPT codes and medical diagnoses.   As the insurance companies say, no promise of reimbursement is implied, as coverage varies considerably among insurers.

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What types of problems are serious enough to warrant counseling?
At Dutch Fork Psychological Services we commonly treat patients for depression, anxiety, anger management concerns, school failure, and relationship issues, among many others.   Although everyone experiences challenges and frustrations in daily living, these issues can become problematic when we begin to feel stuck.   When we find that our problems are affecting our mood, our work, our school performance, or our family or social relationships, it is probably time to seek professional help.   One characteristic we often see among our patients is a sense of perseverence, a willingness to keep plugging away in the face of emotionally challenging circumstances.   It can be difficult to decide when it is time to seek outside help.   Too often, individuals and families can wait until problems feel insurmountable before seeking the help of a professional.   As with so many things in life, the sooner problems are faced, the better the outcome.

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