Psychological Evaluation and Diagnosis
Our first meeting will last from 90 minutes to 2 hours. I will ask you questions about why you are seeking help at this time, what problems and difficulties you are having, how long you have been struggling, and what specific behaviors you want to change. I also want to get to know you as a person. I will ask about your family, including your parents, siblings, spouses, and children, as well as your education, your work experiences, your medical and mental health histories, your religious background, and what you like to do for fun.
I will use this information to clearly identify the focus of treatment, determine if your difficulties meet the diagnostic criteria for a mental illness, and offer suggestions to start making changes.
This session is also your opportunity to start to get to know me. As I ask you questions, you should be thinking about whether you feel comfortable with me and if you believe that I will be able to help you. You may also ask me any questions you may have about my education, training, experience, and therapeutic orientation. The therapeutic relationship plays a large role in the effectiveness of treatment. You need to feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings with me. I recommend meeting with me, or any other new therapist, at least three times before making a final decision about whether you have found the right person to help you.
If you have any questions about the first session, please call (631) 331-1598 to speak with me.
Therapy sessions are scheduled for 45 minutes, usually once a week, although they may be more or less frequent, depending on your needs. A regular therapy session is different from the evaluation and is more like a conversation. At the start, we will decide what topics are most important to discuss that day. I use an integration of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and client-centered techniques to help you learn about how your thoughts, feelings, and actions affect each other, and how to change them for the better.
In our first therapy session, we will work together to identify specific goals for treatment. For example, we may work towards you sleeping more than 5 hours a night, or crying less than 2 times a week, or having less than 1 panic attack a week. Once these goals are identified, I will tailor treatment to help you to achieve them.
In later sessions, I will help you to become more aware of your thoughts and teach you how to change them so that you can improve your mood. I will also encourage behavior changes that will help your mood, which may include relaxation training and healthy sleep habits.
Therapy may be brief (8 or fewer sessions) or more long term (lasting over 6 months), depending on what you want to get out of it. As needed, we will refer to your treatment goals in session to make sure that we are on the right track and to change them if you want or need to do so.
If you have any questions about my practice, please call me at (631) 331-1598.