Frequently Asked Questions
Question: My doctor recommended that I schedule an appointment to have my child (or self) evaluated by a psychologist. Where do I start?
Physicians and psychologists typically work together in treating the psychological needs of a patient. Most physicians require an evaluation and diagnosis by a licensed psychologist prior to considering stimulant or psychotropic medication options for their patients. We realize that finding psychological services can be very confusing and it's understandable that you have many questions. If you’re not sure what services you or your child needs, please give us a call. If we’re not the right place for you, we’ll be happy to refer you to another practice that can provide you with the services you need.
Question: What should I expect from the evaluation process?
For a child, the process usually involves three appointments.
The initial interview is only for parents/guardians; the child does not attend this appointment. Whether you are seeking therapy or testing, the initial consultation allows Dr. Powell to review your child's background and developmental history and answer any questions about the services available. At the conclusion of this session, the next steps are determined.
If testing is recommended, an interview/testing appointment will be scheduled for the child. Dr. Powell administers the testing as his practice does not utilize technicians or graduate students. While the testing data is crucial, the clinical information gathered by a Licensed Psychologist administering the assessments is often equally important. Testing may involve paper and pencil tasks, answering questions, and sometimes using a computer. Parents and teachers (with parental permission) will be asked to fill out questionnaires about the child's development and behavior. The time required for testing depends on the child's age and the reason for the assessment.
When testing is complete and scored, a feedback session will be scheduled for the parent/guardians. This crucial meeting allows Dr. Powell to tell you about your child's testing results and any recommended treatment planning. This may include psychotherapy, referral to a psychiatrist, medication management recommendations, etc.
A written report of testing findings is provided to the referring physician, including the DSM-5 diagnoses and psychological and medical treatment recommendations.
For an adult, the process may involve two to three appointments.
The evaluation process for adults involves an initial interview with Dr. Powell, where the factors leading to your visit will be discussed. If assessment/testing is recommended, it can occasionally be done on the same day as your initial interview (if your insurance does not require pre-authorization for testing). Once the testing is complete and scored, a feedback session will be scheduled for you and Dr. Powell to go over testing results and treatment recommendations. These may include psychotherapy, referral to a psychiatrist, medication management recommendations, etc. A written report will be provided to the referring physician, including the DSM-5 diagnoses and psychological and medical treatment recommendations.
Question: What will the assessment/testing results tell me?
The goal of testing is to provide a better understanding of the individual's behavior and learning in school, at home, at work, and in the community. Psychological testing can help detect the effects of developmental and psychological problems, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Mood Disorders, and Anxiety Disorders. The results aid the psychologist in making a diagnosis, as well as identifying what treatment, skills, and strategies may help the patient. The ultimate goal of the evaluation is to clarify the symptoms and diagnosis in order to aid the individual, family, physician, teachers, and therapists in how to better help the patient achieve his or her potential.
Question: How can I prepare my child for testing?
Make sure your child has a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast before the testing.
If your child wears glasses or a hearing aid or any other device, make sure to bring it.
If your child has special language needs, please alert us to these.
If your child is on stimulant medication, such as Ritalin, or other medication, we generally recommend that they do NOT take their medication as prescribed on the day of testing. This will be communicated on a case by case basis.
Reassure a worried child that testing involves no “shots.” Young children are invited to bring a "show and tell" item to share with Dr. Powell if that would help them feel more at ease.
Your child will probably find the psychological evaluation interesting, and the detailed information that is gathered will contribute to your child’s care.