Our Approach: At SEBH, we feel that therapy is an integral part of mental health, both to assist with current difficulties but also to provide therapeutic support for the general "doing of life" that we all do each day. We have 3 main beliefs about how we approach therapy with our clients:
(1) We operate from a strengths-based framework. What that means is that while we absolutely focus on areas of difficulties, we also focus areas of personal strengths. Our goal is to enhance your capacity to manage day-to-day experiences and life's difficulties in a healthy/adaptive way. We believe that we draw from our strengths to do so and spend time in therapy on enhancing strengths, positive situations, and celebrating wins.
(2) We believe our job is to work ourselves out of a job. We typically recommend weekly sessions at first so that your provider can get to know you quickly and begin to address current issues and difficulties. We then like to fade the frequency of sessions to biweekly, monthly, as needed as soon as the client is ready to do so. We will be addressing this with you from time to time. If issues re-surface, we are absolutely willing to explore increasing frequency again with you or your family member. This model has helped us to avoid over- or under-providing services.
(3) We believe "fit" is an important quality between client and provider. Two providers can do similar work and one you may feel like you fit better with than another and that is okay. Fit is like a 3rd person in the room and while it's challenging for most people at times to share personal details initially, a poor fit can make that challenge greater than it needs to be. As you're looking for a provider, be sure to find one that works well with your current concerns (good fit professionally) and that you can be as comfortable as is possible in working through difficult situations (good fit interpersonally). While this isn't always mandatory, it can certainly help to increase the likelihood of positive therapeutic outcomes.
The Therapeutic Process: The outcome of your treatment depends largely on active engagement in this process. Therapy to address events and emotional consequences can help you to begin to heal and make progress over time. That said, there are no miracle cures. We cannot promise that your behavior or circumstance will change. We can promise, however, to provide you with a supportive environment and personal support while you manage your experiences. We will do our best to understand you, your experiences, emotions, behaviors, and repeating patterns, as well as to help you clarify what it is that you want for yourself and how you might achieve those goals.
So your student has been referred for a psychoeducational evaluation – here is what that means and what you can expect.
What it Means:
A psychoeducational evaluation is an assessment of your child’s strengths and areas for growth. This assessment commonly includes the following types of measures: intellectual, academic, cognitive processing, and social-emotional well-being. Which measures are given specifically depends on the reason why your student is being referred. If your student has had a full evaluation recently (within the past 2-3 years), this updated evaluation may be abbreviated to identify current functioning in these areas. Results from the evaluation (or re-evaluation) will be shared with you in a comprehensive report with detailed recommendations for real-world interventions and supports. The report is verbally reviewed with you in detail with the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
What to Expect:
A comprehensive evaluation may contain several assessment components. A provider will discuss with you the current concerns you or the school have about your student. This discussion will help the provider identify which areas to assess specifically. For example, if there are no concerns about attention deficit or social-emotional difficulties, those areas would not usually be added to the evaluation. Discussion of testing and concerns should occur separate from your child to avoid any unnecessary negative emotional reactions to the evaluation process.
Your provider may ask you for a “release of information” to speak to a referring teacher or the provider may have you give your student's teacher(s) forms or questionnaires to complete. You will be asked to provide a full history of your student including development, health, and prior academic achievement.
The parent/guardian interview can be done in person or via phone/telehealth. Questionnaires may be sent to you online or in the mail to complete and return. You will have multiple opportunities to discuss questions with the provider.
Testing is in-person and usually accomplished in multiple sessions (unless it is a gifted evaluation) to ensure that results obtained are accurate representations of functioning, not just fatigue. These sessions may last from an hour to 3-4 hours, depending on the ability of the student to maintain effort and attention. Your provider will maximize the amount accomplished within sessions to minimize the total number of sessions needed, but will be closely monitoring the student for the effects of fatigue. Be sure your student has had a good breakfast, slept adequately the night before, takes any regular medications, and brings any vision/hearing aids typically needed (e.g., eyeglasses).
When working with your student, the provider will engage your student at a developmentally appropriate level. Time will be dedicated to build rapport and ease any anxiousness your student may feel. You can facilitate this process by avoiding referring to the evaluation process as a “test” or being overly stern in your expectations of the student’s performance. We often describe the evaluation to your student as working with them to identify their strengths and areas they may need help, if any. During testing, breaks are offered to your student – this may include coming to see the parent/guardian in the waiting room, using restroom, or at times breaking for a meal or walk outside depending on the length of the session.
Prior to the First Appointment:
· Be sure to communicate with the provider the specific referral questions/concerns. We do not want to overly test a student for concerns that don’t exist – this is unnecessary, is more costly, and can frustrate you or your student.
· Be sure to have prior academic grades or other information available to reference.
· Ask about evaluation costs and any questions you may have about the evaluation process.
· Be sure that your student has had a good night's sleep and good breakfast or meal prior to the appointment. If your student takes any medication regularly, be sure to administer any needed medications prior to arrival.
Bring with You:
· The room may be cold for your student, have the student bring a pullover or jacket/sweater.
· Bring any appropriate snacks your student regularly enjoys in case testing can continue longer.
· Any vision/hearing aids typically needed (e.g., eyeglasses, etc.)
· List of prescriptions (if not already given to the provider in advance).
Additional Questions? Please feel free to call our office at 850-296-3665 to discuss further!