Frequently Asked Questions
- What are your fees?
- What is a neuropsychologist?
- What is neuropsychological testing?
- What is mindfulness training?
- What is the Gottman method of marriage counseling?
- How to choose a therapist?
- How long does therapy take?
- Does therapy help?
What are your fees?
Please call our office to inquire about our fees. Our practice is fee-for-service.
Most health insurance plans will cover our services (except HMO plans). We are happy to help you find out exactly how much coverage your health plan will provide and whether any pre-authorization is required. We will also assist you in filing insurance claim forms.
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What is a neuropsychologist?
A neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist specialized in the area of brain-behavior relationships. The neuropsychologist works with emotional and psychological issues, just as typical psychologists do, but the neuropsychologist also has specialized education in brain anatomy, brain function, and brain injury or disease.
As part of the required education, the neuropsychologist has years of practical experience working in medical settings with people who have problems involving the brain. The neuropsychologist uses this expertise to understand how brain problems affect behavior and thinking.
The neuropsychologist is the professional best qualified to answer questions about the intersection of brain and mind, biology and identity.
What is neuropsychological testing?
Neuropsychological testing evaluates problems in brain functioning. Unlike CT or MRI scans, which show what the structure of the brain looks like, neuropsychological testing examines how well the brain is working when it performs certain functions (for example, learning or remembering). Testing can help us make a diagnosis and plan treatment. The types of tests that you will take depend upon the questions you and your doctor have. (The tests are not invasive and do not involve any X-rays or electronic machines.)
The tests may assess the following areas:
- reasoning and problem solving
- visual-spatial functions
- language functions
- motor functions
- planning, organization and executive functions
- academic skills
- personality and emotional functioning
The assessment includes an interview that explores how you see the problem and how it affects your activities. Often, family members are asked how they see the problem. The interview also covers your medical history and personal background and the things that you have already tried to deal with the problem.
The testing typically is conducted over the course of two sessions, each lasting about three hours, but sometimes it can be completed in one visit. No one test lasts very long, so we change tasks every five or ten minutes, so it is not boring. Most people find the tasks interesting and engaging, almost like games and puzzles.
The tests are developed through extensive research. Each test administered has been shown to be reliable and valid. Norms are established so we know what level of performance is expected for people of every age group and educational level. In this way, it is possible to know with confidence what is normal or typical performance, and what findings indicate a deficit or impairment.
The results of the assessment are used to establish a diagnosis, describe in detail the specific problems you are having, and plan treatment that will help the problems. For children and teens, the report may be given to your child’s school to guide teachers, determine eligibility for special education, and help your child achieve his or her potential.
When the assessment is completed, we will discuss the results and my recommendations.
Conditions appropriate for neuropsychological evaluation:
- Head injury
- Alzheimer’s disease
- multiple sclerosis
- brain tumors
- hypoxic brain injury.
Children and teenagers
- Sports concussion
- learning disability
- brain tumors
- autism spectrum disorders
What is mindfulness training?
What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness in its most simplified definition is moment to moment awareness. It involves focusing on the task at hand, rather than getting entangled in past or future thinking. People who enter therapy are often troubled by thoughts about the past, or worried about the future. If we are less upset by events in our lives, then our suffering will decrease. Life includes pain and suffering, yet by practicing mindfulness we can be less reactive to what is happening in the moment. All experiences—positive, negative, and neutral can be seen as just what they are, without conditioned thoughts that keep emotions and behavior stuck in autopilot.
In mindfulness meditation you cultivate an attitude of patience, and gentleness toward yourself. This means choosing not to react or to judge any of your feelings, thoughts, impulses, or perceptions. During meditation, anything that comes into the field of awareness is okay, we simply sit with it— breathe with it—and observe it, and stay open and awake in the present moment.
Examples of mindlessness include:
- Rushing through activities without being attentive to them
- Breaking or spilling things because of carelessness, inattention, or thinking of something else.
- Failing to notice subtle feelings of physical tension or discomfort.
- Forgetting a person’s name almost as soon as we have heard it.
- Finding ourselves preoccupied with the future or the past
- Snacking without being aware of eating.
(Brown & Ryan, 2003)
Mindfulness, in contrast, focuses our attention on the task at hand so that we can step out of our conditioning so we can see things as they are. Mindfulness cannot be fully captured with words because it is a subtle, nonverbal experience. It is often said that mindfulness cannot be taught, it has to be experienced. By cultivating mindfulness, we can develop insight into our psychological functioning and respond skillfully to new situations. In Mindfulness mediation, we can find insight and awareness that has the power to decrease unpleasant and destructive ruminations.
Mindfulness has a long history beginning over 2500 years ago with the birth of Buddhism. But in the last several decades’ psychological and medical research has produced a prolific literature demonstrating its effectiveness in helping with many common disorders of modern living.
Mindfulness therapies are being practiced in various forms that include Mindfulness-informed psychotherapy, mindfulness-based psychotherapy, and mindfulness oriented therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has evolved four leading approaches in combining mindfulness practice. These include (1) dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) which grew out of work with severe personality disorders (2) mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) an 8 week mindfulness training course with applications to physical and mental health; (3) mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, an application of MBSR to cognitive therapy and depression and (4) acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which encourages clients to accept, rather than control, unpleasant sensations.
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What is the Gottman method of marriage counseling?
Gottman Method Couples Therapy combines the knowledge and wisdom of more than three decades of Gottman research and clinical practice. Through research-based interventions and exercises, it helps couples break through barriers to achieve greater understanding, connection and intimacy in their relationships. Gottman Method Couples Therapy is a structured, goal-oriented, scientifically-based therapy. Intervention strategies are based upon empirical data from Dr. John Gottman’s three decades of research with more than 3,000 couples. This research shows us what actually works to help couples achieve a long-term healthy relationship. Gottman Method Couples Therapy was developed out of this research to help couples:
- Increase respect, affection and closeness
- Break through and resolve conflict when they feel stuck in recurring negative patterns
- Generate greater understanding between partners
- Keep conflict discussions calm
Research shows that to make a relationship last, couples must become better friends, learn to manage conflict, and create ways to support each other’s hopes for the future. Drs. John and Julie Gottman have shown how couples can accomplish this by paying attention to what they call the Sound Relationship House, or the seven components of healthy marriage.
- Build Love Maps: How well do you know your partner’s inner psychological world, his or her history, worries, stresses, joys, and hopes?
- Share Fondness and Admiration: The antidote for contempt, this level focuses on the amount of affection and respect within a relationship. (To strengthen fondness and admiration, express appreciation and respect.)
- Turn Towards: State your needs, be aware of bids for connection and turn towards them. The small moments of everyday life are actually the building blocks of relationship.
- The Positive Perspective: The presence of a positive approach to problem-solving and the success of repair attempts.
- Manage Conflict: We say “manage” conflict rather than “resolve” conflict, because relationship conflict is natural and has functional, positive aspects. Understand that there is a critical difference in handling perpetual problems and solvable problems.
- Make Life Dreams Come True: Create an atmosphere that encourages each person to talk honestly about his or her hopes, values, convictions and aspirations.
- Create Shared Meaning: Understand important visions, narratives, myths, and metaphors about your relationship.
Dr. Susan O’Grady is a certified Gottman Couples Therapist who has extensive training with Drs. John and Julie Gottman. Dr. O’Grady has integrated concepts from the Gottman approach with her own experience in working with couples for the last twenty years. Gottman Method Couples Therapy combines the knowledge and wisdom of more than three decades of Gottman research and clinical practice. Through research-based interventions and exercises, it helps couples break through barriers to achieve greater understanding, connection and intimacy in their relationships. Gottman Method Couples Therapy is a structured, goal-oriented, scientifically-based therapy. Intervention strategies are based upon empirical data from Dr. Gottman’s three decades of research with more than 3,000 couples. This research shows us what actually works to help couples achieve a long-term healthy relationship. Gottman Method Couples Therapy was developed out of this research to help couples: