History and Background
ASSESSMENT, PSYCHOTHERAPY & FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY
Sometimes it’s more important to know what kind of person has the disease than what kind of disease the person has.
— Sir William Osler
PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT AND CONSULTATIVE SERVICES
Psychological assessment refers to: (a) the collection of data from a variety of sources (e.g., interviews, psychological testing, school records, and legal records), (b) the interpretation of this data, and, oftentimes, (c) the development of documents and/or consultative services to support decisions in a variety of settings. This documentation may be used in pre-trial negotiations, at trial, or at sentencing.
Child custody, competency to stand trial, and sanity at the time of the offense evaluations constitute the bulk of the assessment services offered at Oyster Point Psychological.
A child custody evaluation may be ordered by the court if one parent’s ability and/or motivation to serve as a custodial parent has been questioned, or a parent may self-refer for a child custody evaluation if the parent believes that allegations are without merit. Courts may order that both parents be evaluated if the spouses are making allegations against one another – especially if there is a special needs child who requires a particularly high level of parental competency.
Competency to stand trial refers to a defendant’s ability to assist the attorney in the development and implementation of a defense. The court, the prosecution, and/or defense counsel can raise the question of whether a particular defendant is competent to stand trial.Sanity at the time of the offense has to do with whether the defendant suffered from a mental disease or defect at the time of the offense, which would render the defendant insane.An attorney who believes that a psychological evaluation may cause a jury or judge to view a defendant with leniency may develop a diminished capacity defense in which mitigating factors are introduced at trial and/or at sentencing.
Forensic psychology refers to assessment and consultative services provided by psychologists at the request of courts, attorneys, or their clients.
Psychotherapy and counseling services are, generally speaking, a particular form of conversation in which a patient or patients (in the case of couples counseling or family therapy) come to identify and address irrational beliefs that contribute to unhappiness and build skills that contribute to a higher level of functioning. People who have been abused and/or neglected (e.g., adults abused as children, children of alcoholics, and trauma victims) constitute the largest number of clients served at Oyster Point Psychological).
Workers who suffer traumatic injury on the job often demonstrate symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder such as intrusive imagery of the incident (i.e., flashbacks), chronic sympathetic activation (i.e., flight-or-fight syndrome), and catastrophizing thoughts that compromise their safety and that of others. At the same time, these injured workers have wisdom and experience that is difficult to find in new hires. Returning them to work can be beneficial to all concerned.
At Oyster Point Psychological, we can help with this.
The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) defines hypnosis as “a state of inner absorption, concentration, and focused attention. It is like using a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun and make them more powerful. Similarly, when our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use our minds more powerfully. Because hypnosis allows people to use more of their potential, learning self-hypnosis is the ultimate act of self-control.” (www.asch.net)
When hypnosis is used in a clinical practice, it is called clinical hypnosis or hypnotherapy, and it can facilitate one’s progress in therapy. If one thinks of hypnosis as “an empty syringe,” the metaphor clarifies the importance of working with a hypnotherapist who is properly trained and prepared to deal with the challenges of the therapeutic relationship and can utilize the syringe in the patient’s best interest.
- Hypnosis encourages the use of imagination, such as the visualizing one’s life and circumstances as being changed for the better. Someone who wants to eat more sensibly, smoke less (or perhaps not at all), or speak more fluently may find that imagining that such changes are possible can find it easier to think of themselves (and their world) differently.
- In clinical hypnosis, changes that are consistent with the patient’s objectives are more receptive to the ideas and suggestions that the therapist and patient have agreed to pursue.
- Clinical hypnosis can explore unconscious material that motivates or impedes the patient’s effective functioning in the world. Virus-laden “software” that has been downloaded during the patient’s formative years can be identified and addressed. Patients with neglect and trauma in their background can benefit from this type of hypnosis work.
Experts agree that some individuals seem to have a higher degree of suggestibility or absorption, which may enable them to benefit more readily from hypnosis. An individual’s natural ability to become entranced and individual responses will vary.
Patients at Oyster Point Psychological are encouraged to discuss the possibility that clinical hypnosis may be beneficial to them.
FEES FOR ASSESSMENT SERVICES AND THE ROLE OF INSURANCE
Assessment services will be billed to your insurance carrier for payment so long as the assessment is driven by medical necessity. “Medically Necessary” or “Medical Necessity” describes services that are required to identify or treat a covered person’s illness or injury.
Assessment services which are associated with actual or possible litigation (e.g., family law, criminal law, or school law), employment decisions (e.g., “fitness for duty”), readmission to school following an expulsion or suspension, and other assessments which are primarily administrative and/or consultative in nature will not be filed with or paid by your insurance carrier, and you will be notified, in writing, of this fact. In such cases, a deposit is required prior to any further assessment, and any balances owed are due and payable upon presentation.
Oyster Point Psychological is committed to providing cost-effective assessment, intervention, and consultative services to patients, clients, and referral sources.
SCHEDULING AN APPOINTMENT
Referral sources, patients, and clients are invited to call Oyster Point Psychological Practice at 804.435.6777 to discuss the possibility of our working together.
In most instances, an appointment can be arranged within ten days