Plymouth Services

Pediatric Assessments

Our pediatric assessments are comprehensive, multi-faceted and data based. The outcome of the assessment provides information that we use to put together a useful and practical intervention plan. All assessments are conducted from a multi-method/multi-trait approach, which focuses on identifying, understanding and targeting the challenges affecting your child, mobilizing your child’s inherent strengths, as well as identifying outside resources for coping with his/her challenges.

Our assessment approach involves the use of several different types of assessment methods, including:

  • Review of your child’s history, records and previous evaluations
  • Diagnostic clinical interview with you and your child
  • Psychological assessment procedures, including formal and informal measures
  • Assessment of relevant skill areas (e.g., adaptive behavior, intelligence, memory, academic achievement, visual and auditory skills, oral language and motor skills)
  • Assessment of social-emotional-personality functioning (e.g., temperament, identity, coping styles or defense mechanisms, self-esteem requirements, relational patterns, emotional regulation, pathogenic beliefs, developmental challenges and identifications)
  • Interviewing relevant individuals in your child’s life (e.g., teachers, other professionals)
  • Observations within the school setting, if needed

Simply put, through these different types of assessment methods we aim to perceives how your child understands and navigates the world around him, how well he copes and meets with the challenges it presents and ultimately how he can be helped to be the best version of himself possible.

What’s next after an assessment?
What are my rights if my child has an assessment?
Frequently-asked questions about psychological diagnoses

Types of Pediatric Assessments

Adult Assessments

Adult psychological assessments address questions about mental health to better understand cognitive, emotional and personality processes. These assessments are useful in treatment planning and determining appropriate services for adults with mental health needs.

Many of our adult assessment clients come in before they start therapy so they can receive an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate referral for psychotherapy. A comprehensive evaluation can identify needs in therapy, highlight issues that may come up in treatment, recommend particular forms of intervention and offer guidance about potential outcomes of treatment.

Additionally, many of our adult assessment clients come in when they feel “stuck” or “stalled” in therapy that is already underway. In this instance, a psychological assessment may be used to confirm or modify the impressions formed by referring therapists through their less structured interactions in therapy.

Several issues can be addressed in a psychological assessment, including:

  • Cognitive/intellectual concerns
  • Attention, focus, organization (e.g., ADHD)
  • Executive functions
  • Personality
  • Mood disorders
  • Learning and memory
  • Relationship difficulties

Note: these services do not include court-ordered evaluations or forensic assessments.

Couples/Marital Therapy

Marital or couples therapy is offered to support people in relationship who are seeking improved intimacy and understanding, and to those who feel “stuck” in repetitive, entrenched conflicts and may be considering separation or divorce. In marital or couples therapy, the relationship is the focus, although each partner should also expect to focus on increasing their individual self-awareness.

When Is Marital/Couples Therapy Recommended?

Many couples seek therapy in order to strengthen or enrich an already strong relationship. Others seek therapy for power struggles, communication problems, sexual dissatisfaction and/or infidelity. Though therapy is recommended as soon as significant conflict arises in a relationship, studies show that on average, partners will not seek therapy until they have been unhappy for six years. The more time passes, however, the more resentment builds and the more difficult it may be to repair the relationship. In some cases, a couple that has already decided to separate or divorce may pursue therapy in order to end the relationship amicably and respectfully.

Effective therapy will likely address many aspects of the relationship, although communication patterns tend to be the primary focus of marital or couples therapy. When partners repeatedly employ conflict avoidance or engage in heated power struggles, communication problems can build. Leading researchers in the field have identified that the lack of adequate repair following an argument is the most significant contributor to relationship unhappiness. At Arbor Psychology Group our therapists know that one of the first steps in improving a relationship is to teach each person how to regulate their emotions (using principals of Emotionally-Focused Therapy), stay calm and use healthy communication skills to resolve their problems.

Expectations and Goals

Successful therapy depends on each partner’s motivation and dedication to the therapeutic process. With commitment to the process, couples can expect to become better listeners and communicators, and to find new ways to support and appreciate one another. The couple and their therapist will collaboratively establish goals. In order to achieve these objectives, each partner must be prepared to acknowledge and understand his/her role in the relationship. It is not uncommon for conflict to arise within therapy sessions, but our therapists will remain neutral and avoid taking sides.

Some relationship counselors offer supplemental individual sessions to each partner as a matter of course and some may offer individual sessions upon request.

Frequency and Duration

Marital or couples therapy is often held once per week, but this may vary depending on your therapy goals and whether you are also attending individual sessions. Counseling is often short-term, though healing takes time and, ultimately, the therapy will proceed for as long as the couple is committed to seeing it through or until resolution is reached.

Types of Marital/Couples Therapy

There are a multitude of different approaches to relationship counseling. For example, Imago Therapy explores how we unconsciously choose partners who reflect back the very things that we must work on ourselves. Emotionally-Focused Therapy encourages partners to examine how communication styles or attachment experiences present themselves in interactions. In Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), individuals learn to heal trauma and find balance by identifying the different parts of themselves, acknowledging that some parts may be overactive or ignored and taking responsibility for their reactions and emotions. This allows partners to better understand the patterns that play out in their relationship and to better understand one another.

Academic Tutoring

Arbor Psychology Group offers highly targeted and intensive reading, math and writing instruction to elementary-aged children. Skills are taught incrementally and cumulatively to enable mastery of needed skills. Individualized plans are developed for each student that targets specific skills and progress is monitored regularly. Our tutors are effective communicators, as well as flexible and supportive in their work.

Our academic tutors, Ms. Caroline Nathans, provides support for a broad range of learning styles (including twice-exceptional students) through differentiation, individualized intervention, accommodation and remediation. She also works with parents, school systems and outside professionals in order to best meet students’ needs.

Consultation

Figuring out what steps to take next—if any—for you or your child can be an overwhelming process. For this reason, our clinical staff often schedule a consultation appointment to help clients think through their options and, therefore, make informed treatment decisions.

Our staff is well connected with schools and professionals in the metro Detroit and Ann Arbor communities. These professionals have skills in psychotherapy, assessment, academic tutoring, performance and life coaching, memory training/strategies, speech and language therapy, occupational and physical therapy, and medical needs. Our staff frequently collaborates with these other professionals in the community to ensure the most comprehensive care is provided.

Consultation services are also offered for various age groups: infants and toddlers, children, adolescents, college-bound teens, college students, adults and couples. As needed, we also consult with school systems (preschool through college) and employers (for adolescents and adults in the workplace) on behalf of our clients.

Adolescent & College Student Assessments

Many students find themselves struggling for the first time in college, graduate or medical school. They may have had subtle learning challenges prior to this point that were managed with intelligence, hard work and/or parental support, but these challenges now can be exacerbated because of an increase in work volume and complexity. New strategies, insights and accommodation/support services, therefore, are needed to help these students achieve their goals.

Why would an adult student seek an assessment?

  • A prior condition necessitates updated testing
  • To address learning difficulties and/or academic underachievement
  • To identify his/her learning style, cognitive strengths and weaknesses
  • To assist with career counseling and educational planning
  • To help with socio-emotional challenges
  • To address problems with attention and concentration
  • To address issues with executive functions (e.g., procrastination, planning, organization, memory and/or inhibition)

Our staff has extensive experience helping adult students successfully manage their challenges, whether subtle or severe. The goals of these assessments are to pinpoint difficulties, identify strengths, provide strategies and intervention plans, and empower the student to advocate for him/herself more effectively. As with all our assessments, the client is provided with a detailed report and personalized intervention plan to help with academic and life success. Additional support can be provided from our extensive referral network of professionals (e.g., tutors, academic coaches, psychotherapists, psychiatrists).

We also can determine whether or not accommodations are merited for tests like the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT and/or professional licensing exams. If accommodations are deemed appropriate for the student based on the assessment, our report will provide documentation and merited accommodations to assist the client while taking these exams.

Because everyone at APG remembers the financial challenges of being in college/graduate school, we are pleased to help adult students by providing sliding scale fee reductions available to those who have an identified financial need. Please call the office for more information about our rates and insurance.

Psychotherapy

Our psychotherapists recognize that there are many way and means of practicing psychotherapy and that all of them that lead to recovery are good. Our thinking is in line with Deborah Luepnitz (2002) who stated, “If collapsing views into each other seems futile, disregarding one or another seems almost phobic.” Therefore, our psychotherapists draw upon multiple theoretical perspectives and interventions to help you achieve your goals.

We also believe that any and every psychotherapeutic technique should not be applied without a thorough understanding of the individual to whom the technique is applied. Therefore, your first few sessions with your psychotherapist will be evaluative. At the end of this evaluation process, you will be given feedback on how your psychotherapist views your situation, as well as a recommended intervention approach.

Examples of therapeutic approaches that may be drawn upon by your psychotherapist at Arbor Psychology Group:

ADHD/Executive Function Coaching

We are pleased to offer performance-coaching services for attention and concentration difficulties, executive function challenges (including procrastination, planning and organization) and academic underachievement.

Our ADHD/Executive Function coaches, Ms. Sarah Kiffner & Ms. Joan Garretson, help students and families understand a child’s strengths and challenges. Based upon your child’s individual profile, they will assist your child with:

  • Setting specific and realistic goals
  • Learning to prioritize
  • Creating necessary structures to stay on track and meet deadlines
  • Utilizing strategies without giving up; becoming a more resilient learner
  • Improving organizational and time management skills
  • Increasing self-motivation and self-monitoring by means of your child’s internal dialogue
  • Learning productive ways to handle details of your child’s daily life
  • Improving personal habits, (e.g., exercise and nutrition)
  • Setting up a more efficient home environment to meet your child’s needs for increased structure and environmental “scaffolding”

Performance coaching is particularly well suited to helping students with ADHD and executive function challenges; however, all students are eligible for these services. Many of the performance coaching services offered at APG are the kinds of skills that developing learners need the most. Ms. Kiffner’s and Ms. Garretson’s focused one-on-one approach works particularly well with young people.

Educational Advocacy

Educational Advocacy Services help families negotiate special education (e.g., IEP and 504 Plan intervention), understand complex learning profiles and develop strength-based intervention plans. APG’s advocates (Ms. Sarah Kiffner & Ms. Joan Garretson) bring an “insider’s perspective” as experienced classroom/special education teachers and teacher consultants.

We are often asked what advocacy entails. The answer varies depending on the individual needs of the child, though there are several common components, including:

  • Educating parents to understand what the legal rights and options for the child are
  • Interpreting the student’s learning profile, including information from the school or private assessments
  • Empowering parents to advocate for their child
  • Observing the child in the classroom
  • Discussing alternative school placements
  • Attending school meetings
  • Preparing parents for school meetings
  • Developing intervention plans
  • Assisting with IEP/504 plan development
  • Understanding the instructional needs of gifted and twice-exceptional students

Our Educational Advocacy Services are based on the following core principles:

  1. Every child has strengths and an intrinsic desire to succeed. Many children who struggle in school no longer have an identity as a learner and, as a result, fail to put forth sustained effort because they do not expect to succeed. Our strength-based advocacy services aim to build on your child’s assets and re-establish their underlying desire to succeed.
  2. Collaboration and mutual understanding with schools is critical. Advocacy does not need to be an adversarial process! At its best, it is a creative and individualized process that brings the family and school together to help the student be successful in school and in life.
  3. Children do best with a unified team behind them. In other words, don’t go it alone. Take advantage of those in the community who are able to help. Our staff believe in the importance of supporting the family during an advocacy process and are available to meet with you and/or the school to make sure your student is receiving the best educational support. We also have an extensive referral network of professionals who can assist with the care of your child.

If this seems overwhelming or daunting to do by yourself, know that you don’t have to go through the process alone. Our staff has dozens of years of experience and training, a detailed understanding of special education law and policies, and the willingness to help you navigate this territory from a point of strength and knowledge.

Professional Development

The clinical staff at Arbor Psychology Group are often invited to present at local seminars, meetings/conferences, parent workshops and school staff development days on various clinical topics pertaining to mental health, learning and educational issues.

For professionals, these presentations focus on the professional drive to receive optimal evidence-based information and interventions on a variety of clinical topics (see below).

For parents and caregivers, these presentations mobilize the family environment to support better functioning, thereby relieving pressures on the child and the family. These presentations offer information about growth and development, as well as provide practical help with management.

Examples of clinical topics we have made presentations on include:

  • Resiliency
  • Parenting
  • Discipline
  • ADHD/executive function challenges
  • Working memory
  • Learning disabilities
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Giftedness
  • Self-esteem
  • Mood
  • Anxiety management
  • Differential diagnosis

If you are interested in having a clinical staff member from Arbor Psychology Group make a presentation at your school, organization or place of work, please contact the main office (734.738.0897) for more information.