PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING BEFORE YOUR FIRST VISIT:
Clinical or Psychological Evaluations are most often used for immigration applications, educational diagnoses, or other mandated requirements, such as fitness to be a parent. The clinical evaluation is done with an informal interview and several psychological assessments. The evaluation requires at least two sessions; sometimes more sessions are necessary to completely assess and formulate a diagnosis. The evaluations must be completed within 30 days for reliability of the assessment and diagnosis. The evaluation report is usually completed 5-7 business days after your second appointment. If it is needed sooner, a fee is required.
Psychological Evaluations are Permanent Medical Legal Documents
Once the document for your Clinical Interview and Psychosocial Assessment is sent to you, please review for misspellings of names, wrong birth dates, marriage dates or places of birth. New or different information cannot be added. Information in the document cannot be deleted.
Notify us by email with any corrections within 48 hours. After 48 hours we will consider it to be accurate. The report will then be closed and we will submit the final copy to you and to your attorney.
Please be aware that we will only make one-time corrections and if you require any changes, additions or explanations after 48 hours, we will be happy to schedule an appointment for you for an addendum.
Once the addendum is completed, it will be sent to you to review for misspellings of names, wrong birth dates, marriage dates or places of birth. New or different information cannot be added to the addendum. Information in the addendum cannot be deleted. You will have 48 hours to make corrections to the addendum. Please call the office for more information.
Your Statements are on the Record
Statements that you make to the clinician in the interviews are on the record and will be written into the patient’s evaluation report unless at the time a statement is made, you tell the clinician that it is off the record.
The Assessment Tools are Also Personal Statements
Answers given on the BDI-II, BAI, PTSD, RCADS and CATS assessment tools will be considered and referred to as personal statements. They are part of the medical legal record and cannot be altered or removed. We cannot coach you on how to answer the aforementioned assessment tools and we rely on your attorney to counsel you appropriately prior to your psychological evaluation.
We caution you to think very carefully before answering each question, as the answers are part of the medical legal record. They cannot be changed.
A psychological evaluation is similar to visiting your physician. The information you give goes into the medical record and cannot be altered or deleted. If you want to add information or provide an explanation as to why information from your first visit needs to be changed or disregarded, you must make another appointment with your physician for an additional fee. Your physician will add information from the second appointment into the medical record without altering or deleting information from the first visit.
The clinician is a licensed, ethical professional and cannot alter, delete or falsify statements made to her by the patients. While we advocate for the patients, we must also maintain the integrity and credibility of the psychological evaluation.
Psychological Evaluations are Not Therapeutic Sessions
Clinical or psychological evaluations are not therapeutic sessions. A report is generated from information obtained in a psychological evaluation and becomes a medical-legal/forensic document that is used in courts of law and by other decision-making bodies.
In a therapeutic relationship, the clinician skillfully applies therapeutic techniques and communication strategies to assist the patient in exploring the reasons why they are seeking help. The clinician works to comfort the patient, help the patient manage symptoms or improve a lifestyle. The clinician offers suggestions and directions to reduce shame and fear to build trust and guide the patient towards change. A therapeutic relationship can last many weeks and up to many years.
In a psychological evaluation, the goal of the therapist is help patients retrieve and express their personal histories and stories — which are often traumatic — so that they have the best chance possible for a positive outcome in terms of their immigration application or other purposes.
It is Your Story to Tell
Reliving past trauma is often so painful that sometimes the patient is unable to speak about what happened or is happening to them, but the psychological evaluation report can only be based on information that the patient gives to the clinician. The clinician applies therapeutic communication techniques in the effort to bring the patient’s authentic experience to the foreground. The patient will be asked to elaborate, explore, and consider cause-and-effect consequences of statements they make. The clinician will make every effort to encourage the patient to tell their story.
Patients who are experiencing or have experienced pain, trauma and terror are exceptionally vulnerable to suggestion. The clinician must carefully help the patient explore the topics they themselves bring up, rather than lead them in a direction they have not implied, suggested, or initiated. Please be advised that the clinician cannot coach or advise you on what to say. The clinician cannot provide legal advice, counseling, or services, including discussing your immigration application, the immigration process or possible legal ramifications stemming from the information that you give.
Expectation of the Patient Prior to the First Session:
It is strongly recommended that you consult with your attorney prior to the first session. It is reasonable to expect that prior to the first session, you should:
1.) Know why you are attending the sessions for psychological evaluation:
- To provide the biopsychosocial information required as part of your immigration /other documentation.
2.) Know what it is you are trying to achieve by obtaining a psychological evaluation:
- The goal is to provide adequate information to qualify for the immigration status you are seeking, e.g., to provide evidence that demonstrates a hardship should there be a deportation, as in the case of a hardship waiver; to provide evidence of credible fear of being returned to your country of origin, as in an application for asylum, etc.
- For those who require a psychological evaluation for other reasons, e.g., fitness to be a parent, educational placement, or fitness to stand trial, the goal is to provide an adequate amount of information to demonstrate/prove that which is being investigated.
3.) Know what is required from you to achieve the goal:
- You must share sufficient information about your history and experiences to provide evidence that supports your immigration application or other intended purpose. The information you must share with the clinician (and eventually an immigration officer) is deeply personal and often details painful and traumatic experiences.
The information you provide must be authentically your own; the clinician cannot advise you on what to say or on other legal matters.
Please remember that you may be expected to share the same information in front of an immigration official. Although these officials will know that it may be difficult for you to talk about your experiences, it is very important that you talk about your experience so that the immigration official can determine if you qualify for the visa or outcome you are seeking.
Sometimes one patient needs more than one clinical evaluation, for example, when they have two family members that are subject to deportation.
Sometimes members of the same family are applying individually for the same type of visa, for example, when two members are victims of the same crime.
Please be advised that the information upon which your report is based must come from each individual patient’s interview and evaluation. The therapist cannot select information from one patient’s data and use it in your second report or another patient’s report.
For example, if a husband and wife are both seeking a waiver for an adult child and one of the spouses does not enter the same information about the adult child, the therapist cannot use information about the adult child that was given by the other spouse.