Patient Advisory Forms

CLINICAL EVALUATIONS

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 in 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 $200 rush fee is required.

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING BEFORE YOUR FIRST VISIT:

Clinical or psychological evaluations are not therapeutic sessions. These evaluations are most often used for immigration applications, educational diagnoses and court ordered examinations. 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 applications or other purposes.

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 therapist. The therapist ethically and humanely applies effective therapeutic communication techniques in the effort to bring to the foreground the patient’s authentic experience. The patient will be asked to elaborate, explore, and consider cause-and-effect consequences of statements they make. The therapist will make every effort to encourage the patient to tell their story.

Please remember that you will 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 whether you qualify for the visa or outcome you are seeking.

Patients who are experiencing or have experienced pain, trauma and terror are exceptionally vulnerable to suggestion. The therapist 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 therapist cannot coach or advise you on what to say. The therapist 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 patient prior to first session:

It is strongly suggested 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.
— 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.

Information sharing

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 thespouses 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.