Apex logo Apex Psychological Services
Providing quality psychological services to children, adolescents, adults, and seniors.
2110 McFarland Blvd. E., Suite F; Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35404              205-758-7710

 

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Guide to Services

Here is a general description of the services we offer:


Psychological Testing

Psychological testing (also called psychological evaluation or assessment) involves the use of standardized psychological tests to understand a person’s abilities and personality. It can clarify a client’s emotional state, behavioral patterns, coping style, and motivational factors. Testing also is used to measure a client’s intellectual abilities, academic potential and achievement, memory, and attention.

Psychological testing is a complex procedure that requires considerable training and experience to do well. Only a licensed psychologist can provide the full range of psychological testing. The skilled psychologist tailors psychological testing to the questions at hand and the individual needs of the client.

Our assessment strategies depend on the questions that must be answered:

  • The Clinical Interview is our basic tool for developing an understanding of you and the problems you are having.

  • Personality Assessment can be very helpful in establishing a more thorough understanding of your emotions, beliefs about yourself and others, your personality, ways you relate to others, and symptoms of mental disorders that may be troubling you. With this greater understanding, therapy can be better targeted to your needs.

  • Intellectual and Achievement Testing is useful when there is a question regarding a client’s capacity for learning, performing a job, or managing their responsibilities. It is also used to assess whether there are specific functional deficits (e.g., Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Learning Disabilities).

  • Memory Testing is useful when there are concerns about cognitive deterioration (e.g., dementia).

  • Neuropsychological Screening can be done to identify those who may be experiencing problems related to possible brain damage, in order to determine whether referral for more extensive neuropsychological testing should be considered (Note, however, that we do not do full neuropsychological testing, only screening).

Often, testing involves several of these strategies, since they tend to interact and affect each other. For example, to establish a diagnosis of ADHD, you also must rule out other conditions (such as depression) that can mimic ADHD.

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Diagnosis

A diagnosis is simply a label for a problem, based on the defining symptoms of that problem. It can be useful to guide treatment.

Establishing a sound diagnosis can be difficult. Often, there is considerable overlap among the symptoms you see in different disorders, and one must be careful and thorough in making the differential diagnosis. In some instances, psychological testing can be an essential tool in arriving at an accurate diagnosis.

By law, only licensed psychologists and physicians can make diagnoses of mental disorders independently (without someone else supervising and approving their work).

While experienced psychologists tend to be experts at making diagnoses, we prefer to focus on the individual and how the problem affects his or her life, rather than on the label alone.

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Psychotherapy with Children

little girl (8793 bytes)Psychotherapy with children takes a variety of forms. Sometimes the focus is mostly on the child -- teaching new skills for handling problems. Often, treatment involves working with parents to improve the parent-child relationship and enhance parenting skills. Teachers and schools might also be enlisted to help modify a problem behavior or help the child deal with a difficult situation.

Some of the goals of psychotherapy with children include

  • helping the child feel more secure, happy, and self-confident
  • reducing problem behaviors at home and school
  • teaching ways to handle conflicts and problems
  • developing the child's ability to express their feelings and obtain support
  • improving peer relationships
  • finding ways to manage problems with attention or learning

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Psychotherapy with Adolescents, Adults, and Elders

Psychotherapy is the process of personal exploration and change. Personal exploration helps you understand where the problems are coming from, what makes them such a powerful force in your life, and what you can do to resolve them.

But insight is not enough. You also need to make changes in the way you think, feel, and act. That is not easy sometimes, but it is the key to reaching your goals. The psychologist is there to help guide your self-exploration and to help you pursue the changes that you need to make.

Some of the goals people pursue in psychotherapy include

  • feeling happier
  • feeling more accepting and satisfied with themselves
  • building new skills for communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution
  • improving their ability to handle stress and bounce back from negative life events
  • having better relationships
  • reducing problem behaviors
  • recovery from alcohol and other drug abuse
  • reducing the impact of anxiety, sadness, guilt, and anger

There are a variety of methods used by psychologists in psychotherapy. Usually, the method selected in each case reflects the particular problems to be addressed, the goals of the client, and the experience/expertise of the psychologist. It is common for a session of psychotherapy to include some talking, some feeling, and some attention to specific behaviors.

Psychotherapy most often is done with individuals, couples, and families. Another treatment modality, group psychotherapy, brings together the psychologist and a group of unrelated people who share a common problem. Some problems, such as assertiveness, can be worked on effectively in group settings, and often this is a more cost-effective treatment approach than individual psychotherapy.

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Copyright 2000, 2001, 2004 Apex Psychological Services
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Disclaimer:  You know, we see a disclaimer like this in every ad that lawyers put out, and it probably is a good idea for us to use one, too:  "No representation is made that the quality of the psychological services to be performed is greater than the quality of psychological services performed by other psychologists.  The outcome of assessments or psychotherapy, or individual client satisfaction, cannot be guaranteed and is dependent on many factors.  Material on this site regarding symptoms, disorders, and treatment is informational only.  Diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders requires the expertise of a trained professional."

The information on this site regarding psychological disorders and treatment comes from many sources that cannot be credited, simply because they have been integrated over the years into our general knowledge base. However, one important source is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (1994) published by the American Psychiatric Association.