Our team at Lightway Psychological Services looks forward to meeting with and strive to answer all your questions about our services. The following are the most frequently asked questions; please contact us for any issue that is not addressed here.
Q: What is counseling like?
At Lightway Psychological Services (LPS), our psychologists and staff work in concert with you to maintain absolute confidentiality and privacy of your treatment information while using a range of evidence-based practice techniques and methods in addressing your needs. However, our first goal of therapy is to form a trusting therapeutic relationship with you and to provide a secure environment where you can feel comfortable and confident to share yourself with your therapist. This approach promotes the establishment of positive therapeutic coalition and the path to wellness, quick and healthy recovery or resolution. At LPS, our clinicians offer an interactive engagement and collaborative therapeutic process approach with our clients; unlike the conventional media portrayal of counseling where the client lies on the chesterfield, prattling on while staring at the ceiling and while the therapist sits behind the client with a pen and notepad and infrequently nods his/her head and, even less occasionally, offers terse comments or question. Our interactive and collaborative approach, which means that you and the clinician form clinical alliance or therapeutic rapport that encourages 50/50 communication engagement process. This also means that at LPS, you and your clinician will work collaboratively to define and understand the specificity of your presentation, work towards functional and achievable goals, as well as develop or formulate a unique and responsive treatment plan designed and customized to address your unique needs.
Q: Who can benefit from counseling?
Anyone can benefit from counseling as long the need for help is recognized and the desire for change is prepotent. The overall deplorable stigma and fallacy attached to counseling is that one needs to be severely mentally impaired or crazy to seek help; on the contrary, most individuals can benefit from counseling. Life is very complicated and having a trained professional can assist a person to turn his or her path around. After your initial consultation, if the clinician determines that you require an extensive treatment more than Lightway can provide, your clinician will assist in connecting the right agency for you.
Q: What is faith sensitive counseling?
Ordinarily, mental health care providers are trained to separate faith and spirituality in the clinic room. We differ slightly in this approach and are sensitive to your faith and culture, as we believe that an individual’s belief system is as equal vital as one’s family history, life situation, and even physiological makeup. Therefore, we treat your culture, faith, and spirituality as your essential aspect. And based on choice, our clinicians integrate your belief system into your care.
Q: Do I have to be a Christian to seek help at Lightway?
No. While most of our clinicians hold the Christian belief, we do not force this belief onto our clients. We assist people from various religious faith, denominations and creed, and we incorporate your beliefs into your care plan as necessary and upon your request. Our mission is to treat spirit, mind, and body (the whole person.)
Q: What is the difference between a psychiatrist, psychologist, LPC, LMFT, LCSW, counselor, etc.?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors whose job is mainly to use medicine to manage the symptoms of your illness. Most psychiatrists do not provide psychotherapy or counseling.
Psychologists hold doctoral level specialized education and professional training in psychology, including domains relating to human growth and development, behavior, cognition, and mental and perform psychological evaluations or tests, diagnosis of disorder, and utilize psychotherapy to provide resolution of the symptoms of your illness or disorder. On average, psychologists spend 5-8 years in graduate education and research before receiving a doctoral degree. In addition, other aspects of their training professional requirements include one year of supervised clinical internship in a hospital or an organized healthcare setting and at least another one year of post-doctoral supervised experience before they can be licensed and practice independently.
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) are master’s level clinicians who spent about 2-3 years in graduate education and training before receiving a master’s degree. Part of the licensure requirements for this group include 3000 supervised clinical hours.
Q: How do I know who to choose?
Our trained intake coordinator will ask you a series of questions; your answer to the questions will help to find the right match for your needs.
Q: Do you accept insurance and will insurance cover the assessment?
Yes, we accept most major insurance plans, including but not limited to Amerigroup, Aetna, BCBS of Texas, Cigna, Humana, United Healthcare, Tricare, Medicaid, Medicare, Molina. Even though you have mental or behavioral health coverage in your plan, all insurance plans are not all alike; thus, it is essential to check with your insurance carrier about your specific plan. For example, some cover marriage and family counseling whereas others do not. Some have diagnostic exclusions, meaning your plan may not cover your services based on your diagnosis; others may require pre-authorizations before services may begin.
Additionally, the acceptance of insurance also depends on the clinicians and you need to check what insurance plan your clinician accepts. It is also important to know that psychological testing services differ by the individual insurance plans. Many of the insurance companies require prior authorization for psychological testing and allocate a certain number of hours of testing and particular testing instruments. With some insurance panels, prior authorization for psychological testing service authorization can be immediate or it might take as much as four weeks for full service approval. Your clinician’s evaluation for your assessment need might be more comprehensive and the hours authorized by your insurance might sometimes not be enough. For example, some insurance plans do not cover developmental or academic testing because it may not constitute “medical necessity.” Consequently, the services not covered or service hours limited by your insurance policy or company are an out-of-pocket expense. Conventionally, nuances associated with healthcare and insurance industries can be complex, we do our best to work with your insurance panel; however, you are your best healthcare advocate.
Q: Self-Pay: Should I choose to self-pay?
If you decide not to use your insurance or wait for the authorization procedure, we accept private or self-payment options. If you elect self-pay and do not wish your insurance to be billed for services, you will need to sign a waiver disallowing Lightway psychological Services from charging your insurance company. If your clinician is an out-of-network provider, you will have to pay out of pocket and we will provide you with the necessary documents to request for reimbursement from your insurance provider.
Q: Rate: What will be the rate if I choose to self-pay?
Our mission is to offer sustaining hope through enlightenment to empower individuals, families, and groups attain intrapersonal and interpersonal development, healthier spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being, and best potentials through counseling, psychotherapy, psychological evaluation, education, and professional training programs. Our full-service rates are fairly comparable. As well, we do provide services for individuals that are underinsured in our community at a reduced cost with the help of our generous donors and availability of funds. For more information about our fees and services or to schedule an appointment, please call 281-592-5401.
Q: Online payments: How do I pay for services online?
You can pay for your services online using a credit card or PayPal account. For a secure online payment processing, click on the “Payment and Donate” option on the main menu item bar and fill in the payment processing form to complete your transaction.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT TESTING
Q: What kind of testing services do you offer?
Our wide range of psychological evaluation or testing include but not limited to developmental, intellectual, emotion/behavior, school accommodation, academic, neuro/clinical assessments, vocational, premarital, personality, and other psychological evaluations.
Q: Who is involved in the testing process?
Our assessments generally involve a licensed psychologist but may be conducted by post-doctoral residents/fellows or licensed psychological associates under the direct supervision of licensed psychologist(s).
Q: What if I don’t have insurance or my deductible is incredibly high?
Through our well-wishers, generous donors, and supporters and based on the availability of funds, we offer psychological services on a sliding scale. We benchmark our sliding scale against the federal poverty level and factors in your annual income, number of dependents, major expenses such as hospital bills and child support to determine your applicable service fee.
Q: What if I need to cancel my appointment?
Psychotherapy Appointment: Unexpected emergencies or situations may necessitate your appointment cancellation or rescheduling. You may reschedule your appointment with a 24-hour advanced notice. Unless you provide a 24-hour cancellation notice or your clinician agrees that the cancellation was due to uncontrollable circumstances, a late cancellation fee will apply. Please keep in mind that if you are a no-show and you have cancellations of appointment without rescheduling more than three consecutive times, your psychological or counseling services with Lightway will be terminated.
Psychological Evaluation Appointment: Given that most of our clinicians have growing waitlists and evaluation appointments are typically quite lengthy, we ask that you give us a 2-week notice if you need to cancel or reschedule your initial appointment. After we have met for the initial consultation and an evaluation plan has been created, we will require a $300 retainer fee to hold your evaluation appointment(s). Should you cancel or not show for your testing appointment, you will be charged with this fee. We do this in order to protect our clinicians’ time as well as the many families who are waiting for our services.
Q: What if I have a mental health emergency?
CALL 911! In case of any mental health emergencies (for example, thoughts of harming yourself or others), call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Q: What should I expect in Testing?
Psychological testing involves tripartite. The first part is meeting with the clinician for an initial consultation. This appointment involves the discussion about and collecting the history of presenting problems and developing an evaluation plan. Testing is the next step which may entail school observations, oral interviews, written questionnaires that will be completed as well as lengthy appointments involving the administration of various interactive psychometric batteries and assessment measures. The completion of the testing stage is followed by data analysis and report. Your clinician will analyze the data, prepare a report and will schedule an appointment to review the results of the assessment and recommendations with you. This may take as long as three weeks after your last testing appointment depending on the complexity of the case. A written report will be provided to you which you can be shared at your discretion with your (child’s) doctor, school or other relevant professionals.
Q: What should I do to prepare?
You or your child needs a good night sleep before the testing day. Be sure to bring your eyeglasses, hearing aid if you use them. Inform the clinician before the testing date of any special language needs, bring a list of all medications both prescribed and over-the-counter drugs. If you are taking stimulants or other medications, check with the psychologist whether you should take it before testing. You may pack some snacks for your child and other protective clothing as room temperature may fluctuate. If you or your child has had previous testing, an individual educational plan or related school or medical records, please bring these with you to the initial consultation. Also, when applicable, a copy of custody documents (e.g., divorce decree) will be needed to determine if our services can be accessed by the consenting adult.
Q: What do I tell my child?
In explaining the purpose of the office visit or testing, it is important to keep the explanation very brief and simple. Depending on your child’s understanding and level of cognitive development, you may explain that this experience will help with a problem that your child knows about such as trouble with reading, being forgetful, or feeling upset. You may assure a worried or an anxious child that testing does not involve dark rooms, vaccine or bright lights, and that, in fact, it may involve fun things like puzzles, blocks, computer games, drawing, storytelling, and play. Most adults and children find testing experience challenging and fun.
Q: How long until I have the report?
After the test data analysis, you will meet your clinician to review the testing outcome and recommendations. This typically takes three weeks from the last testing appointment depending on an individual case. A written comprehensive report of results and recommendations will be provided which can be shared with other people such as the school or your doctor.
Q: Do I have to be in the room with my child?
No. Parents do not generally stay with the child during testing. Parents usually drop the child off for testing and come back later to pick up the child. We ask that the parents stay for an hour in the waiting room for the child to be comfortable and to see if there are written questions for them to complete.
Q: Who sees my results?
The testing and evaluations are strictly confidential and are not sent to anyone including schools and doctors without your written consent. Your insurance may have access to this mental health record. If you desire that the insurance company not gain access to your private mental health records, you may elect to pay for the services directly. In this case, you will have a signed waiver disallowing Lightway from billing insurance for the services.
Q: Can I expedite the evaluation process?
Certainly! Sometimes, accommodations and academic exams testing deadlines may creep up on you. For expedited services, please ask our office for expedited service to meet your deadline, and we will do our best to decrease the pressure this might cause.
Q: Can you guarantee that I will receive accommodations for my entrance exams?
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that you will receive accommodations for entrance exams. However, our trained psychologists have years of experience in evaluations for potential accommodations for the ISEE, ACT, SAT, MCAT, LSAT, and bar exams. Our clinicians know what test is required and the specific to each testing agency and what information that needs to be included in the report to support a possible accommodation recommendation; for example, accommodation for an extended time.
Q: If I am divorced, do I need to provide my divorce decree before my child’s appointment?
Yes. We need to review your divorce decree to be sure your rights are protected as we comply with the law. The divorce decree details the consenting rights of each parent.
Q: What do I need to bring with me on the day of the assessment?
Please bring your completed intake paperwork from the site before the testing date. If you were unable to complete the intake paperwork, please bring it with you to the testing appointment day. Also, bring copies of any past assessments. For students, bring copies of your report cards. If you come with the original, be sure to ask the office for your original after we obtain a copy. If you or your child are on medication, your psychologist will advise you at the initial consultation whether or not to be medicated for the evaluation.
Q: I am afraid my child will be labeled. What are the benefits of being identified as having a learning difference?
No doubt, there is a possible stigma associated with positive diagnoses of learning disabilities; however, the benefits outweigh the risks. First, appropriate diagnoses with valuable feedback assure your child that he or she is not stupid as many kids with learning disabilities assume. Secondly, identification with learning difference in the current public education system ensures that your child will receive the needed support and the accommodations he or she needs.
Q: Is it better to wait until my child is older to have the evaluation done?
There is no need to wait for your child to get older to get the evaluation. For example, the Wechsler assessment instruments are formed in four-month increments, so each child is compared with their age group at the time of the assessment.
Q: What does the evaluation measure and how does the private school use the results?
The evaluation measures verbal reasoning abilities, nonverbal reasoning abilities, short term/working memory, and visual/fine-motor skills. Additionally, the WPPSI and WISC each provides a complete scale IQ score. Taken as a whole, results will assess your child’s abilities, school readiness, and learning style. There may be other factors besides the test results in deciding on testing such as helping determine which classroom or teacher would be best for your child. Most private schools require applicants to participate in an individual evaluation. The private schools use the result to determine classroom placement that is best for the student. Each private school has their specialty and it assists parents to identify the right fit by knowing their child’s cognitive, intellectual, emotional, social, and behavioral weaknesses and strengths.
Q: What if my child does not do as well as I think he/she can?
Can we re-test? Most children’s score is in the average range which means that they are within reasonable limits for their age in cognitive developments. Your child cannot be re-tested with the same instrument for one year because of impact. You may choose to re-test your child with a different testing instrument, but most schools discourage it.
Q: Must something be “wrong” with my child to get a psychoeducational assessment?
Your child does not need to show a psychological or developmental problem for parents to seek a psychoeducational assessment. Parents, adults, and students have benefited from an evaluation for many reasons including identification of strong areas and areas that require further strengthening. Our recommendation to our clients is to allow our professionals to get answers for them instead of depending on assumptions. Everyone learns differently; so, receiving a clear and statistically supported understanding of your profile or your child’s will help in academic success.
Q: Do you test for Autism in adults?
Yes. Our psychologists are certified to administer and interpret ADOS. Among others, ADOS is regarded as the best psychometric instrument for assessment of autism spectrum in children through adulthood. Our psychologists include the use of ADOS among a repertoire of other psychometric measures necessary for a comprehensive evaluation and assessment of autistic presentations and specific needs.
Q: Do you test for ADHD in adults?
Yes, we provide ADHD testing for adults as well. Statistical data indicates that children who were not treated for ADHD become adults who have difficulties at work and in social and interpersonal relationships; as well, often their self-esteem is also impacted because of untreated symptoms of ADHD.
Q: What if I need to cancel my appointment?
Because our psychologists have waitlists for testing and evaluations appointments are quite lengthy, we require a two-week notice for testing evaluation cancellation or a reschedule of your initial appointment. After your initial consultation, we need a $300.00 deposit to hold your evaluation appointment(s), and all payments are due on the appointment date. If you cancel or are a no-show for your testing appointment, you will be charged this deposit. This fee or deposit policy serves to protect our clinicians’ time as well as other families who are waiting for our services.